Cover image for Brown girl dreaming
Title:
Brown girl dreaming
Author:
Woodson, Jacqueline, author.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), [2014]
Physical Description:
336 pages : illustrations, portraits, genealogical tables ; 22 cm
Summary:
"The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South"--
Language:
English
Reading Level:
Middle School.

990 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 5.0 168140.
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780399252518

9780147515827
Format :
Book

Available:*

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On Order

Summary

Summary

National Book Award Winner

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, 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.

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


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 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* What is this book about? In an appended author's note, Woodson says it best: my past, my people, my memories, my story. The resulting memoir in verse is a marvel, as it turns deeply felt remembrances of Woodson's preadolescent life into art, through memories of her homes in Ohio, South Carolina, and, finally, New York City, and of her friends and family. Small things ice cream from the candy store, her grandfather's garden, fireflies in jelly jars become large as she recalls them and translates them into words. She gives context to her life as she writes about racial discrimination, the civil rights movement, and, later, Black Power. But her focus is always on her family. Her earliest years are spent in Ohio, but after her parents separate, her mother moves her children to South Carolina to live with Woodson's beloved grandparents, and then to New York City, a place, Woodson recalls, of gray rock, cold and treeless as a bad dream. But in time it, too, becomes home; she makes a best friend, Maria, and begins to dream of becoming a writer when she gets her first composition notebook and then discovers she has a talent for telling stories. 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.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Free verse is an effective writing style for describing dreams. Woodson's text is particularly compelling when detailing the small moments of life, such as the "Saturday night smells of biscuits and burning hair" or bemoaning the "hair ribbons that anchor (her) to childhood." And while poetry is sometimes difficult to follow on audio, this author is a masterful narrator. The sounds of the words and the rhythm expressed by her thoughtful intonation, careful pacing, and deliberate emphasis make clear the poetic form: "a country caught" (sharp c's and t, pause) "between black and white." Themes include the iconic search for identity in changing times: for example, Woodson's Southern cousins say she speaks too quickly, while in New York, "coming back home isn't really coming back home at all." Yet throughout her interestingly complicated childhood, young Jackie tells stories until she grows to understand that "stories are like air to me and I know now that words are.my brilliance." A personal memoir and a child's eye view of the nascent civil rights movement, this work confirms Woodson's brilliance as a writer for children and for adults, too.-Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

February 12th 1963 I am born on a Tuesday at the University Hospital Columbus, Ohio USA-- a country caught between Black and White. I am born not long from the time or far from the place where my great, great grandparents worked the deep rich land unfree dawn till dusk unpaid drank cool water from scooped out gourds looked up and followed the sky's mirrored constellation to freedom. I am born as the south explodes, too many people too many years enslaved then emancipated but not free, the people who look like me keep fighting and marching and getting killed so that today-- February Twelfth Nineteen Sixty-three and every day from this moment on, brown children, like me, can grow up free. Can grow up learning and voting and walking and riding wherever we want. I am born in Ohio but the stories of South Carolina already run like rivers through my veins. Excerpted from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.