Brown Girl Dreaming (Paperback)
— Kate Brasch is one of our children's book buyers & top experts in children's literature.
Jacqueline Woodson was raised in the 1960s and 70s in South Carolina, and in Brooklyn, NY. Her free verse memoir captures this upbringing with nods to the Civil Rights Movement, faith, health, and schooling with a background of strong, yet complex, family love. Each poem chronicles the journey to her stories and thus her dreams, embracing her past and her people. Adults and children alike will be charmed and inspired by this beautiful book. ~Kate B.
A President Obama "O" Book Club pick
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.
Includes 7 additional poems, including "Brown Girl Dreaming."
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
A Coretta Scott King Award Winner
A Newbery Honor Book
One of TIME MAGAZINE’s 100 Best YA Books of All Time
"Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson’s highly lauded collection of free-verse poems about her childhood in New York and South Carolina, has language simple enough to be accessible to tweens and young teenagers and more than enough complexity to engage older readers. The winner of a Newbery Honor, NAACP Image Award, National Book Award and Coretta Scott King Award, Brown Girl Dreaming presents the story of Woodson’s experiences living with the remnants of Jim Crow during the 1960s and 1970s. The author confronts issues like faith, racism and sexual abuse using the elegant, spare language and powerful imagery she has come to be known for." —TIME MAGAZINE
“A radiantly warm memoir.”—The Washington Post
“Moving and resonant . . . captivating.”—The Wall Street Journal
“This is a book full of poems that cry out to be learned by heart. These are poems that will, for years to come, be stored in our bloodstream.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A profoundly moving memoir.”—San Francisco Chronicle
* “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.”— Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
* “Mesmerizing journey through [Woodson’s] early years. . . . Her perspective on the volatile era in which she grew up is thoughtfully expressed in powerfully effective verse. . . . With exquisite metaphorical verse Woodson weaves a patchwork of her life experience . . . that covers readers with a warmth and sensitivity no child should miss. This should be on every library shelf.”—School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
* “Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned. For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share.”—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
* “[Woodson’s] memoir in verse is a marvel, as it turns deeply felt remembrances of Woodson’s preadolescent life into art. . . . Her mother cautions her not to write about her family but, happily, many years later, she has and the result is both elegant and eloquent, a haunting book about memory that is itself altogether memorable."—Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
* “A memoir-in-verse so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her. . . . Most notably of all, perhaps, we trace her development as a nascent writer, from her early, overarching love of stories through her struggles to learn to read through the thrill of her first blank composition book to her realization that ‘words are [her] brilliance.’ The poetry here sings: specific, lyrical, and full of imagery. An extraordinary—indeed brilliant—portrait of a writer as a young girl.”—The Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW
* “The effect of this confiding and rhythmic memoir is cumulative, as casual references blossom into motifs and characters evolve from quick references to main players. . . . Revealing slices of life, redolent in sight, sound, and emotion. . . . Woodson subtly layers her focus, with history and geography the background, family the middle distance, and her younger self the foreground. . . . Eager readers and budding writers will particularly see themselves in the young protagonist and recognize her reveling in the luxury of the library and unfettered delight in words. . . . A story of the ongoing weaving of a family tapestry, the following of an individual thread through a gorgeous larger fabric, with the tacit implication that we’re all traversing such rich landscapes. It will make young readers consider where their own threads are taking them.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, STARRED REVIEW
* “Woodson uses clear, evocative language. . . . A beautifully crafted work.”—Library Media Connection, STARRED REVIEW