Tag Archives: Jacqueline Woodson

Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonBrown Girl Dreaming
Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books
Published August 28, 2014

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

From Goodreads
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.

My Review
After reading her novel-in-verse Locomotion, I knew I had to read Brown Girl Dreaming. I loved the descriptions of character and emotions in each poem. It’s easy to feel the family connections and the love of places, especially her grandmother’s home in South Carolina.

It’s funny—I think there’s this idea that reading and writing always come easily to people who grow up to be writers. Sometimes that’s really not the case. As a little girl, Jacqueline’s relationship with story far exceeds her ability to read or write, something that I think gives a lot of hope to young readers who struggle. There’s a strong element of courage that runs through the whole story. I loved feeling the connections between family members and the strength each one carried and how those relationships affected Jacqueline in her life and her quest to understand her place in the world.

Brown Girl Dreaming would be a great pick for a child struggling with reading, both because of the way it’s told and the struggle in the story itself. It’s also a great place to begin introducing the Civil Rights movement to younger readers.

Recommended for Ages 8 up.

Cultural Elements
Jacqueline Woodson writes about growing up as a young African American girl in South Carolina and later in Brooklyn in the 1960s.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Jacqueline’s grandmother brings her and her siblings to services to learn about being a Jehova’s Witness. They attend classes and go door to door to spread their faith.

Violent Content
She learns about a woman who fell down stairs and died.

Drug Content
Her grandfather smokes cigarettes.

Top Ten Authors on my Auto-Buy List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme asks participants to list the authors we keep on auto-buy. As soon as we know there’s a new book coming out, we’re already planning when we’ll read it and requesting the galley or placing a pre-order.

Finding favorite books is always a treat, but finding an author who never fails to disappoint is a whole other kind of fun. When a new release hits shelves by these authors, I know I’m going to buy it. Here are my top ten auto-buy authors followed by snippets of some of their book covers. Enjoy!

(These are listed in no particular order.)

1. Markus Zusak

2. Jonathan Friesen

3. Stephanie Morrill

4. Laura L. Smith

5. Marissa Meyer

6. Leah Cypess

7. Jenny B. Jones

8. Lemony Snicket

9. Jacqueline Woodson

10. Jennifer Donnelly

How about you?

Do you have a list of authors whose books you automatically buy? Which authors would make your top ten list?

A Brilliant Novel In Poetry: Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson
Speak, Penguin Group

Lonnie Collins Motion learns to pour out memories and feelings in a poetry journal. He writes about the night his parents died. About his little sister, Lili. About his foster mom. About the teacher he admires who doesn’t understand what his life is really like. His story unfolds, poem by poem, packed with emotion and insight.

One of the most powerful things about a novel-in-poetry is the power of each line. The narrative has been distilled down to just a few words, yet it’s enough to paint a complete picture of what Lonnie sees and experiences. There are simply not enough stories like this one, both in its approach to storytelling and in the story itself. Lonnie is easy to love – his desire to protect and stay in touch with his younger sister is moving, and it’s easy to sense his longing for young men he can look up to. This would make a great addition to classroom study or a great independent read for late elementary-aged children. I highly recommend it.

Language Content
No profanity.

Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Lonnie’s little sister asks him if he has “found God yet?” He responds, saying he wasn’t looking for Him. But for her sake, so her foster family will like him more and allow him more time with her, he begins going to some church events and trying to read the Bible.

Lonnie’s parents were killed in a fire long before his story begins. He remembers their deaths, but no gory details are related.

Drug Content