Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming9780399252518_p0_v2_s260x420Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson, Author

Nancy Paulsen Books, Memoir, Aug. 28, 2014

Winner: National Book Award, the 2015 Newbery Honor Book and the 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Award

Suitable for Ages: 10 and up

Themes:  Jacqueline Woodson, Childhood, Family relationships, Living in the north and south, Finding one’s voice, From girl to author

Pages: 366

Opening“I am born on a Tuesday at University Hospital/Columbus, Ohio./USA– a country caught/ between Black and White.”

Synopsis: Jacqueline Woodson shares what it is like to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s in both Brooklyn, NY and Greenville, SC.  The south is home for Jacqueline and her brother and sister as they spend the summers with their grandparents. Children tease Jacqueline and her siblings about their northern accents. She struggles with the subtle prejudices in the South as her  awareness of the civil rights movement grows. In Greenville there are loving grandparents, friends, and a lot of love. In Brooklyn she’s teased about being a Jehovah Witness and having to follow rules that her  friends don’t understand. And living in the shadow of her sister’s academic performance in school presents another challenge. Jacqueline has difficulty with schoolwork. It is through her poetry and storytelling that a teacher tells  her “You’re a writer.” Jacqueline’s voice begins to grow stronger with each word she pens because she wants to believe.  Readers will find Jacqueline Woodson’s journey to become an author engaging and inspiring.

Every dandelion blown

each Star light, star bright,

The first star I see tonight.

My wish is always the same.

Every fallen eyelash

and first firefly of summer…

The dream remains.

What did you wish for?

To be a writer.”

What I like about this book: Brown Girl Dreaming is a deeply personal and authentic memoir for teens struggling with race, prejudice, absent fathers, and finding their place in the world. Jacqueline Woodson’s determined and uplifting voice is eloquent. Her use of free verse compliments the theme in her memoir.  Her story is lyrical, emotional, and powerful. Each page is a clever, lively or soulful poem about a growing girl’s identity; her struggle with reading, a love of stories, and a desire to become a writer. She gives her readers hope and the sweet taste of what it’s like to follow your dreams.

Jacqueline Woodson is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the recipient of three Newberry Honors for After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers and Show Way, and a two-time finalist for the National Book Award for Locomotion and Hush.  Other awards include the Coretta Scott King Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Miracle’s Boys. Visit Jacqueline Woodson at her website.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

16 thoughts on “Brown Girl Dreaming

  1. Thanks for reviewing this book, Pat! I’ll definitely pick this book up. Jacqueline Woodson was the keynote speaker at one of the SCBWI conferences I attended and she was truly inspiring.

    • It is one of my favorite MG reads this year. You will love how brilliant her verse is. She’s an inspiration for children who struggle in school to find their passion and not give up.

  2. This is definitely my favorite middle grade read of 2014. She is such a gifted storyteller and her language is to die for. She stopped counting at draft 31 for this memoir! Each word is perfect.

  3. Oh thank you thank you for reviewing this book! I just love Jacqueline Woodson’s picture books and am thrilled to know she has a memoir too. And the above comments about how she quite counting revisions at thirty one is something for me to revele in since I am now also writing a memoir. I have also stopped counting since I have been getting edits from my teacher as I go along. But I have yet to go back from start to finish for hte second time.

    I am putting this on hold at my library right now with my computer accessing the library catalog. Thanks also to Margot Finke for alerting me to this post by you on her. Great review as always, Patricia! 🙂

    • Jacqueline had and older sister who was an excellent student, and teacher’s expected the same from her. Learning was a challenge for her, but she could certainly make up and tell a story. One teacher spotted her talent and that’s all it took for her to believe in herself and that she wouble be a writer. Now she’s one of the most celebrated children’s authors. You would enjoy her story. The verse is “perfect” as Joanna commented.

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