Cover image for Behind you
Behind you
Woodson, Jacqueline.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2004]

Physical Description:
118 pages ; 22 cm
After fifteen-year-old Jeremiah is mistakenly shot by police, the people who love him struggle to cope with their loss as they recall his life and death, unaware that 'Miah is watching over them.
Reading Level:
720 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.1 3.0 78840.

Reading Counts RC High School 3.9 8 Quiz: 36426 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



You are so light you move with the wind and the snow. . . . And it lifts you up-over a world of sadness and anger and fear. Over a world of first kisses and hands touching and someone you're falling in love with. She's there now. Right there. . . .Miah and Ellie were in love. Even though Miah was black and Ellie was white, they made sense together. Then Miah was killed. This was the ending.And it was the beginning of grief for the many people who loved Miah. Now his mother has stopped trying, his friends are lost and Ellie doesn't know how to move on. And there is Miah, watching all of this&150unable to let go.How do we go on after losing someone we love? This is the question the living and the dead are asking.With the help of each other, the living will come together. Miah will sit beside them. They will feel Miah in the wind, see him in the light, hear him in their music. And Miah will watch over them, until he is sure each of those he loved is all right.This beautiful sequel to Jacqueline Woodson's If You Come Softly explores the experiences of those left behind after tragedy. It is a novel in which through hope, understanding and love, healing begins.

Author Notes

Jacqueline Woodson was born in Columbus, Ohio on February 12, 1963. She received a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 1985. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a drama therapist for runaways and homeless children in New York City. Her books include The House You Pass on the Way, I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, Lena, and The Day You Begin. She won the Coretta Scott King Award in 2001 for Miracle's Boys. After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way won Newbery Honors. Brown Girl Dreaming won the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award in 2015. Her other awards include the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She was also selected as the Young People's Poet Laureate in 2015 by the Poetry Foundation.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-12. Even if you turn your back on the world you left, you're still pulled toward it, you're still turning around--always--to look behind you. To make sure everyone's o.k., says teenageeremiah, who first appeared in Woodson's If You Come Softly (1998). In this moving sequel,eremiah is dead, killed by New York City police bullets. Like the main character in Gary Soto's Afterlife (2003),eremiah watches over the people he has left behind--his girlfriend, Ellie; his friends; his divorced parents--as each struggles through grief and tries to keep doing what the living do, ultimately finding new connections with one another and themselves. Softly alternates betweeneremiah and Ellie's voices. Here Woodson includes the first-person perspectives of several other characters, and with so many different voices, the narrative becomes crowded, diluting each character's story. Still, Woodson writes with impressive poetry about race, love, death, and what grief feels like--the things that snap the heart --and her characters' open strength and wary optimism will resonate with many teens. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2004 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8-10-In this poignant, stand-alone sequel to the wrenching romance, If You Come Softly (Putnam, 1998), Woodson's characters are dealing with grief and picking up the pieces of their lives after the death of 15-year-old Jeremiah (Miah) Roselind. The impact of their loss is revealed through the alternating voices of his white girlfriend, Ellie; basketball teammate, Kennedy; childhood friend, Carlton; and his separated parents. As a year passes and these characters take "a step deeper into their world-. The world they're learning to live in without you," Miah's spiritual voice searches for a final, parting moment to whisper that they are loved so that they can move on into their own futures. With tenderness and compassion, the author exposes the characters' vulnerabilities and offers the hope that they will emerge and grow from this tragic loss. Although the voices are distinct, a quiet, reflective tone pervades the story. Interestingly, each character opens up and changes in some way except Ellie's parents, who espouse liberal views but never accepted their daughter's African-American boyfriend or his friends. Readers who savor tough reality stories as much as happy endings will appreciate this thought-provoking, satisfying novel that offers hope but no easy answers.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.