Like Vanessa

6 CDs. 7:30 hrs. Recorded Bks. May 2018. $66.75. ISBN 9781501990755. digital download.
Gr 6–8—Vanessa Martin is in eighth grade in Newark, NJ, in 1983. As she watches the Miss America pageant with her grandfather, Pop Pop, she witnesses Vanessa Williams become the first African American winner of the contest. She hopes that she can one day be like the Vanessa on television in spite of her plump, dark-skinned frame. Ultimately, with newfound confidence, friendship, and encouragement and guidance from a concerned teacher, Vanessa wins her middle school's first pageant. She and her classmates come to realize that beauty involves more than simply appearance. The rich voice of narrator Channie Waites captures the concerns, triumphs, and daily rhythms of Vanessa's family and school.
VERDICT Of particular note is the voicing of the character's writings, including poetic musings, which heighten the impact of this plausible young teen.

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