As a children’s librarian, I constantly am reading children’s books. Usually, these are quick picture books, but I am trying to read more early, young, and middle grade readers. I recently read the middle grade biography, Brown Girl Dreaming. This book is written in poetic prose and is absolutely amazing. Children and adults alike will love it.
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The summary, from Amazon:
Jacqueline Woodson’s National Book Award and Newbery Honor winner, now available in paperback with 7 all-new poems.
Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
A President Obama “O” Book Club pick
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.
Includes 7 new poems, including “Brown Girl Dreaming”.
Praise for Jacqueline Woodson:
A 2016 National Book Award finalist for her adult novel, ANOTHER BROOKLYN
“Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story . . . but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times Book Review
Buy Brown Girl Dreaming here!
Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir/autobiography written by author Jacqueline Woodson. I didn’t realize it before picking up this book, but she has written a number of “grown-up” novels on my TBR. I only chose this book because children always ask me for it and I was in the mood for poetry. I knew nothing about the author.
In a poetic, prose-like style, Woodson tells the story of her childhood, which was very interesting. She was born in Chicago in 1963, then lived in the South during the Civil Rights era. Finally, her family moved to Brooklyn. She spent her summers in the South and her school year in NYC. Jacqueline delves into a child’s view of the Civil Rights movement, her experiences living in the South and Brooklyn, and the death of her aunt and grandfather, who was like a father to her. She also talks about her burgeoning interest in writing.
I am from a very different background and time than Miss Woodson, but I still felt like I had so much in common with her while reading this. I could feel every emotion Jacqueline felt. This was a truly spell-binding book, with simple poems written on a level that middle grade students can comprehend, but adults will also enjoy. It was a very good book that I know I would have enjoyed just as much at age eleven as I did at age twenty-nine. All in all – 5 stars.
I also want to talk about what to do when you read a book like this with a child. Brown Girl Dreaming won many awards which, depending on the edition you have, are celebrated on the cover. Whenever I read a book to a child without pointing the award on the cover out, I am told, “Hey! This book has a medal on the front!” Make sure to point out the awards and explain that books with medals on the cover are important and celebrated!
A lovely read for children and adults alike. My favorite poems were:
how to listen #2
as a child, i smelled the air
how to listen #3
how to listen #4
stevie and me
every wish, one dream
what i believe
P.S. If you have a child in your life, might I suggest Owl Post Books? This bookish subscription box is geared specifically towards the kiddos.
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