Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods’ moving, uplifting story of a girl finally meeting the African American side of her family explores racism and how it feels to be biracial, and celebrates families of all kinds.
Violet is biracial, but she lives with her white mother and sister, attends a mostly white school in a white town, and sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. Now that she’s eleven, she feels it’s time to learn about her African American heritage, so she seeks out her paternal grandmother. When Violet is invited to spend two weeks with her new Bibi (Swahili for "grandmother") and learns about her lost heritage, her confidence in herself grows and she discovers she’s not a shrinking Violet after all. From a Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author, this is a powerful story about a young girl finding her place in the world.
About the Author
Brenda Woods (www.brendawoods.net) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, raised in southern California, and attended California State University, Northridge. She is the award-winning author of several books for young readers: Coretta Scott King Honor winner The Red Rose Box, Saint Louis Armstrong Beach, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction selection Emako Blue, My Name is Sally Little Song, and A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her numerous awards and honors include the Judy Lopez Memorial Award, FOCAL award, Pen Center USA’s Literary Award finalist, IRA Children’s Choice Young Adult Fiction Award, and ALA Quick Pick. She lives in the Los Angeles area.
* “Violet’s a bright, engaging biracial preteen. . . . Infused with humor, hope and cleareyed compassion—a fresh take on an old paradigm.”
— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
“Woods deftly raises complex issues of race and identity and leaves them open for discussion: whether race matters, what makes a family, how it feels to be different, and what it means to be biracial. ‘To white people,’ Violet thinks, ‘I’m half black. To black people, I’m half white. . . . Is that what I am, a percentage?’"
— Publishers Weekly
“Violet is a winning protagonist, full of questions and full of hope. She’s believably complex. . . . Her self-conscious reflections enable readers to parse the symbolism behind her name and see how her experiences are helping her grow into a person who fits it—a sometimes shy, sometimes sparkly and strong person to whom many readers will relate.”
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books— various
SAINT LOUIS ARMSTRONG BEACH—Now on 8 state award lists!
* “The dialogue is strong, smooth, and natural. The food, music, and tempo of New Orleans all come to life. . . . Woods skillfully provides a sense of the growing tension as the storm approaches. The real-life events of Hurricane Katrina . . . are integrated smoothly into the story. While the tragedy of the event is not glossed over, the overall theme is one of hope.”—SLJ, starred review
* “Provides a vivid description of what life was like in pre-Katrina New Orleans, and how quickly peoples’ lives were shattered. The characters are well-developed, and readers truly will care about their fates.”—LMC, starred review
“Spare, moving novel. . . . The authentic New Orleans setting works as a powerful character, adding an extra dimension to this compelling Katrina story.”—The Horn Book
* “Gripping addition to the growing body of fiction portraying Katrina’s profound effect on children and families. . . . Woods’ marvelous characterizations of Saint and Miz Moran more than stand up to the vivid backdrop of the flooded, chaotic city. Shadow’s credulity-straining heroics will please kids. A small gem that sparkles with hope, resilience and the Crescent City’s unique, jazz-infused spirit.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review