Monday, December 29, 2014

Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming I'm embarrassed to admit that Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming wasn't on my radar until the National Book Awards--but having read it, I think it fully deserves the recognition and wish I'd heard about it earlier.

In lovely, accessible free verse, Woodson recounts a childhood in three places: Ohio, South Carolina, and New York. She paints a vivid, moving picture of each place and the friends and family that made up her life. The story is engaging on so many levels: Woodson's struggles with literacy (and school in general) and her passionate fascination with words. The emerging civil rights movement and how it affected her and her family. A glimpse into her life as a Jehovah's Witness, which complicates in interesting ways our cultural assumptions about what it means to grow up black in the South.

The book was a relatively quick read, but so compelling: I rooted for the young Jackie and I think her story is an important one, both for the personal relationships it explores and for what it adds to the national dialogues about Civil Rights era history.


  1. Is free verse a new trend? I've been noticing several books using it the last couple of years.

  2. I love Jacqueline Woodson! All of her books are lyrical and thought-provoking. Even though this one is different than her others (memoir instead of fiction), it's just as compelling. Glad you enjoyed it.