Melvin Robinson wants a strong, smooth, He-Man voice that lets him say what he wants, when he wants—especially to his crush Millie Takazawa, and Gary Ratliff, who constantly puts him down. But the thought of starting high school is only making his stutter worse.
And Melvin's growing awareness that racism is everywhere—not just in the South where a boy his age has been brutally killed by two white men, but also in his own hometown of Spokane—is making him realize that he can't mutely stand by.
His new friend Lenny, a fast-talking, sax-playing Jewish boy, who lives above the town's infamous (and segregated) Harlem Club, encourages Melvin to take some risks—to invite Millie to Homecoming and even audition for a local TV variety show. When they play music together, Melvin almost feels like he's talking, no words required. But there are times when one needs to speak up.
When his moment comes, can Melvin be as mighty on the outside as he actually is on the inside?
About the Author
Sundee T. Frazier is the ALA Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent award-winning author of Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It, Brendan Buckley's Sixth-Grade Experiment, The Other Half of My Heart, and the Cleo Edison Oliver series. Mighty Inside was inspired by her Black family's real-life experiences integrating a white neighborhood in Spokane, WA, in the 1950s and her childhood memories of Spokane's proud, tight-knit, African-American community. Her books have been nominated for twelve state children's choice awards and been recognized by the Children's Book Council, Bank Street College of Education, and Kirkus Reviews. Frazier is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives near Seattle, WA, with her husband and two daughters. You can learn more about her and her work at www.sundeefrazier.com.
“A gentle historical novel about finding your voice.”-Kirkus Reviews,
“Richly drawn...Melvin’s authentic narration reveals a teen who is finding his voice and using it to speak out against racism and discrimination.”-Horn Book,
“A powerful story that will bring readers through the experience of beginning to understand racism, and what that really feels like, from the inside out. What a gift.”
“One of those rare books I found myself reading more slowly as I got to the final pages. I didn’t want it to end.”
-Newbery Award winner, Christopher Paul Curtis,
“Sundee Frazier once again flexes her masterful expertise in understanding the human heart, and the insurmountable will and capacity we have, even when faced simultaneously with internal and external adversities, to press forward and persevere triumphantly.”
-Kirkus Prize winner, Derrick Barnes,
[STAR] “A well-constructed and movingly told story of a thoughtful Black boy making his place in his family and in 1950s America.”-Publishers Weekly (starred),
“Educators will certainly be able to encourage lively discussions with students who have read this book, making it an excellent choice for a whole class read. Librarians and teachers alike will want to add this to their collections."-School Library Connection,