I used to be really into novels in verse (stories told through numerous short poems), but I haven’t read one in a while. I’m so glad Brown Girl Dreaming reminded me of the art form. It’s a great way to condense a long story (in this case, Woodson’s childhood) into bite-sized emotional pieces.
Woodson does a wonderful job of conveying her experiences both through the micro lens of her family as well as the macro lens of the changing racial cultures around her. We get to see what it was like for a black girl to grow up in the North and the South during the Civil Rights generally, and we get to see her family support and tragedy specifically.
I loved this book. Because of its format, it’s a quick read. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking, just like life.
In vivid free verse, award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson shares what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s in both the North and the South. Raised in South Carolina and later in Brooklyn, New York, Woodson often felt halfway home in each place, and describes the reality of living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement. In the South, kids teased her and her siblings for her northern way of talking, and in Brooklyn, being a Jehovah’s Witness meant following rules their friends didn’t understand. But through all their journeying, there was always one constant–a deep family love and pride that made each Woodson stand up a little taller and shine a little brighter.
Woodson’s eloquent poetry also describes the joy of finding her voice through writing–something she always loved to do, despite the fact that she struggled in school. Readers will delight in witnessing her growing love of stories–and her funny, touching experiments with storytelling–as she exhibits the first sparks of the writer she was to become.
Poignant and powerful, each poem in Brown Girl Dreaming is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world.
Release Date: August 2014