Jacqueline Woodson, the acclaimed author of Another Brooklyn , 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. Read more...
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Jacqueline Woodson, the acclaimed author of Another Brooklyn, 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
- ISBN-13: 9780399252518
- ISBN-10: 0399252517
- Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
- Publish Date: August 2014
- Page Count: 352
- Reading Level: Ages 10-UP
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography - Literary
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography - Women
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > People & Places - United States - African-American
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-05-26
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)
Memories held close
BookPage Children's Top Pick, September 2014
Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963, in a “country caught between Black and White.” John F. Kennedy was president, Martin Luther King Jr. was planning the March on Washington, and Malcolm X talked of revolution. But, like her picture book Show Way (2005), Woodson’s new memoir-in-verse, Brown Girl Dreaming, is of the ages—an African-American family’s story traced across the generations to Thomas Jefferson Woodson, perhaps the first son of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, and William J. Woodson, who fought for the Union in the Civil War. Her story is “history coming down through time,” narrated as if she is standing right next to us, pointing out family pictures on the wall of her childhood home.
Woodson’s father always said that “there’s never gonna be a Woodson that sits in the back of the bus,” but her mother yearned to move home to Greenville, South Carolina. In beautifully drawn family and community scenes, Woodson shows the warmth of life in the South, even while she learns to sit in the back of the bus, to step off the curb for white people, and not to look white people in the eye. When they move again, Woodson feels a sense of loss and sees New York City as “treeless as a bad dream. Who could love / this place—where / no pine trees grow, no porch swings move / with the weight of / your grandmother on them.” Readers may well find this one of the best books they have ever read, rich with a sense of time and place and glowing with the author’s passion for words.