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.
This book is so unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s a new favorite that I keep pushing on my family. Brown Girl Dreaming is Woodson’s memoir of her childhood, written in verse. As in poetry. Poetry!
Now, I used to read a lot of poetry back in the day, but sadly I haven’t read it regularly in a really long time. I thought this book might go slow or be confusing since it was all in poems. But it was the opposite. It goes so quickly, almost too quickly. I was constantly forcing myself to slow down, to savour the journey. The images the writing evokes are strong-at times beautiful, other times ugly.
I wanted nothing more than to go to Woodson’s grandparents’ house in South Carolina where she spent parts of her childhood. Meanwhile her descriptions of NYC had me longing for another trip into the city.
Woodson describes through beautiful yet simple poems how she first fell in love with storytelling, and then the written word. She writes of the good memories and the bad. And every line is to be savored.
Pick this one up today.
Title: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Date of Publication: 2014
Genre: Fiction, middle grade
Source: Personal Copy