Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming

Book - 2014
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The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South.
Publisher: New York, NY : Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), [2014]
ISBN: 9780399252518
Branch Call Number: B W8683B
Characteristics: 336 pages : illustrations, genealogical tables ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

A nonfiction book for elementary aged children is…Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson! In this poetic middle-grade memoir, Jacqueline Woodson reflects on growing up, both in the north and the south, and the moments of her childhood that led her to pursue a career writing. This book won nume... Read More »

Loved reading Woodson's story in the context of her gift of storytelling through poetry. Even thought her family life was a big disjointed in her childhood, there were people around her who loved and valued her. That is a gift!

Loved reading Woodson's story in the context of her gift of storytelling through poetry. Even thought her family life was a big disjointed in her childhood, there were people around her who loved and valued her. That is a gift! My favorite selection was the one about music and her mother's aversi... Read More »

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JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Oct 21, 2020

A gorgeous verse memoir. So looking forward to Ms. Woodson's visit to Jackson County in the new year. I so want to ask her what it's like to receive a MacArthur Genius Grant after growing up feeling like her sister was the family genius!

Aug 16, 2020

Age 10+

JCLHebahA Jul 31, 2020

I can see why this is such a book club favorite--it's a beautiful verse memoir of her early life against the backdrop of massive social changes. Highly recommended in audio, read by Woodson herself.

Jul 29, 2020

Brown Girl Dreaming Review
Age: 12-16

Jacqueline was born in Ohio in the USA a country caught between racial discrimination of black and white. Her father wanted to name her Jack, but her mother named her Jacqueline. Jacqueline’s family is one of the few black people in the town. Jacqueline’s family had different memories of her birth. Her grandmother says that Jacqueline was born in the morning, her mother says that Jacquelinewas born in the afternoon, and her father says that she was born near night. When Jacqueline first came home her older brother took one look inside the pink basket and said take her back we already have one of those. Jacqueline’s mother and father fight a lot, and Jacqueline’s mother flees to South Carolina with Jacqueline, Odella(older sister), and Hope(older brother). Jacqueline’s dad begs for another try. However, after a second try the couple fights again and Jacqueline’s mother leaves for good with the children. How will life be in Jacqueline’s new home? What is the cause of their fighting? Read the book to find out.

I liked this book because it really touched my heart and was a beautiful story. It was also sad to see how mistreated African-Americans were treated. This book is based on the life of the author. The author uses poems to write the book. If you like a sad yet interesting story then you will love this book.

JCLSarahZ Apr 09, 2020

Thought provoking and beautifully written coming of age memoir. Written in verse.

ArapahoeTina Mar 31, 2020

What a unique memoir that's great for adults as well as kids and teens! Woodson's voice is not overly flowery or any other negative association one might have with poetry. If you're curious about what a memoir in verse can be, go on and give this a try. You won't be disappointed!

May 26, 2019

I was primarily interested in her idea of writing a memoir in free verse. Wondering how well would that work in practice.

I concluded--very well indeed.

Her « versifying » stayed close to the narrative story... for continuity’s sake... and yet it also gave her the freedom to make some very complex points... succinctly.

Her person life story was of substantive interest to me, too. And the whole of the book, therefore, a delightful experienc.

JCLMeganK May 09, 2019

Brown Girl Dreaming is such a beautifully written book. Through this story I was able to understand Jacqueline's life, as well as perspectives on what it was like for black Americans living in the south during the Civil Rights Movement. I found myself wanting to read a similar book from the perspectives of Jacqueline's family members- especially her grandfather, siblings and mother. This is the first book I have read by Woodson, and I was blown away. Somehow she brought together humor, beauty, emotion, education, and wonder into this book written in verse. I highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone that is interested in not only children's literature, but anyone that is looking for an easy read involving a perspective different from their own.

May 02, 2019

In this children's book, author Jacqueline Woodson has written a delicate, touching autobiographical collection of poetry. Though they together document her childhood years as an African American child living both in South Carolina with her grandparents and in New York with her mother, each short poem also stands comfortably alone.

This was my first work by Woodson, and though I'm generally a hard sell for poetry, this was excellent and has piqued my interest in sampling more of her writing.

Feb 19, 2019

Memoir of growing up in 1960s and 1970s in South Carolina and Brooklyn. Enchanting. Her birthday is February 12, 1963, the day I started reading. Although I’m years older, my own writing dreams and similar memories of those years made me give this high marks. Loved reading her book 'Another Brooklyn,' too.

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OPL_KrisC Dec 17, 2019

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Feb 28, 2019

orange_cat_2945 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

blue_dog_1998 Jul 25, 2017

blue_dog_1998 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 99

Jul 09, 2016

JanPruatt thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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blue_dog_1998 Jul 25, 2017

From the summer reading book list, I decided to read the book titled, " Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jaqueline Woodson. This book was a bout Jaqueline Woodson's life and all the challenges she overcame. One of the main reasons I chose to read this book was because during the school year my library teacher took us to the central library near prospect park to meet the author of this book, Jacqueline Woodson. Ms. Woodson explained how the book, and many of her other books, was structured and what they were about. She also explained what inspired her to write specific sections of this book. While reading this book I witnessed many of the things which Jaqueline had talked about in her speech. One thing that caught my attention in her speech and the book was the structure of the book. This book was made up of many short stories and poem, put together as 'chapters', to show a specific memory in her life. My library teacher explained to us that Jaqueline Woodson said that she created her book in this format because it shows that you don't remember every detail about your past. You can only remember certain moments that stood out. Hearing this reminded me of how much work goes into writing a book. Final thoughts? Well I really liked the different techniques Ms. Woodson use, such as foreshadowing. one example of this is that she had said her grandfather was constantly coughing and out of breath, foreshadowing that he was sick and would soon die. the book was so well written that I felt as sad as Jaqueline did when her grandfather passed away. I rate it a five out of five!

Jul 09, 2016

This book is written in free verse. I listened to it on CD and heard the poetry of Woodson’s words. This book is also on the list of The Best 75 Books in the Last 75 Years. Quite an accomplishment! And I agree that it belongs on this list. I was enchanted by Woodson’s memoir about growing up in South Carolina, Ohio, and New York during the Civil Rights Movement. Woodson is also a winner of many awards – The Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the recipient of three Newbery Honors for After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way, and a two-time finalist for the National Book Award for Locomotion and Hush. Other awards include the Coretta Scott King Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Miracle’s Boys. In 2014, she was short-listed for the Hans Christian Anderson Award for her lasting contributions to children’s literature.

I want to read more by this enriching author.

Jun 17, 2016

"Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson, is a gorgeous memoir written in poetic voice. This book has won nearly every literary award out there, and for good reason. It's mesmerizing. A fluid read, Woodson shares her story of growing up black in the South and NYC during the era of MLK. A book of such beautiful insight, I'm thinking about purchasing a copy for our home library.


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Jul 09, 2016

The sisters in the Kingdom Hall get six minutes to be on stage, in pairs or threes, but never alone. We have to write skits where we are visiting another sister ...


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