Title: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Recommended for: 4th Grade and Up
Call Number/Link: JB Woodson, J
Synopsis: 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 has won awards left and right and it’s easy to see why. Verse is done excellently and moves you seamlessly from one point to another. At times, I would have loved to have more details, but verse is rarely about the details. It’s about hitting the point and moving on. And of course, it’s not easy to write about your own childhood when so much is vague memories/told to you by others. It is easy to relate to Woodson’s struggles, no matter who you are; from struggling to read to losing the spot as the “baby” to finding freedom in words/stories. While this one is great for 4th grade and up, I do think middle schoolers will like it most.
How to Sell it/Quick Spiel: Quick, well written verse memoir for those looking to read about an author. Not sure it would work for a report on Woodson, although there’s plenty of info there, but would be excellent for when they’re covering non-fiction genres.