Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

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“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.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads


Brown Girl Dreaming is an autobiography, so I won’t be “reviewing” it, rather I just wanted to share some thoughts I had while reading.

It is written in verse, and I loved the last two books I read that were written in this style: Other Words for Home and The Poet X. I’m glad I was familiar with this style of storytelling before going into this book.

Brown Girl Dreaming is divided into five parts, and each chapter, or poem, is short, two pages at the most. They tell the stories of Woodson’s life starting from early childhood until early adolescence. I found myself reading each vignette a second time, more often than not, because the scene being depicted was done so perfectly, whether it was the nights in Greenville, South Carolina or the schools days in New York where she discovered her love for writing and reading. The writing in this collection is just superb, making for a beautiful reading experience.

I’m so glad that I finally had the chance to read this book. Although it’s categorized as children’s, I found it to be very moving and emotional, and would recommend it to readers of any age.

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