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Brown Girl Dreaming
Cover of Brown Girl Dreaming
Brown Girl Dreaming
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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...
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...
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  • 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 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
 

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Excerpts-

  • From the cover february 12, 1963

    I am born on a Tuesday at the University Hospital
    Columbus, Ohio
    USA—
    a country caught

    between Black and White.

    I am born not long from the time
    or far from the place
    where
    my great, great grandparents
    worked the deep rich land
    unfree
    dawn till dusk
    unpaid
    drank cool water from scooped out gourds
    looked up and followed
    the sky's mirrored constellation
    to freedom.

    I am born as the south explodes,
    too many people too many years
    enslaved then emancipated
    but not free, the people
    who look like me
    keep fighting
    and marching
    and getting killed
    so that today—
    February 12, 1963
    and every day from this moment on,
    brown children, like me, can grow up
    free. Can grow up
    learning and voting and walking and riding
    wherever we want.

    I am born in Ohio but
    the stories of South Carolina already run
    like rivers
    through my veins.



    second daughter's second day on earth

    My birth certificate says: Female Negro
    Mother: Mary Anne Irby, 22, Negro
    Father: Jack Austin Woodson, 25, Negro

    In Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr.
    is planning a march on Washington, where
    John F. Kennedy is president.
    In Harlem, Malcolm X is standing on a soapbox
    talking about a revolution.

    Outside the window of University Hospital,
    snow is slowly falling. So much already
    covers this vast Ohio ground.

    In Montgomery, only seven years have passed
    since Rosa Parks refused
    to give up
    her seat on a city bus.

    I am born brown-skinned, black-haired
    and wide-eyed.
    I am born Negro here and Colored there

    and somewhere else,
    the Freedom Singers have linked arms,
    their protests rising into song:
    Deep in my heart, I do believe
    that we shall overcome someday.

    and somewhere else, James Baldwin
    is writing about injustice, each novel,
    each essay, changing the world.

    I do not yet know who I'll be
    what I'll say
    how I'll say it . . .

    Not even three years have passed since a brown girl
    named Ruby Bridges
    walked into an all-white school.
    Armed guards surrounded her while hundreds
    of white people spat and called her names.

    She was six years old.

    I do not know if I'll be strong like Ruby.
    I do not know what the world will look like
    when I am finally able to walk, speak, write . . .
    Another Buckeye!
    the nurse says to my mother.
    Already, I am being named for this place.
    Ohio. The Buckeye State.
    My fingers curl into fists, automatically
    This is the way, my mother said,
    of every baby's hand.
    I do not know if these hands will become
    Malcolm's—raised and fisted
    or Martin's—open and asking
    or James's—curled around a pen.
    I do not know if these hands will be
    Rosa's
    or Ruby's
    gently gloved
    and fiercely folded
    calmly in a lap,
    on a desk,
    around a book,
    ready
    to change the world . . .



    it'll be scary sometimes

    My great-great-grandfather on my father's side
    was born free in Ohio,

    1832.

    Built his home and farmed his land,
    then dug for coal when the farming
    wasn't enough. Fought hard
    in the war. His name in stone now
    on the Civil War...

About the Author-

  • Jacqueline Woodson 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 and the NAACP Image Award, and was named a Newbery Honor Book and a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. Woodson was recently named the Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. 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 three-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 26, 2014
    Written in verse, Woodson’s collection of childhood memories provides insight into the Newbery Honor author’s perspective of America, “a country caught/ between Black and White,” during the turbulent 1960s. Jacqueline was born in Ohio, but spent much of her early years with her grandparents in South Carolina, where she learned about segregation and was made to follow the strict rules of Jehovah’s Witnesses, her grandmother’s religion. Wrapped in the cocoon of family love and appreciative of the beauty around her, Jacqueline experiences joy and the security of home. Her move to Brooklyn leads to additional freedoms, but also a sense of loss: “Who could love/ this place—where/ no pine trees grow, no porch swings move/ with the weight of/ your grandmother on them.” The writer’s passion for stories and storytelling permeates the memoir, explicitly addressed in her early attempts to write books and implicitly conveyed through her sharp images and poignant observations seen through the eyes of a child. Woodson’s ability to listen and glean meaning from what she hears lead to an astute understanding of her surroundings, friends, and family. Ages 10–up. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency.

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