Like Vanessa

by Tami Charles illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton


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    • Grades: 6 - 9
    • Ages: 11 - 14
    • Format: Paperback Book
Short Summary
A school beauty pageant encourages Vanessa to dream of a more glamorous life—just like the life of Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America.

Good For:
Gritty and Inspiring Young Adult Novel, Heroine to Cheer For, Life Lessons About Personal Empowerment, Emotionally Rich Storytelling

Topics and Themes:
Beauty Pageants, Self-Confidence, Aspirations and Dreams, Overcoming Obstacles
Some mature content; more suitable for older readers.

Product Details

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In this semiautobiographical debut novel set in 1983, Vanessa Martin lives with her family in public housing in Newark, New Jersey. She struggles with an estranged mother she barely remembers, a grandfather dealing with addiction, and her own battles with self-confidence. But when a new teacher at school coordinates a beauty pageant, she convinces Vanessa to enter.

Vanessa’s view of her own world begins to change as she begins to question the ugly realities in her day-to-day life and wonders what beauty might really be. Is it just about appearances? Shouldn’t her self-worth be more than the scores of her interview answers and her talent performance? Maybe beauty has less to do with how she looks than how she feels inside. Does she really need a crown to tell her to be comfortable in her own skin and her own life? Slowly, Vanessa begins to develop her own sense of self-esteem and discover who she really is.

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Product Details

    • Grades: 6 - 9
    • Ages: 11 - 14
  • Product Type: Book
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
  • Language: English
  • ISBN 13: 978-1-338-62750-3