Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming 
by Jacqueline Woodson
August 28, 2014
337 pages
Genre: Autobiography in Free Verse

National Book Award Winner

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.

I really loved this memoir in free verse. Jacqueline Woodson is somehow able to convey so much about her early childhood in so few words. Poetry is not normally my thing, but I loved the way she used poetic verse to not only explore her early years and early memories, but also tie them in to the Civil Rights movement, but from a child's perspective. Though I am a little younger than Woodson, I was able to relate to so much of what she said. And the things I could not personally relate to, I could easily picture in my mind. Really well done!

I read this with a small group of high school students who all enjoyed it. I plan on using it with my middle school students next year. It's a fast read, and I would recommend it to adult and child alike.

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