From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun
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From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  557 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Jacqueline Woodson's remarkable, award-winning story of a boy coming to grips a sudden change in his family.

Melanin Sun's mother has some big news: she's in love with a woman. Now he has many decisions to make: Should he stand by his mother even though it could mean losing his friends? Should he abandon the only family he's ever known? Either way, Melanin Sun is about to l...more
Paperback, 141 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 1995)
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Anna
Oct 18, 2008 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young adults, adults
Recommended to Anna by: conference organizers
First off, let me just say that I didn't know much about this book before reading it. I am attending a young adult literature conference next weekend and I signed up for a workshop that featured this book and Call Me Maria by Judith Ortiz Cofer. The theme of the workshop is "Crossing Personal Borders" but that was all I really had to go on before I started reading this book.

The beginning was a little bit rough in the sense that I had a hard time getting into the author's writing style. She has...more
Andrew
Like all of Woodson's books, this is beautifully written and painfully heartfelt. On first reading, it was one of my favorites of all the books of hers I'd read. On a recent rereading, I was totally taken aback by the abruptness of the ending... I think Woodson has an artistic commitment to leaving the reader with a lot to resolve on their own, which I valued when I was trying to find books for adolescents that would get them thinking. As a rereader, and a civilian (so to speak) I was inclined t...more
Josiah
It seems to me that Jacqueline Woodson's uncanny ability to sensitively connect with a reader's deepest unspoken thoughts and feelings correlates directly with how much of herself she puts into the characters of her books, and how emotionally honest she is through those characters. It's not just the stories and relationships that move the reader; above all, it's the fact that the emotions are totally real and accessible to anyone who picks up the book and reads. There's nothing manufactured abo...more
Kym
I fell in love with Jacqueline Woodson, her sensitivity to so many issues,but more importantly her writing. I have read many of her books since June and find I am drawn in within the first few pages. Melanin Sun..more than a goodread!

“Mama…” Melanin Sun calls. Even at thirteen, when asked what he wants says, “Nothing. I just want to be sure of you”. Being a teen isn’t easy, it isn’t easy in a single parent home, and it isn’t easy when that one person that you are sure of, your mom, falls in lov...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Outstanding story of an African American teen whose mother announces that she's in love with a white woman. Woodson does a beautiful job of depicting Mel's reaction--confusion, fear, anger, shame. He loves his mother and has been happy with their comfortable relationship, which he now sees threatened by Kristin. This is the first book I've read about a child with a gay parent in which the child reacts very negatively. Woodson depicts realistically how, when Mel's friends and neighbors finally fi...more
Ch_beverlyatwood
This is the second book written by Woodson that I have read. I read the Tupac one in Comprehension class. Both books appeal to young readers who easily understand the nuances of the language of the stories. They relate to the teenager in the Notebooks and how he writes his feelings about his life, his mom and her white girlfriend. Also entering into his feelings is Angie, a girl that stirs emotions in him that he has never felt before. Pressure from his peers, racism, and betrayal are revealed i...more
Judith Owens-smalll
Woodson, Jacqueline. (1995). From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun. Puffin Books. p76.
Three-time Newbery Honor Jacqualine Woodson, in her Coretta Scott King Award winning novel, tells a tale of sexuality and racism. Narrated through the voice of the main character Melanin Sun, a closeness, an intimacy is eroded when he discovers his mother is gay. He’s scared. The loneliness, the loss, and the shame leaves him abandoned. So, he writes it all in his notebook-the keeper of all his thoughts. The whole...more
Bridgette Davis
This book was actually much better than I expected. Melanin is a really realistic character - his emotions are totally believable. His problems are real.

I really appreciate the way that the author didn't keep everything neat or politically correct in this novel. The chaos and confusion are exactly right for the situation.

Melanin triumphs. However, during the middle of the book, I was deeply scared that he'd "never see the light".
Kay Mcgriff
When I picked up From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun at the Authors as Artists series with Jacqueline Woodson, I didn’t know much about it. I chose it because I connected with the description of Melanin on the back cover. Melanin Sun sometimes has trouble getting his words out when he speaks, so instead he writes them in his notebooks. I sometimes stumble when I have to speak deep truths aloud, but if I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, the words flow much easier.
I loved how the first perso...more
Esther
Melanin Sun has always stood out because of his dark skin color. Also because of his interest, his friends Sean and Ralph always tease him for collecting stamps. They say it's faggy which he hates. He even calls himself that at one point. To his surprise his mom is gay. He was mad enough that his mom liked woman, but he was even more upset that she is white. He was extremely ashamed and didn't tell anyone, but his friends and the whole neighborhood found out anyways. Eventually he learns to acc...more
Lydia
Woodson's novel is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!

This story has the purpose solely to inviting one's emotions. After you read the book (which is not very long), your emotions just go up and down and eventually even out. This book is written with young adults trying to deal with lesbian issues to the max.

Melanin Sun is a 13 year old boy who is being raised in the streets of Brooklyn. He and his mother are "tight". They have never needed anyone else in their life, although his mother has occasionally dated...more
Karen
I read this book for my Controversial Young Adult Literature class and I was glad that I did because, while it included a gay mother, the book did not center on homosexuality as I expected it too. On the contrary, it was a coming-of-age story of family unity and trust. This is a book of finding oneself through someone else’s discovery. Alternating excerpt from his journal with first-person descriptions of action, Woodson tackles the issues of racism and sexuality, and expresses the resentment an...more
Leeah George
Fourteen year old Melanin Sun thinks his biggest problems are figuring out what to say to he girl he likes, learning to be less withdrawn, improving his slam-dunk, and wishing his name was something like Donald or Carlos. Then his mama, his only parent and near best friend, tells him something that changes his life and shows him, for the first time, what problems are really all about. Her news makes him question who he is, what love means, and if he can love his mother in spite of what she tells...more
Anna-beth Haye
This book is about a young African American boy who lives in a rough ghetto neighborhood. in this neighborhood homosexuality isn't welcomed, people frown upon gays and lesbians. So when Melanin finds out that his mother's new spouse is a female he's furious yet confused. Finding this out hurts him emotionally and mentally causing his grades to drop and getting in numerous physically and verbal fights. Towards the end of the book he learns to accept his mother's decisions and her new girlfriend w...more
Laura
This is an excellent (and easy to read) book that addresses issues of sexuality and racism in a fluid and tender story of the relationship between Melanin Sun, a 13 year old African-American boy, and his single mother, EC. Melanin's life turns upside down one day when his mother brings home her new girlfriend for him to meet. Not only is EC dating a woman, but she's dating a white woman. This throws Melanin for a loop, to say the least, as he navigates his own blossoming sexuality in a world of...more
Sara Lederer
A unique title delivering a universal message, From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun, tells the story of a boy and his mother in Brooklyn, New York. Jacqueline Woodson introduces the main character, Melanin Sun to the reader in an honest, respectful manner. Melanin, named after his dark skin color, lives in Brooklyn with his mother, his father left the family years earlier. Melanin likes to write, collect stamps and loves his mother very much.
This is a story of Melanin Sun learning that his mother...more
Jen Castagno
JAQUELINE WOODSON

This novel is written as a notebook that the main character, Melanin, is writing in. He is a young boy who is very dark skinned, unlike his mother EC. SHe has lighter skin and is the only parent because his father left before he was born. Melanin and his mother have a very close relationship. They talk about everything and are best friends. She has had many men over, but none stayed very long, which was good for Melanin because he liked it with just him and his mom. One day, his...more
Kelly
This quick read lets the protagonist, Melanin Sun (Mel), speak directly and personally of his mother's coming out (and choosing a partner across racial lines) and his resulting re-examination of identity, place, belonging, and personal values. Woodson doesn't attempt to write a neat and tidy, politically correct story, but rather allows the confusions, tensions, and juxtapositions of real life to sit heavy and unmediated. Similarly, she doesn't hide from or pretend to ignore the ugliness of raci...more
Mrs. Reed
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun follows the title character, a sensitive, introverted boy raised by his loving, free-spirited mother.

Melanin has to face his own prejudices that he didn't even know he had--didn't know he had them because he hadn't been faced with them before. "There weren't white people in our world. That was it.... No use for them in this neighborhood. This was our place--people of color together in harmony, away from all of their hatred and racism. I didn't dislike white peop...more
Mary Skramovsky
Jacqueline Woodson is a three time Newbery Honor Book Author. Her books include After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Miracle's Boys.

This coming of age story takes place in Brooklyn, New York. Melanin Sun is 13 years old. He lives with his single mom. About the worse thing that he could be called is fag. Melanin is very bright and writes his thoughts in a notebook. He collects endangered animal stamps and hangs out with his friends Ralphael and Sean. Angie is a girl that Melanin thinks about a...more
Melissa Strong
Woodson presents an excellent view of a family struggling for identity and individualism. This short dramatic fiction explores homosexuality as well as heterosexuality. Melanin Sun and his mother have always been alone until suddenly she brings home a new friend...a girl friend. The work explores Melanin's reactions and acceptance as well as the dynamics of their new little family. Though well written I could not get past the plot itself. Melanin does not understand or even realize what is happe...more
Dana
I love Jacqueline Woodson's writing, so of course I liked this book. I love it on principle, but I didn't love the telling of the story as much as I wanted to. The unusually-named Melanin Sun tells his story through a combination of narration and diary entries. For parts of the book, we feel only a page away from him, as he is nearly directly addressing us. Unfortunately, other parts felt flat to me, and I couldn't find Melanin altogether believable.
The setting is summer in New York City, and M...more
Cheryl
A nice, short novella of a young boy Melanin Sun having to face both his close mother's new found sexual identity and his battling his hesitance asking the girl of his dreams to date him. While facing his challenges his notebook allows him to get his emotions and other thoughts he keeps inside on paper. I personally liked this story. Woodson's writing isn't that emotional charged here but has some heartfelt and warm moments. This is a quick and simple read, really. It's meant for late elementary...more
cheyenne
the plot in this book is melanin is a boy. Who lives with his mom and when he finally meets. The person his mom is dating. His life and the way he looks at his mom changes. He feels betrayed by her. And finally realizes its my mom. And before i found this out i loved her. So why should it change?
i can connect to this book becuase every kid. Who just finds out a big secret about there parent. they would feel the same way melanin did. But once you get over the shock. Of the news, you might get o...more
Alyssa Child
REQUIRED AUTHOR - JACQUELINE WOODSON

If I weren't a Mormon and didn't have the beliefs that I have, I may have appreciated this book more. It is the story of a boy named Melanin Sun who is raised by his single mother. One day her mom tells him that she is gay, and currently dating a white woman. Melanin does not handle the news well, especially since the kids in his school have a low tolerance for gays. He doesn't feel as if he belongs anywhere, but in the end, he realizes that this is his life,...more
Lori
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nadiah  Williams
This Book Melanin Sun is About a Boy Who Lives a Normal Life, With His Mother Who's Like a Bestfriend To Him And His Too Bestfriends Who Has Alway's Been There For Him, And Feel's That Melanin Mom is The Prettiest Women They Ever Seen. Melanin is Loving His Life; He Has a Mother Who He Can Tell Everything To, And Talk To Her As if She One Of His Friends At School, And He Also Has His Too Bestfriends. They Have Been There For Him Threw The Long Hard Times. Life Was Normal For Melanin Until He Fel...more
BAYA Librarian
Melanin Sun is thirteen going on fourteen, growing up in Brooklyn with his mom. His mom reveals a secret that will forever change his world.

Newberry Honor author, Jacqueline Woodson, tells this story through the eyes of 13-year old Melanin Sun. It’s an interesting, thought provoking portrayal of how children respond to the actions and life decisions of their parents. Melanin writes his thoughts in notebooks which help him work through his feelings. Reminiscent of Freedom Writers Diary, the noteb...more
Miriam
This book is about a boy named Melanin Sun who lives with his mother in NY.He never really had a father to start with so when he learns that his mom is gay he feels ashamed and thinks that every body is going to jugde him. Eventhough in the end he has to lose a couple of friend he was glad to find out who his real freads really were.What I liked about this book was that it talks about the difference between living life with a father with out a father and with a gay mother.I also liked that it ta...more
Emily
this was a good book; if you are looking for an easy read but not boring or poorly written then this is it. The ending was slightly abrupt, but it was good because he saw what he loved about his mother again; kristin talking about her family is what it think snapped him into his epiphany. This book had such beautiful diction that made for good description, not imagery but description of his relationships with others, particulary his mom, angie, and raphael. It was amazing the way Woodson could m...more
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74640
I used to say I’d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.

I wrote on everything and everywhere. I remember my uncle catching me writing my name in graffiti on the side of a building. (It was not pretty for me when my mother found out.) I wrote on paper bags and my shoes and denim binders. I chalked stories a...more
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“Mama says it's okay to be on the quiet side—if quiet means you're listening, watching, taking it all in.” 11 likes
“And when I can't speak it, I write it down. I wish I was different. Wish I was taller, smarter, could talk out loud the way I write things down. I wish I didn't always feel like I was on the outside, looking in like a Peeping Tom.” 5 likes
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