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Vinyl Moon

Vinyl Moon

When Black high school student Angel moves to Brooklyn to live with her uncle, she discovers a love for books, poetry, and music as she works to understand and heal from the scars of her own past.
Vinyl Moon

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Angel tells Sterling, “I finish a book and I’m excited to make a playlist, like a soundtrack to the way the book made me feel.”

Have students create their own playlists that reflect how Vinyl Moon made them feel. Start with small group discussions about music and playlists, and let students talk about current favorite playlists and their own experiences making and listening to playlists. Then have students write about a playlist they recently listened to, describing the theme and what kinds of ideas and emotions the songs inspired. Have them share what they wrote with their group.

Next, have students consider the theme of the playlist they are going to create for Vinyl Moon. Remind them that their playlist theme is bigger than just the themes of the book and needs to focus on their own reactions to what they read and reflected on. Have them select 5 to 10 songs that evoke emotions and ideas similar to those they felt when reading. For each song, students should write a paragraph of commentary that explains how the song relates to their theme and include details about how lyrics, instruments, rhythm, or melodies express a particular meaning, quality, or feeling related to the theme. Have students present their annotated playlists to the class along with a link to their song collection on SoundCloud, Spotify, or YouTube. 

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  1. What did you think of Mahogany Browne’s decision to write the novel using a mix of prose, poetry, texts, letters, and vignettes? What effect does this have on your understanding of Angel’s story?
  2. What individuals and experiences shaped Angel’s beliefs about herself? How does her new life in Brooklyn help her redefine herself? What aspects of her identity remain central to who she is?
  3. “When there are many worlds you can choose the one you walk into each day.” Why do you think this quote from Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming resonates with Angel? What does it mean to you?
  4. How does Angel feel about music? How is it similar to or different from how she feels about books? What role do stories and music play in Angel’s life and how she comes to understand herself and her world? What role do stories and music play in your life?

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