Jacqueline Woodson’s latest novel, BROWN GIRL DREAMING, released this week and it has already received 6 starred reviews and lots of high acclaim from reviewers, educators, and anyone lucky enough to have gotten an advance copy. Luckily you don’t have to wait any longer to listen to Jacqueline’s beautifully narrated, outstanding coming-of-age memoir.
BROWN GIRL DREAMING is the moving story of Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood told in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Jacqueline 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.Jacqueline Woodson weaves a wonderful story that is moving, humorous, and full of history. She tackles racism, her experience with segregation, the loss of a loved one, feelings of being an outsider, the joys of friendship, and most of all, family dynamics.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to Jacqueline Woodson speak at School Library Journal‘s Day of Dialogue. It was interesting to hear her talk about how while writing this memoir she spent time discussing her memories of growing up with her family, and learned that she had misremembered some things from her childhood. I also learned that she decided to write this novel in verse since she felt it was the best way to depict memories since she felt they come in flashes of specific events, phrases, and small moments. Most of all, I enjoyed listening to Jacqueline Woodson read a section from the book.
BROWN GIRL DREAMING has received an AudioFile Earphones Award and 6 starred reviews!
“[Woodson’s] voice is wistful and dreamy as she savors rich sensory memories…She gives poignant last lines graceful emphases…Her narration is a testament to the emotional power of words and how, even as a child, she knew she possessed that power.”–AudioFile Earphones Award winner
“Woodson’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.”—Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
“A marvel…both elegant and eloquent, a haunting book about memory that is itself altogether memorable.”—Booklist, starred review
“Woodson’s lyricism, resonance, and vibrant portraiture… make the book all her own; it’s 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.”—BCCB, starred review
“A memoir-in-verse so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her…The poetry here sings: specific, lyrical, and full of imagery. An extraordinary—indeed brilliant—portrait of a writer as a young girl.”—Horn Book, starred review
“With exquisite metaphorical verse Woodson weaves a patchwork of her life experience, from her supportive, loving maternal grandparents, her mother’s insistence on good grammar, to the lifetime friend she meets in New York, 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, starred review