From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson- A Taste of Modern Realism

fromthenotebooksofmelaninsunpb1995Addressing some of the most important issues faced by the African American community, really by all minority communities, Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson is one of the most rarest and yet realest novels to be written. While classified as YA lit due to its young teenage narrator, Melanin Sun can really be for all audiences no matter what age or race. Melanin Sun is about a fourteen-year-old boy named Melanin Sun who faces various challenges in his thirteenth year. Mel, as he is called, has grown up his entire life with only his mother within his small Brooklyn neighborhood, which is predominantly African American. Not many white people have ever come into the neighborhood and very rarely do the inhabitants step out of their community. Now on the brink of turning 14, Melanin Sun is becoming aware of one of the most important things: Himself. Melanin Sun fears loosing the relationship that he has always cherished with his mother, EC, being that she is all he’s ever known even after she reveals the truth about her sexuality and girlfriend. Believing that EC’s white girlfriend, Kristen, is out to steal his place next to his mom, Melanin Sun embarks on a lonely internal journey in which he questions all that has ever happened and why. When word speculates around the very nosy and rumor-filled neighborhood about EC and her white girlfriend, Mel tries to hide from everyone including the girl he likes, Angie, in order to avoid judgment despite being taught better by EC. When his longtime friend finally confronts him, it seems as if the world has ended for Melanin Sun. He beats up his friend, possibly loosing him as a friend forever, and commits to hiding himself subconsciously…that is until EC finally forces him to spend quality time with Kristin and herself. It is then that Melanin Sun truly finds himself and the solutions to the feelings the make him an unforgettable teenager. Dealing with discovering about his mom’s homosexuality, his feelings toward the white race and his own sexual feelings, Woodson creates a narrator so unique and modern that allows the reader to evoke the various different emotions that let us understand what it is like to be thirteen again in today’s world. Most importantly, Woodson shows us the stereotypes and notions that people in minority communities are faced with daily. She mixes racism and sex together to bring an even more powerful message about the importance of being understanding.

– DML

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4 thoughts on “From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson- A Taste of Modern Realism

  1. Thanks for this post, DML! You’ve got me interested in Woodson’s From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun. It sounds like From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun deals with a lot of the same, ever-important issues as Feathers. Race, perhaps, being the most important of all. And from what you’ve said, Mel sounds like a highly relatable character.
    I wonder whether this novel is written as a first-person narrative and whether it’s written in a journal-like format. Maybe you can let me know about this.
    In any case, I’ll definitely check this book out. Thanks again!

    -SD

  2. Oh great, another book that I’ve never heard about that I’m going to have to read because it sounds smart and relevant and interesting. You people are going to make my summer horrible by giving such great recommendations. Seriously, this book does sound pretty great. The fact that it touches on racism along with what sounds like a young child coming to terms and understanding that homophobia is not okay, does sound like it would make a really interesting read for students.
    Are their any scenes in the novel that might cause any controversy in the classroom or with parents with such sensitive topics on the table?
    -MAS 2015

  3. MAS, not at all that is what is so great about this book. I mean he does talk a little sexually but nothing to explicit. I would definitely recommend it. Many of the 8th graders I have, have read it!- DML

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