Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun” as Want to Read:
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  859 Ratings  ·  119 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
Paperback, 141 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,799)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 18, 2008 Anna rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 20, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
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
Allyson Bogie
Jul 20, 2016 Allyson Bogie rated it it was amazing
This was my second Jacqueline Woodson book and like the first one, I was captivated. Something about her books makes me feel like I'm all wrapped out inside of them when I'm finished. She doesn't use flowery language or endless descriptions. But her stories are so evocative and REAL. And I can totally relate to them, even though they are about Black teenagers in Brooklyn and that is definitely not my demographic.

When it comes to "urban fiction" (aka short, easy to read books about poor Black an
Sep 28, 2011 Josiah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 19, 2009 Kym rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 29, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
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
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
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
This coming of age tale takes on a difficult subject in a tough environment. Melanin Sun is a teenage boy growing up in Brooklyn. He is out of school for the summer and trying to occupy his time. He loves his mother and they have a very close bond. Melanin is a quiet kid that loves to write in his journals about what is going on in his life. He also collects stamps of endangered animals and often worries about them and their demise. One day Melanin's Mom, EC, asks Melanin to meet someone special ...more
Jillian Dreixler
Nov 17, 2014 Jillian Dreixler rated it it was ok
This novel is about a mother and Son, Melanin Sun and their connection with each other. However, mama had big news to tell Melanin that changed everything for both of their lives: his mother is in a relationship with another woman. Melanin's transition with the news is even tougher when cruel humiliation is spread through their neighborhood. This ultimately changes the relationship between mother and son; thus, many feelings would be hurt. Melanin finally accepts his mother and his mother's rela ...more
Victoria Alvarez
Nov 13, 2014 Victoria Alvarez rated it it was amazing
This is a story based on LGBQT . It is about a black boy who lives with his mom, and are very happy together, they are more like best friends. They both enjoy spending lots of time together. He has some friends who think his mom is really pretty. Though his mom never brought dates home since his dad left them. Melanin always writes down things on his journal, and one day he noticed something weird about mom and a friend of hers. She saw her really happy together, and one day mom told him that sh ...more
Alyssa Scherr
Oct 23, 2014 Alyssa Scherr rated it liked it
Shelves: lit-circle-books
This story is narrated by Melanin Sun, a young boy who believes his mom is his best friend until she drops some big news on him one day in the car. The woman he met the other night, who he believed to be his mom's "friend" from the gym is actually her lover. How does he tell his friends? How does he now act towards his mom? Melanin struggles to find the right way to answers these questions and ends the novel with a powerful message.

I believe the theme in this book is conflict. Melanin is in con
Judith Owens-smalll
Jul 19, 2014 Judith Owens-smalll rated it really liked it
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
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".
Colleen Halloran
Jun 10, 2015 Colleen Halloran rated it liked it
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun was about betrayal. Melanin and his mother were extremely close until she came out of the closet. Melanin's thoughts and disapproval resembled how any child would have reacted to this situation. I enjoyed how by the end of the book he accepted her for who she is and he also accepted her partner. Even though Melanin was upset with his mother he still defended her when his friends were making fun of her. I think that that is the true meaning of family. I like how ...more
Kay Mcgriff
Feb 05, 2014 Kay Mcgriff rated it really liked it
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
Jan 23, 2015 SmokingMirror rated it liked it
Mel is a kind of Everykid, whose distinguishing trait is his interest in endangered species. He has his prejudices, but young people are so afraid of what others think that the line between bigotry and social anxiety is blurry. Interesting that one viewpoint is loathed and the other often easily forgiven, though they are so closely related.

Mel has an interesting dream life; I was glad to read any of his dreams in relation to what was going on in his waking life.

Unfortunately, the point of the bo
Audry Sanders
This post is part of the Must Read Harder Challenge Grant funded by IMLS through LSTA and sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries
“From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun”
By: Woodson, Jacqueline
Puffin Books
A Penguin Random House Company
Brooklyn (NewYork,NY)
ISBN: 978-0-14-241641-9
Grades 7-11
Melanin Sun is, a 13 going on 14 year old African American boy growing up in Brooklyn with his single mother. Mel comes across as a sweet, kind quiet boy who is happy with life till his mom tells him
Viviane Huynh
Nov 19, 2014 Viviane Huynh rated it really liked it
Melanin Sun is a 13 year old African American boy who lives with his mother. Everything in his life seemed to be going smoothly until his mom dropped a bomb on him. She is in love with a white woman. This book really shows the anger, confusion, and frustration Mel experiences when he finds out his mother is a lesbian. He is mostly concerned with the way others perceive him. Will Mel learn to accept his mother for who she is? The themes of this book are LGBQT and tolerance. An activity to accompa ...more
Taylor White
Oct 27, 2014 Taylor White rated it really liked it
Shelves: november-12
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson is a Coretta Scott King Award novel. Melanin Sun is a teenager who keeps notebooks of his thoughts about the world. Melanin and his mother only have each other until a secret Melanin's mother is keeping is revealed to Melanin. This secret drives Melanin and his mother apart. Melanin struggles with how to handle this new information so he writes it all down in his notebooks. Melanin also struggles with what everyone will think of this knew n ...more
Jul 06, 2007 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adolescents
My first book by Jacqueline Woodson. A story of identity and discovery. A young male voice that was sincere and real.
Nov 19, 2015 Alenka rated it it was amazing
A short but beautiful novel about a young, black boy whose mother comes out to him and introduces him to her white girlfriend. Mel is so unique and his voice is so authentic; he's on the weird precipice before puberty and his heavy teenage years, so while he's still connected to the things he loves regardless of what others think of him, his friends' opinions are starting to deeply infiltrate his thinking. he has to fight the threat of intolerant mind sets both to accept his mother and to grow u ...more
Jasmin Chung
Melanin Sun is a teenage, African American boy. He finds out his mom is dating a woman which turns his world upside down. At the beginning, he is extremely frustrated and hurt. But as time goes on, he learns the true meaning of family and acceptance.
The themes are family and acceptance.
In the classroom, you could discuss ways that make someone's family unique. Children can share about their families, if they choose to, and the teacher can read books that represent the different families that are
Preston Shewell
Apr 07, 2015 Preston Shewell rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya-13-25
This is a book about a 13-year-old boy who's life is shaken when his mother tells him the truth about her sexual orientation. It's a story about tolerance and acceptance.

I didn't think this book was very interesting. Some of the concepts made me a little uncomfortable due to my personal beliefs, but the overall message of accepting people no matter your beliefs is an admirable one. I think this book is most appropriate for lower high school-aged readers, mostly due to mature themes and some mild
Jul 14, 2016 E.S. rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Okay, let me start this review out by saying that technically, this book is really good. Woodson is a master of language; everything of hers I've read has just been so well-written and so beautiful. So when I say that I didn't like this book, you'll understand that I'm speaking purely on content, not skill.

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun is about a thirteen-year-old boy whose mother comes out to him, and he proceeds to have a ninety-page shitfit. That's... really it. Okay, that's actually simp
May 28, 2016 hareton_fan1 rated it it was ok
This was one of the weirdest books I have ever read (and that's saying a lot because I just read the Wave before this and that book is seriously messed up). I have very few good things to say about this book, but I'll start with them. The style itself was pretty good. She does a good job of delving into the kinds of thoughts that a normal African American 14 year old boy would have. The details themselves are realistic and I would totally believe that this actually happened, though it didn't. Ho ...more
Nov 24, 2012 Esther rated it liked it
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
Jan 20, 2011 Lydia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-read, ya-lgbt
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
Feb 16, 2010 Karen rated it liked it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 59 60 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Deliver Us from Evie
  • The Necessary Hunger
  • The Arizona Kid
  • Holly's Secret
  • Name Me Nobody
  • My Father's Scar
  • Breathing Underwater
  • Eight Seconds
  • GLBTQ*: The Survival Guide for Queer & Questioning Teens
  • Hello, Groin
  • Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology
  • Letters in the Attic
  • Orphea Proud
  • God Loves Hair
  • Kicked Out
  • The Mariposa Club
  • Finding H.F.
  • Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy
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 about Jacqueline Woodson...

Share This Book

“Mama says it's okay to be on the quiet side—if quiet means you're listening, watching, taking it all in.” 12 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.” 6 likes
More quotes…