Title: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woods
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Release Date: August 2014
Length: 337 pages
Genre: Historical, Memoir
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 read this book last summer with my 7th grade summer school students. Very few were black, but I had one who was. One who was always in trouble and starting stuff up with other kids. One who could clearly see the parallels of the 1960s and today. This book riveted and resounded with him.
Written in free verse, which is usually not my cup of tea, each chapter represented different snapshots in time of Woodson’s childhood, set right in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement.
Jacqueline writes a clear story that depicts her struggle of being northern and southern and how those two worlds were different. She splits her childhood between Ohio, South Carolina, and New York.
The focus throughout is really on her family and friends, and how life changes. It is a powerful read.