Cover for FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF MELANIN SUN by Jacqueline Woodson

Cover for FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF MELANIN SUN by Jacqueline Woodson

These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org


Publishers Weekly

PW Reviews 1995 May #3

Woodson’s (I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This) perceptively wrought novel imaginatively tackles such weighty issues as racism and sexuality. At age 13, Melanin Sun, an African American boy growing up in Brooklyn with his single mother, sometimes longs for the days when life was as “simple as chocolate cakes and Lego sets.” Instead, his feelings grow more complicated after his mother explains that she is gay and in love with Kristin, the white woman whom she has recently invited home. “You’re a dyke! A dyke!” he screams at her, enraged. His shock and sense of alienation are quickly exacerbated when the neighbors begin to gossip and he becomes the object of cruel taunts. Through Melanin’s voice, Woodson frankly expresses the resentment and confusion of an adolescent desperately struggling to reestablish normalcy. She shatters stereotypes even as she evokes the tenderness of a mother/son relationship. Offering no easy answers, Woodson teaches the reader that love can lead to acceptance of all manner of differences. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

PW Reviews 1997 October #1

When his mother explains that she is gay and in love with a white woman, an African American teenager must come to terms. In a starred review, PW found the novel “perceptively wrought… [Woodson] shatters stereotypes even as she evokes the tenderness of a mother/son relationship.” Ages 12-up. (Nov.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

School Library Journal

SLJ Reviews 1995 August

Gr 7-11?Fourteen-year-old Melanin Sun has a lot to say?not out loud, but in notebooks he keeps. Named for his dark skin, he knows about being on the outside of things. “Difference matters,” he writes early on. What follows is not the ususal identity crisis, however. His mother, a law student who sometimes acts more like a best friend, tells him she’s in love with a woman?a white one, at that. His reaction is negative, strong, and hurtful. Nonetheless, at the end, Melanin seems to have sorted out his feelings?slowly, believably?and recognized in his mother and her lover a vulnerability he feels himself for other reasons. He comes around because of who he is, not because it’s the “right” thing to do. Woodson has made Melanin an affecting and memorable, even admirable, character. Once thought “slow” in school because of his reticence, he is in fact a well-read, gifted young man with a talent for writing. The author effectively alternates excerpts from his notebooks?the thoughts intended for his own eyes only?with first-person descriptions of the action. Unfortunately, neither the cover nor the title will draw kids in; the book will need introduction and perhaps booktalking.?Claudia Morrow, Berkeley Public Library, CA

The Horn Book

Horn Book Guide Reviews 1995

The summer he is thirteen, Melanin Sun’s mother tells him that she is in love with a white woman. Unable to sort out his feelings and confusions about sexuality, racial identity, and love, he punishes Mama by shutting her out of his life. Melanin’s emotions are raw and often painful, and his response is both harsh and realistic. Woodson tells a powerful and ultimately hopeful story in this concise novel. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

One thought on “From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

  1. Pingback: From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun | Queer Young Adult Literature

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