A New York Times Bestseller and National Book Award Winner
Jacqueline Woodson, the acclaimed author of Red at the Bone, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
A National Book Award Winner
A Newbery Honor Book
A Coretta Scott King Award Winner
Praise for Jacqueline Woodson:
Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story . . . but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times Book Review
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
With the force of spoken word, the mystery of poetry, and the warmth of oral storytelling, Jacqueline Woodson traces her family’s history in the North and South—and offers a child’s perspective on the civil rights movement and its everyday heroes. Winner of the National Book Award and a Newbery honor, Brown Girl Dreaming is a breathtaking story of a life “at once ordinary and amazing.” Woodson paints a vivid picture of the people, values, experiences, and memories that shaped her. By the time you reach the family photos at book’s end, Woodson’s ancestors are so real and dear to you that it’s a wonder to see their faces.
Written in verse, Woodson's collection of childhood memories provides insight into the Newbery Honor author's perspective of America, "a country caught/ between Black and White," during the turbulent 1960s. Jacqueline was born in Ohio, but spent much of her early years with her grandparents in South Carolina, where she learned about segregation and was made to follow the strict rules of Jehovah's Witnesses, her grandmother's religion. Wrapped in the cocoon of family love and appreciative of the beauty around her, Jacqueline experiences joy and the security of home. Her move to Brooklyn leads to additional freedoms, but also a sense of loss: "Who could love/ this place where/ no pine trees grow, no porch swings move/ with the weight of/ your grandmother on them." The writer's passion for stories and storytelling permeates the memoir, explicitly addressed in her early attempts to write books and implicitly conveyed through her sharp images and poignant observations seen through the eyes of a child. Woodson's ability to listen and glean meaning from what she hears lead to an astute understanding of her surroundings, friends, and family. Ages 10 up.
Joy, Heartache, and Everything in Between
There is so much to love in this collection. It paints a picture of the joys and heartaches of life, from the POV of a sweet, creative child. I feel like I highlighted half of it. I just wanted to remember and share the whole thing. I love that this is a biography in poetry. It was such a joy to read. This is definitely getting read again.
Beautiful and relatable
Absolutely adored this book! One of my new all time favorites. The format it is written in is so unique and gives the story so much more depth.
Brown Girl Dreaming
My 10 year old daughter who loves to read enjoyed this book. So far I am also enjoying it. Awesome book!