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Shannon Gibney Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

See No Color (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dream Country (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

A Good Time for the Truth(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
What God Is Honored Here?(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
When We Become Ours(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Shannon Gibney
Author Shannon Gibney was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the year 1975. She is an activist, writer, and educator. About five months later, she was adopted by Sue and Jim Gibney, and grew up with Ben and Jon, her two (biological) brothers.

The through-line in all of her work is tales that might have gone untold previously. At times, these are perspectives that have been kept hidden because the speakers have had no outlet for their tales. Other times, the tales carry fear and darkness that most prefer to look away from.

Shannon is a professor of English at Minneapolis College. Here she has worked with ex-offenders, refugees, in-country and international immigrants, indigenous and communities of color, and students from all backgrounds in order to tell their stories and achieve their professional and academic goals.

What she likes about writing is it stays around, especially after all the work that gets put into all of it. Hopefully, if it’s very good, it will last for even longer.

Since she was a child, she was drawn to reading longer stories. She read novels voraciously when she was a child and as an adult. Shannon believes that you tend to write what you kind of want to insert yourself into. What she writes, as a result, are novels and long-form memoir.

What she always wanted to find, at that time, were stories that tackled the intersection of both adoption and race. She didn’t see much being written about mixed race identity, especially in books that teens read. She particularly didn’t see any transracial adoption being handled in any kind of complex and nuanced way that felt real to her as a younger person that was going through this experience. These sorts of stories just weren’t there for her during this time, and it left her feeling like she was kind of a freak. Like the oddest person in the universe for a time.

Reading writers like Maxine Hong Kingston, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, and Richard Wright during her teen years helped her process this intense sense of isolation that a lot of transracial adoptees feel, and identify it as being a part of a specific experience of communities of color and the other marginalized communities in the country, and part of being human. Shannon finds that it would have been nice to see herself, even only once, in the imaginative world around her.

“See No Color” was one of Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of the Year, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year. It also won the Minnesota Book Award. “Dream Country” won the Nerdy Book Club Award, and won a Kirkus Best YA Historical Fiction of 2018. It was also a New York Public Library Best Book of 2018.

Shannon’s debut novel, called “See No Color”, was released in the year 2015. Her work is from the young adult fiction genre.

“See No Color” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2015. For as long as Alex Kitridge, age sixteen, can remember has known two things about herself: she is adopted and she is an outstanding baseball player.

Alex has had a comfortable childhood in Madison, Wisconsin. Despite a bit of teasing, being a biracial girl in a wealthy white family has not been too big a deal. What mattered was that she was a big star on the diamond. It was here that her dad, an ex-Major Leaguer, coached her tough and counted on her to make him proud. Things are changing, however, when she meets Reggie, the first black dude that has wanted to get to know her, and her changing body affects how she plays.

All of a sudden, she starts questioning who she truly is. She has always dreamed of playing pro baseball like her dad, but can she really? Does she actually fit in with this white family of hers? Who were her real parents? What does it actually mean to be black? If she is ever going to find answers, Alex must come to terms with her race, her adoption, and the dreams she believed would guide her always.

The novel grapples with many of the realities, complexities, and nuances of being a transracially adopted black person and what they face daily. Alex is a very relatable young character to any kid, she is a very well-written character, and readers loved her personality.

“Dream Country” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2018. The tale of five generations of young people from one African-and-American family chasing an elusive dream of freedom.

The novel opens in suburban Minneapolis when Kollie Flomo, age seventeen, starts cracking under the strain of being a Liberian refugee. He is exhausted by being both not black enough and too black for his African-American peers and is worn down by the expectations of his own Liberian community and family. His frustration finally turns to violence and his parents send him off to Monrovia to reform school, the story shifts.

Back to Liberia, early in the twentieth century and Togar Somah, an eighteen year old indigenous Liberian, that is on the run from government militias that would make him work the Congo people’s plantations. They are the descendants of the African American slaves that colonized Liberia close to a hundred years before.

Togar’s section comes to a stunning close, and the novel moves again, back to America in the year 1827, to the kids of Yasmine Wright, who leave a plantation in Virginia with their mom for Liberia. Here, they are promised freedom and an opportunity at self-determination by the American Colonization Society. The Wrights start out their section fleeing the whip. By its close, are the ones wielding it. Each new section uncovers fresh hope and some resonating heartbreak. All of it based on historical fact.

This is the beautiful journey of a single family, woven through a tapestry of multiple generations. Shannon does a great job of showing the common threads of each generation of things like identity, dreams, and the hope.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Shannon Gibney

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