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Mourning Janet McDonald

Helen Frost, the author of one of my favorite books, THE BRAID, sent me an email yesterday sharing her sorrow at the loss of her friend, author Janet McDonald.  After reading the email, I knew that her name (Janet McDonald) sounded familiar, but I couldn't remember where I heard it. Then I started my (re)searching and found that I was sent an advanced copy of her book HARLEM HUSTLE. It was one of those books I knew I wouldn't be able to put down, so I left it on my, TO DO shelf until I had the time it deserved. But like so many things…well, you know what happens, you never get back to it – and this one I should have. Part of what I love about blogging is meeting the interesting authors, librarians, publicists, photobloggers…I could go on.  But when one passes away there's a definite void left in the blogosphere – there's also a connection. So I am deeply sorry to Janet McDonald for not posting about her book HARLEM HUSTLE.

Here's a quote from a review written by Arizona State University professor, Ursula Casanova. She writes a lengthy and compelling reaction on the impact Janet McDonald's autobiography, PROJECT GIRL had on her. Back in 2001, Casanova writes, "McDonald's book is not an easy read but it is a must read for those who teach the children of our marginalized populations. It will help us to be more honest with our students and to find ways to strengthen their resolve. In the meantime, through political and personal effort, we must seek to redress the inequities that require the extreme efforts demanded of Janet McDonald and other children of poverty."

Janet McDonald Website
Debra Lau Whelan's article at School Library
Here's Janet McDonald's profile, in her own words WELL WORTH READING – photo courtesy of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux website


  1. My friendship with Janet McDonald and her book Project Girl changed my life. She told me that writing Harlem Hustle was a great joy. BOOM!!

  2. Thank you Meselah.

    I’ve only heard great things about Janet’s writings and her winning personality.

  3. Joyce McDonald says:

    My family is still in shock over Janets passing. We will alway be proud of her. She is a wonderful sister, daughter aunt and great auntie. We miss her so. We thank you all for your wonderful words about her. She was not only a great writer, she was a loving person.

  4. Amy Bowllan says:

    Hi Joyce,

    Thank you for sharing this update. Janet’s memory will certainly live on through all of her works. I did not know her, but I feel like I did. I will say that losing a sibling is NEVER easy. I lost my brother back in 1995, and it’s never been the same.