I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This

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9780785779421: I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This
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Twelve-year-old Marie is a leader among the popular black girls in Chauncey, Ohio, a prosperous black suburb. She isn't looking for a friend when Lena Bright, a white girl, appears in school. Yet they are drawn to each other because both have lost their mothers. And they know how to keep a secret. For Lena has a secret that is terrifying, and she's desperate to protect herself and her younger sister from their father. Marie must decide whether she can help Lena by keeping her secret...or by telling it.

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Review:

Two girls: one white, one black; one abused, one protected, both missing their mothers. An unlikely friendship ignites between the two, and, in sharing their differences, both of their lives are transformed. Jacqueline Woodson won a Coretta Scott King Honor for this moving, tightly written tale of friendship, racism, and loss. In a starred review, The Horn Book calls it a "haunting and beautifully poetic novel."

About the Author:

Born February 12 in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. A former drama therapist for runaways and homeless children in New York City, she now writes full-time and has received The Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence in Fiction. Though she spends most of her time writing, Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers, encouraging young people to write, heated political conversation with her friends, and sewing. At one time, she made most of her own clothing, but now she makes mostly scarves and quilts for her friends.
Jacqueline Woodson began to consider becoming a writer when she was chosen to be the literary editor of a magazine in the fifth grade. Eventually, three books helped convince her to pursue a writing career: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Daddy Was a Numbers-Runner by Louise Meriwether, and Ruby by Rosa Guy. Before reading those books, Woodson thought that only books featuring mainstream, white characters or works by William Shakespeare constituted valid literature. But in those three books, Woodson saw parts of herself and her life, and realized that books could be about people like her; and she knew she wanted to write them.
Now a critically acclaimed author, Woodson writes about characters from a variety of races, ethnic groups, and social classes. Woodson says, "There are all kinds of people in the world, and I want to help introduce readers to the kinds of people they might not otherwise meet." Woodson's books also feature strong female characters. Some are based on her friends, who she says are "really amazing people who constantly challenge themselves to make a difference in the world." Woodson often writes about friendship between girls, as she did in her trilogy about Maizon, and I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This. "Girls rarely get discussed in books and films," she says, "and I want to do 'girl stories' that show strong, independent people. I think girls are often disregarded in this society and taught to be dependent. I want to show young people that there are other ways to be."
The House You Pass on the Way is a moving story of growing up different. It explores questions about emerging sexuality with sensitivity and respect and examines racial tension and the legacy of violence. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly noted, "[Woodson] gently probes questions regarding racism and homosexuality in this poignant tale about growing pains and the ongoing process of self-discovery." Also in a starred review, The Horn Book wrote of The House You Pass on the Way, "[A] reflective book.... The reader feels grateful that Woodson has whispered her lyrical story to us...." School Library Journal remarked that Woodson's novel is, "Richly layered.... Notable both for its quality and for the out-of-the-way places it goes."
Woodson's latest book, Lena (April 1998, Delacorte Press), is the companion to the Coretta Scott King Honor Book, I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly claims Lena is "soulful, wise...this taut story never loses its grip on the reader."

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Woodson, Jacqueline
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