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A Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Correta Scott King - John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award
A Morris Award Finalist
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019

This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.

There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence.

What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show.

But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?

Alicia D. Williams is the author of Genesis Begins Again, which received a Newbery and Kirkus Prize honors, was a William C. Morris Award finalist, and for which she won the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent. A graduate of the MFA program at Hamline University, and an oral storyteller in the African American tradition, she is also a teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Alicia D. Williams is the author of Genesis Begins Again, which received a Newbery and Kirkus Prize honors, was a William C. Morris Award finalist, and for which she won the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent. A graduate of the MFA program at Hamline University, and an oral storyteller in the African American tradition, she is also a teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"Author Alicia D. Williams brings authenticity and heart to the narration of her debut audiobook. Life has been hard for 13-year-old Genesis Anderson. Her alcoholic, gambling father never pays the rent, and the family lives with continual evictions and constant uncertainty. Her mother is a beautiful light-skinned black woman, but Genesis herself is dark, and she feels unbearably ugly in comparison. Williams sensitively portrays Genesis's deep hurt and self-harming behavior as she undergoes risky treatments to lighten her skin and soften her hair in the hope that she will someday be beautiful. As the story continues, listeners will feel her agony as she dares to see herself differently, tentatively standing up for herself and believing in her own worth. A powerful listening experience is enhanced by Williams's fluid performance."

– AudioFile Magazine

  • ALA Newbery Honor Book
  • CBC/NCSS Notable Children's Book in Social Studies
  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Intermediate Title
  • Maine Student Book Award Reading List
  • Nutmeg Book Award Nominee (CT)
  • Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award
  • Georgia Children's Book Award Finalist
  • YouPer Award (MI)
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
  • ALA/William C. Morris Award Finalist
  • Intermediate Sequoyah Book Award Master List (OK)
  • South Carolina Junior Book Award