Brown Girl Dreaming (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Brown Girl Dreaming, which recently received the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, is Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir about her childhood.   Born in Ohio and raised by a single mother in South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York, Woodson describes her life as a black American during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.  She writes of her early childhood with her grandparents in the Jim Crow South:  “We can’t go to downtown Greenville without/ seeing the teenagers walking into stores, sitting/ where brown people still aren’t allowed to sit/ and getting carried out, their bodies limp,/ their faces calm. ”  She writes about her uncle’s imprisonment, her little brother’s lead poisoning from the peeling paint in their Brooklyn apartment, her grandfather’s death, and the emerging civil rights movement: “On the TV screen a woman / named Angela Davis is telling us/ there’s a revolution going on and that it’s time/ for Black people to defend themselves.” And finally, she writes about her unshakeable dream of becoming a writer:  “I am thinking if I can hold on to the memory of this song; get home and write it down, then it will happen,/ I’ll be a writer.  I’ll be able to hold on to/ each moment, each memory/everything.”  This is a beautiful book that reminds us of our past  and holds out promise for a better future.  Ages 10+.  

— From Staff Reviews


A New York Times Bestseller and National Book Award Winner

Jacqueline Woodson, the acclaimed author of
Another Brooklyn, 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.

A National Book Award Winner
A Newbery Honor Book

A Coretta Scott King Award Winner

Praise for Jacqueline Woodson:
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

About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson ( is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. She received the 2018 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and she is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DREAMING, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Her recent adult book, Another Brooklyn, was a National Book Award finalist. Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her books include THE OTHER SIDE, EACH KINDNESS, Caldecott Honor Book COMING ON HOME SOON; Newbery Honor winners FEATHERS, SHOW WAY, and AFTER TUPAC AND D FOSTER, and MIRACLE'S BOYS--which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award and was adapted into a miniseries directed by Spike Lee. Jacqueline is also the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature, the winner of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and was the 2013 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780399252518
ISBN-10: 0399252517
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication Date: August 28th, 2014
Pages: 352
Language: English