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“In Born Bright, I wanted to tell a different story about growing up in America and to humanize the issue of poverty. I also wanted to include the voices and experiences of the people I cared most deeply about, my family and communities.

I want readers and experts who work on issues related to economic security on a daily basis to really understand the sacrifices, challenges and hard choices low-income families make in order to survive.  Born Bright is truly an insider’s story.

Praise for Born Bright

“A thoughtful, well-crafted rejoinder to Claude Brown’s half-century-old Manchild in the Promised Land, speaking to the power of hope and the institutional changes needed to make hope possible.” Kirkus Reviews

“This firsthand account of a passage out of poverty will inspire readers interested in the strength of the human spirit in overcoming formidable obstacles.” Library Journal

“[A] raw and intimate memoir…Mason vividly illustrates the grit, determination, and “herculean effort” necessary to reframe a young life steeped in unyielding poverty.” Publisher’s Weekly

“Heartfelt, evocative and deeply moving. Mason’s writing recalls the work of James Baldwin, Bell Hooks and Maya Angelou, masterfully weaving poetic portraits from a difficult childhood into a call for action to see a more just society. This is a conversation that could not be more relevant for our time. Read this book and see America differently.” ―Liz Murray, author of the bestseller Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey From Homeless to Harvard

Born Bright compels us to look into the face of poverty and to do all we can as a nation to change it. Filled with the grit of real life, it is a gripping and eloquent account of Dr. Mason’s personal journey. It will redefine everything you thought you knew about what it means to be poor in America.” ―Wes Moore, Founder and CEO of BridgeEdU

“An illuminating memoir…Born Bright reveals the brutal weight of concentrated, persistent, and racialized poverty on Black girls, Black families, and their communities. ” ―Angela Glover Blackwell, President and CEO, PolicyLink

“A powerful anecdote to dominant societal narratives that say the poor would succeed if only they were more ambitious or hardworking. As much as any author I’ve ever read, Dr. Mason shows us that there are millions of poor children who are “born bright.” However, without opportunity or support, many of them will continue to fall through the cracks. Anyone who is working to build a more equitable society should keep Dr. Mason’s message in mind, every day.” ―Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director, National Head Start Association

“C. Nicole Mason has given us a gift in this memoir that explains so much about how systems and rules work against the lives of actual Black girls and their families. An inspiring, instructive addition to anti-racist and feminist literature.” ―Rinku Sen, Executive Director, Race Forward

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