Cover Image: I'm Still Here (Adapted for Young Readers)

I'm Still Here (Adapted for Young Readers)

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I was elated to hear that the author released a YA version of her memoir that is a must read for everyone.  True to her normal writing voice, Austin Channing Brown's new release makes her life story and the themes of being Black in a world of White Supremacy, accessible to the younger generation.  While her target audience is teenage  girls who look like her - she writes in a way that invites readers of all ages, genders and ethnicities to observe and learn from her life experience.
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Austin Channing Brown's Memoir, I'm Still Here: Loving Myself in a World Not Made for Me, has been adapted for young readers.  I am grateful Brown decided to write this book for young black men and women, as it allowed me to learn from her stories as well.  I'm not the target audience for this book, yet I got so much out of it.  If more white women like myself read this book, we'd all benefit from a greater understanding of why the things we do are sometimes so harmful.  If anyone, adult or child, is struggling to understand the nuances of our current racial climate, this book is an easy-to-consume way to learn.

I hope this book find its way into the hands of kids everywhere.

Thank you to Convergent Books and NetGalley for this eARC!
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Austin Channing Brown takes a powerful story, with all the difficulties that have been faced, and shares an honest account for young readers. This book is a much-needed informational text that explores equity, along with self-worth and identity.
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Austin Channing Brown has beautifully articulated the experience of being black. This book is written as a letter to
young black girls, starting off with “I love being a Black girl. And sometimes being a Black girl in America is hard”. I would recommend this for every little black girl because it will encourage conversations that will hopefully prevent feeling like an odd ball when around people who don’t look like you, and even when they do. Although I absolutely loved this book, the target audience is probably middle school aged. There are so many relatable situations discussed and reminders that “you are not responsible for making other people feel more comfortable”. This is the first book I have read by Channing Brown but I’m anxious to get my hands on the adult version, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #NetGalley #imstillhere
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While Black girls and teens are the target audience for I'm Still Here (Adapted for Young Readers), it's definitely appropriate for Black boys/teens as well. I will be pressing it into the hands of both of my children (boy, age 13 and girl, age 14). I think the book has a lot to offer white kids, too. Brown's stories give kids a safe space to explore race, have their experiences echoed, their feelings validated, and their questions answered. The author shares many stories of her own childhood with readers and they are very relatable. This book is a must-have for classrooms as well as home and public libraries! 

Thank you to Convergent Books and NetGalley for a review copy.
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Absolutely loved how this was adapted for young readers. Austin has such a powerful voice- especially loved how this one ended- focusing on Black Joy! This is a must for any middle school/high school classroom.
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ACB speaks from her experience and wisdom to bring us stories from her life, particularly as a child and young adult. Her narrative cuts straight to the point, and readers are given the chance to walk in her shoes and understand the impact of racism and anti-racism in her life. While marketed as a YA book, this work is for all ages and is another essential voice about experiences of Black people. While there are a few similarities to the original book, this is a fresh work with many new stories. I plan to use chapters as read aloud material for my high school classes. Highly, highly recommended.
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While I am not the intended middle grade audience for this book, it was eye-opening and inspiring to read. I was not familiar with the author, but, having read this book, I went ahead and listened to the "adult" version, to see what was different, and if I could learn more. Brown has done a terrific job adapting her original work here, the parts I noticed that might have been included in the other might have been considered too graphic for younger readers. Having said that, I would suggest parents read the unadapted version for themselves. Brown has a lot to say about what we need to do to make change, and we should listen and take notes. There are so many simple things we can do while we work toward the more daunting change that absolutely needs to happen. It is appalling the level of ignorance in even the most educated of us, and I only hope that this book and it's important, practical advice are widely shared.
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Title: I’m Still Here
By: Austin Channing Brown

Middle Grade, Young Readers Edition, Memoir

Recommended Ages:

Favorite Excerpts:
“His course transformed me by setting me free. I didn’t just have permission to tell the truth about history. I had permission to tell my truth. I had permission to make Black lives the center of my work. I had permission to be a disrupter, an agent of change. I had permission to speak up so those in the back could hear me. So I did.”

“Injustice-how the good choices are reserved for only a few- is the problem.” 

“As you start to grow confident in who you are, it’s possible that others will resent that confidence. They will expect you to mirror their low expectations. And when you refuse to comply- when you set your own standard- they will do everything they can to bring you down to where they are.” 

Summary/Review: This is a beautiful memoir written for the target audience of young African American girls (and boys). The author does a beautiful job describing her life as a young black girl, with a white boy’s name. I love the author’s relatable life experiences, and the apathy this edition teaches the reader. As an educator in a predominantly African American school, I will be highly recommending this novel to all middle grade class rooms. Brown opens the reader’s eyes to her life, her personal growth and living a life of grit, resilience, confidence, and self-love. 

Thank you to Austin Channing Brown, Convergent Books, Penguin Random House, and Netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy for free. I am leaving this review voluntarily.  

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I read the original version of I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown when it was released several years ago and absolutely loved it, so I’m so excited that there is a young reader’s version now. I’m Still Here is a memoir of Channing Brown’s childhood and a depiction of her journey to learn to love herself as a Black girl in America. This version is completely reworked from the original and contains new stories, so it’s definitely worth picking up if you enjoy Channing Brown’s writing, even if you've already read the previous version. 

A huge thank you to the author and publisher, and to NetGalley for providing me advanced copies of this book for review.
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I want to say up front that I have not read the grown-up version of this one, so I cannot compare the two! But I did love this version on its own merits.

The stories here are mostly short and to the point, but they are great reminders (to an old folk like me) of how we are molded as kids. The stories are about church, school, hanging out with friends, getting that first crush. Things that kids – even ones growing up in a different time – will surely relate to.

This book is written to and for black girls, primarily. This only comes out in certain parts, though (mostly at the beginning and end). And while these girls will be able to see themselves in these scenarios, I think it’s equally important for other kids to consider the stories as well.

For example, she tells a story about a teacher using a hair salon as a scenario in class. A hair salon experience will be different for black kids and non-black kids, though. So, while the black kids reading this could be identifying with Brown’s confusion over the example – a white kid reading this might have never considered before why the teacher’s scenario didn’t make sense to everyone in the class. I feel like it could be eye-opening for younger readers to see that different perspective, maybe for the first time.

So, I think kids of all colors would learn something from these stories. Their takeaways will inherently be different, but it would be a good introduction to trying to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
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I wish I could buy a copy for absolute every girl and woman I know. I love how Austin encircles facets of being black. The highs and lows, the hurts and joys, the perspectives of her and others, how they change, how they grow. She invites us to think critically about EVERYTHING and models it beautifully - giving so many examples on not just how to ask a question but what questions to ask. What her questions are and what they AREN'T. I feel like a much, much better person for having read this. Every kid, every adult, would benefit from reading this. Benefit epically, not just a bit. This is solid gold.
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I loved I’m Still Here so I was thrilled to hear about a young reader version of the book. The author has an incredible way of connecting with her audience and this book was no different even though it was targeted to a younger demographic. She told stories from her own childhood that will relate to young readers but also help parents connect with their kids if they choose to read it together. For readers of her first book  - it’s not just a retelling of the book for a younger audience - it includes new stories so it’ll feel familiar but not the exact same. The warm encouragement she offers to her readers throughout is something our young people need more of and I’m so glad they have this book in their toolkit as they navigate growing up in our world. I wish I had this book growing up to better understand at that age what it was like for friends and classmates that were in predominately white spaces (classrooms, extracurricular activities, etc). 

“There is no need to be shy about your accomplishments. You are able to achieve because other Black women paved the way for you. And now you will join them in paving the way for others. That is not something to be shy or modest about. Confidence and humility. That’s what we want to cultivate in our lives and in the lives of Black girls around us. Let’s hold our heads high while we celebrate our sisters and ourselves.”
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I'm Still Here (Adapted for Young Readers) by Austin Channing Brown is an important book for its target readership, young Black girls (and boys for that matter), and an opportunity to better understand society for the rest of us.

Admittedly, for those of us who aren't Black, reading this will, or at least should, make us question some things we may have done or not done that helped to make our society less welcoming and less safe for others. Many of these things may not have been intentional, and may well have been unnoticed by us. That doesn't excuse what happened but doesn't need to be taken in a defensive manner. We need to become more aware, make conscious the effort to make the world better, and learn about the things that have become considered "the way it is," to nod to Bruce Hornsby.

The stories included cover experiences from Brown's youth, which makes them more relatable for young readers than many of the stories in the original. Many concepts are illustrated rather than given a deep theoretical explanation, though there is explanation. In fact, I think this method offers one of the best explanations/illustrations of how a place can be a "white space." 

I have recommended this to both parents and readers who can benefit personally. I am eager to hear from some of my friends who are planning to share it, together, with their children. I know that having read this gave our discussions a much more solid foundation for my understanding of things I don't have firsthand experience with.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Austin Channing Brown is a gifted storyteller.  By sharing her stories, the reader gets the opportunity to see through Austin’s eyes a world that they may or may not be familiar with.  If you are an ally you will be enlightened as to non inclusive behaviors you may not have even thought about.  This book brings you along on so many different experiences; some will make you smile, or stop and think, or awaken your righteous anger or possibly even make your jaw drop.  It was a joy to read and hard to put down.  It is a true gift to young girls of color and all of us rooting for a world where everyone is included and able to succeed.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC.

I'm Still Here (Adapted for Young Readers) is Austin Channing Brown's deeply personal memoir about growing up Black and female in America reimagined for young readers.

Sometimes, you read a book as an adult that you wish you and your peers had had access to when you were younger. This is absolutely one of those books. In telling these stories of her experiences as a child, Austin Channing Brown finds ways to make her stories relatable for young readers, to lead them to the parts of each recounting that are important to the themes of each story or important to take the time to consider in comparison to their own lives. She meets her audience where they are, treats them like they are young and growing but also treats them like they are capable of understanding and learning. This is a book I hope makes its way onto school reading lists and the shelves of both public and parents' home libraries, and ultimately into the hands of children who I know will grow into more kind, generous, and empathetic adults simply for having read this book.
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This book is specifically aimed at Black girls and I think that's a beautiful thing. I definitely plan to get a copy for my daughter's bookshelves so she can read it when she's older. I love how the author talks to a younger audience without talking down to them. 

I always love a book with short chapters and I think it can be especially important in a book aimed at younger readers. I thought the chapters here were easily digestible and just the right length. I actually think the book as a whole is the perfect length. There's a lot of good information but it goes by quick.

I think this will be a great resource for young Black girls dealing with both the struggles and the triumphs of just existing in the US. 

P.s. the cover is gorgeous.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy to read. An adaptation of her memoir of the same name, the author writes to younger readers, sharing how race showed up in school, among friends, and other every day conversations. As children we often don't know how to name the aspects of the culture around us but we can feel them-often times in our bodies as the author describes. Though a book for young readers this is a book I wish I had when I was younger.
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I'm Still Here tells the story of Austin Channing Brown and her experience growing up as a Black girl. This edition adapted for young readers shows an experience, that will be validating to some, eye-opening to others, and valuable overall.
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I follow Austin Channing Brown on social media and have long been a fan of her political work.  I really enjoyed her memoir and her thoughts on belonging in different settings.  She made me think about the Black experience, and how her journey may look different than others' experience.  I think a lot of young men and women would feel seen after reading her candid thoughts.

Overall, this was a quick read and while she is a political figure, this book focused more on culture, lived experiences, and the effects of racism and white supremacy.  It made me want to be a better ally and I plan to recommend this to teens at my library.
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