What drew me to Bil Wright’s young adult novel, When the Black Girl Sings, was the cover. There were 9 butterflies arranged in a 3X3 formation mounted on a weatherworn wooden shadow box. Eight of the butterflies were white and identical in every other detatil. There was a bigger, black butterfly who was out of place and perched on the top of the shadow box in the spotlight, seemingly ready to take flight. I am absolutely in love with butterflies so any book with a butterfly on the cover draws me in for a scan of the jack and a flip through the pages.
This is a fittingly illustrative cover to the coming of age story Wright weaves about Lahni Schuler, a 14 year0ld black girl negotiating identity and the perils of being low on the social totem pole at the all girls prep school she attends. Lahni is the adoptive daughter of two loving white parents who are on the verge of separation. She holds within her a wonderful talent for singing, but doesn’t seem to know it. Encouraged by her music teacher to enter a talent competition, Lahni discovers that she cannot hide from herself nor the world around her anymore. Wright weaves a heartwarming tale that is sure to empower any young girl caught in that awkward pre-teen stage.
I’ll have to check out Wright’s other novels, Sunday You Learn How to Box and One Foot in Love.
Check out When the Black Girl Sings at your local library or purchase it for your pre-teen to teen daughter (12 and up).