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When the Black Girl Sings

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  465 ratings  ·  110 reviews
Lahni Schuler is the only black student at her private prep school. She's also the adopted child of two loving, but white, parents who are on the road to divorce. Struggling to comfort her mother and angry with her dad, Lahni feels more and more alone. But when Lahni and her mother attend a local church one Sunday, Lahni hears the amazing gospel choir, and her life takes a ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  465 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lisa by: CapCh10-14
Although the issues around race and identity seen from the point of view of an African-American girl adopted by white parents is of value, this book felt like a draft, rather than a finished work. It didn't hold together well enough, and most characters and relatanships weren't developed enough.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: race
"She doesn't know she's a great singer!" is no more believable in a character than "She doesn't know how beautiful she is." And having grown up a choir kid, none of this is plausible.

The main character has only ever sung casually with her parents and her music teacher thinks she has a pleasant voice; that's the extent of her experience as the book begins. She decides she wants to join a church choir and is immediately handed a part singing alongside the featured soloist, and all she does wrong i
Mar 18, 2009 rated it liked it
I often entice junior high kids to read Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements with the casual remark "there is a lot of nudity in that book." (It is about an invisible boy) Bil Wright was apparently using this same strategy in When The Black Girl Sings. The opening chapter is set in a girl's locker room (and the girls are NOT invisible)! I liked this book better than some of the multi-cultural books I read last year for Golden Sower. However, I just kept thinking throughout the book that Layni was ...more
Erik Galindo
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
When the Black Girl Sings is a book from Bil Wright and in my opinion is a very good story and a hyped story. When I started reading it I wasn’t really into because I’m not a big fan of reading books and usually never read on the normal basis, but I think this book has changed my opinion on books.
Bil Wright knows how to make someone come back for more because In the book there’s always a part that wants you to come back to learn and find out more about the story because it catches your attenti
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much, even though I did not expect to. What I originally thought when placing the book on hold was that it was just going to be focusing on getting through a hard time of her parent's divorce, but it was so much more than that. There are religious aspects of the book and she really did not even care THAT much about the divorce. I would really recommend.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lahni Schuler is an African American girl adopted by two white parents. She got use to the
way people looked at her because she was happy and she knew her parents were too. It was
the end of her middle school year and everything had changed, her father barely came home
from work, her mother was starting to get very depressed, and both her parents start to argue.
Her father finally moves out, and she tries her hardest to comfort her mother.
She isn’t the only African American in her home, but also her
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really strong coming-of-age story about a young black female who was adopted by a white couple. She attends a mostly-white prep school in a mostly-white suburb and now that she's in middle school she's starting to realize that appearance matters and she becomes more self-conscious about her own "blackness." It's a pretty well-written and interesting story with quite a few plot lines going at once. Her parents start fighting and that leads to their separation. Lahni and her mom start to ...more
Kristina Marie
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
When the Black Girl Sings is a wonderfully written story about Lahni, a black girl adopted by a white family who are facing divorce, and her upcoming singing competition. Bil Wright succeeds in his manner of writing. It is loose and familiar while his timeline focusses mainly on the weeks before and of the competition. Although he does not deeply develop his characters this is what helps make his book light and fun. He frequently mentions the issue of her race but does not focus in on it to the ...more
Sep 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-read
Lahni in this story is a teenager struggling to find her place in middle school and her family. In addition to normal teenage issues, she must also deal with the fact she is adopted by a white family and she is black. She also attends all white girl prep school and the popular girls are either jealous of her, or mean to her. She has one friend who is there through it all. As she watches her parent's marriage fall apart and try to find her place in the world, she learns she is a great singer. Her ...more
I bought this at the book fair. The school librarian tells me that students were uninterested in the book because the title was, in their words, "racist."

First off, I've noticed that my students really don't know what racist means. They know it's a perjorative but few of them use the word correctly. For example, one African-American student told the class that his mother was racist because she grounded him from his phone because he got in trouble at school... which tells me that students may nee
May 10, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a good story about a young black girl in a school full of white girls, who discovers religion through singing. Good for about 8th grade and up. Will appeal a lot more to girls than to boys.
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book years ago in my late teens and have never forgotten it. The issues of race, marriage, love, and even budding talent are all topics in this book. This is a pretty easy and quick read, as well as engaging. I enjoyed diving into Lahni's world and seeing life through her eyes. A girl caught between two worlds. As an African American woman who grew up in predominantly white schools and at many times the only, or one of two or three minorities in a classroom, as well as a singer, I co ...more
Janae Eason
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I really loved the topics that this book covered, and I thought that the voice was pretty authentic. I gave three stars mainly because I think that the book could have gone more in depth into several topics and situations than it did, and I wish it had.
Robin Orozco
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful Book

I read this book to help my son with a paper and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a wonderful read that touched me. Being adopted myself it was very relatable.
Jennifer Wardrip
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for

Lahni Schuler sometimes just doesn't understand her life.

She doesn't understand why a Caucasian couple would adopt an African American baby. She doesn't understand why they would enroll that girl in a private school where she is the only African American. She doesn't understand why some of the girls at the school are so snotty and so ignorant, especially towards her. And she definitely doesn't understand why her parents are co
Scott James
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found "When the Black Girl Sings" by Bil Wright a very interesting book and kept you wondering what would happen. I rated this book four out of five stars because for the most part I found it interesting, but at some points it was a little boring. The story overall was about a black girl named Lahni who went to a private school and was the only black girl there. Lahni is an adopted black girl in a white family. Her bestfriend was Katie, and the popular girl at her school who is full of hersel ...more
Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a nice and quick read. Something to pick up when you want to pass the time.
Lahni was adopted by a loving white couple when she was a baby and goes to a private school where she is the only black girl. She is reminded of being the only black student every day by the popular school bully.

Lahni is a shy girl who likes to sing in her spare time and writes down songs but never thinks herself as talented. Until there is a competition at school and she must compete against two other students
Faith Guerra
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: shelf
Have you ever like you stood out the most in your school.Well this main character Lahni schuler knows exactly what it feels like.this book is realistic fiction.I fell that this book lies upon realistic fiction because Lahni goes through many conflicts that can relate to some real world problems.
This book takes place in a school, at home, and a church. Lahni wanted to stop feeling isolated due to many problems.***Spoiler Alert*** But when she finds out her parents are getting divorced her and h
Sara ♥
3.5 stars. This was a really cute little book about a black girl, Lahni, who was adopted by a white couple when she was a baby. She's in the 8th grade now, and is trying to figure out who she really is while also dealing with her parents' failing marriage. She finds comfort (and passion) in singing her heart out with a gospel choir. (Which sounds UNBELIEVABLY AMAZING, and something I would LOVE to do... except I'm an alto, and we're always singing harmony...)

I loved the characters and I was REAL
Zakiya LadyWings
Review can also be found on my blog: http://walkingbutterflyfeet.blogspot....

This novel was better than I thought it would be. Lahni really clicked with me, and the author had more than one plotline going on at once, which really added flavor to the book.

Lahni is almost in high school, she's nowhere near the top of the social ladder at her school (a school she doesn't even like at that), and then some crazy guy starts stalking her. But she finds a new home when she and her mom start going to chu
Contemporary, Identity, African-American, Adoption, Bullying

I have recently read two other books whose main characters are the only African-Americans in “white” schools. Here’s a third book.

Lahni attends eighth grade at an exclusive girl’s prep school in Connecticut. As the school year comes to an end, Lahni finds herself as one of three girls nominated for the annual talent competition. The stress in Lahni’s life keeps building as she prepares for the competition, attempts to maintain her good
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a great read. I think it touches on some of the real issues students face when we send them to "better" schools. Sometimes we want our kids to have the best education but we forget what that intels. To walk into a school and be the ONLY ONE of your kind and not truly know what that means I think that the main character showed courage and strength. L does not know what it means to be a young black girl and neither did her mother but I think that having the love of her mother AND her ...more
Aug 20, 2011 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am now more than half-way in the book on the twenty seventh chapter. So far i have read that Lahni is in a music competition, she is dealing with her parents seperation, church choir, and the worst part "Onyx 1".
Lahni has been preparing herself for the competition and she has chosen to sing a gospel song. The choir director at her church, Marcus, has offered to be the accompanist for her in the show. I feel she will win in the end. In her church choir, she has gotten a few solos with Cariet
Brianna T
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My book is called When the Black girl sings. It is by Bil Wright. The book is about this girl named Lahni, she is in foster care and at her school that she goes to she is bullied by the other girls but she has a best friend that cares about her. Her foster parents get a divorce and so she is very stressed. Later she gets to be in the church choir and she is very good. Then she gets nominated to be in the talent show at school and both of her parents go, but they don't argue this time instead the ...more
Jan 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Middle School
8th grader Lahni doesn’t understand why her parents forced her to go to the private Darby School. How could they get what it’s like to be the black girl in a mostly white school, when they adopted her into their white family in the first place? But they are her family and Lahni loves them. When Lahni’s Dad abruptly moves out, she begins to reassess where she fits in - at school, with her best friend, at home, and with her new church and choir. In this inspirational coming-of-age story, Lahni dis ...more
Parker Goodreau
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a book quite like this before. It's a great read with a few moments that really ring true. Lani and the other characters were interesting and strong, but I didn't emotionally connect to the story. Her relationship with her parents and best friend represent something I've personally felt, but seldom read about, which I really appreciated. The ending didn't shine for me as much as some of the other scenes. The situation with Onyx 1 was a little confusing, though his interactions wit ...more
Yvonne Powderly
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel. It may be predictable but touches on many teen issues, especially the ever present need to fit in and appreciate ones self.
Adopted by loving, white parents and taunted by classmates as the only African American girl in her elite, private school, Lahni Schuler, 14, is conflicted about her identity and deeply hurt by her parents’ separation.
When her mother takes her to an interdenominational church, Lahni is captivated by the soulful gospel singing. She joins the choir and rece
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Lahni has never thought of her life as being complicated until the end of her middle school year at her exclusive girls school. She was adopted by white parents as a baby but, as the only African American student, Lahni feels out of place. She has never spent time with other African Americans, and with her parents going through a divorce, she begins to question who she is and her role in her life as well as their lives. When she is entered in a singing competition at her school, she joins a loca ...more
While this book is not up to Wright's usual standards, teens will likely find something to identify with. Lahni is the African-American adopted daughter of a white couple. She attends an almost all white school, and has no black friends. The differences between her and her parents based on race are starting to trouble her, but she doesn't do more than tentatively ask questions. As her parents' marriage is falling apart, her mother starts taking her to church, where Lahni finds a place for hersel ...more
Apr 21, 2009 rated it liked it
A good "issue" book: an African-American girl adopted by white parents that touches on race identity, divorce, and, of course, adoption. The climax is the school singing competition, with all its nervous jitters. The strongest parts were Lahni's relationship with her mother and with the African-American members of the choir at the church they join. Less strong were Lahni's relationships with the other girls at her private school (not as fully developed) and with a white boy who stalks her becaus ...more
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