From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

by Jacqueline Woodson

Melanin Sun's mother named him for the pigment that makes his skin so beautiful and... read more

Melanin Sun's mother named him for the pigment that makes his skin so beautiful and black, and for the sun she sees shining from his eyes. For as long as Melanin can remember, he and mama have been a family - loving close. At 13, Melanin, who keeps notebooks to record his thoughts about family, friends and life in his urban neighborhood, has a mature appreciation for his mother's strength and character. Then she tells him something that makes him feel as if his entire world has shattered: she is a lesbian, and she is in love with a white woman, Kristin. Melanin wants to deny the truth, but to do so would deny his mama. "I couldn't stand having her touch me but if she wasn't holding me then who would I be? Where would I be?" Angry and scared ("If she was a dyke, then what did that make me?"), Melanin lashes out, no longer easy with his mother and unwilling to find room in his life - or his heart - for Kristin. There is no easy solution in this courageous novel which addresses the fear that fuels homophobia, but there is honest emotion and real love, and these are what begin to open Melanin's mind. (Ages 11-15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1995

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