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Brown Girl Dreaming
Contributor(s): Woodson, Jacqueline

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ISBN: 0399252517     ISBN-13: 9780399252518
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
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Binding Type: Hardcover - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: August 2014
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Annotation: "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. 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"--

Click for more in this series: Newbery Honor Book
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Authors, American; 20th century; Biography; Juvenile poetry.
African American women authors; Biography; Juvenile poetry.
Authors, American; Poetry.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Literary
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Issues | Prejudice & Racism
Dewey: 811/.54
LCCN: 2014021346
Lexile Measure: 990
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Series: Newbery Honor Book
Book type: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 6.00" W x 1.25" (1.05 lbs) 336 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 168140
Reading Level: 5.3   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 5.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q64354
Reading Level: 8.4   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 9.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Spring)
A memoir-in-verse so immediate, readers will feel they are experiencing Woodson's childhood along with her. We see young Jackie grow up not just in historical context but also in the context of extended family, community, and religion (she was raised Jehovah's Witness). Most notably, we trace her development as a nascent writer. The poetry here sings: specific, lyrical, and full of imagery.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #5)
Here is a memoir-in-verse so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author's childhood right along with her. It starts out somewhat slowly, with Woodson relying on others' memories to relate her (1963) birth and infancy in Ohio, but that just serves to underscore the vividness of the material once she begins to share her own memories; once her family arrives in Greenville, South Carolina, where they live with her maternal grandparents. Woodson describes a South where the whites-only signs may have been removed but where her grandmother still can't get waited on in Woolworth's, where young people are sitting at lunch counters and standing up for civil rights; and Woodson expertly weaves that history into her own. However, we see young Jackie grow up not just in historical context but also--and equally--in the context of extended family, community (Greenville and, later, Brooklyn), and religion (she was raised Jehovah's Witness). Most notably of all, perhaps, we trace her development as a nascent writer, from her early, overarching love of stories through her struggles to learn to read through the thrill of her first blank composition book to her realization that "words are [her] brilliance." The poetry here sings: specific, lyrical, and full of imagery: "So the first time my mother goes to New York City / we don't know to be sad, the weight / of our grandparents' love like a blanket / with us beneath it, / safe and warm." An extraordinary--indeed brilliant--portrait of a writer as a young girl. martha v. parravan Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2014 May #4)

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. (Aug.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 July)

Gr 4–7—"I am born in Ohio but the stories of South Carolina already run like rivers through my veins" writes Woodson as she begins her mesmerizing journey through her early years. She was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1963, "as the South explodes" into a war for civil rights and was raised in South Carolina and then New York. Her perspective on the volatile era in which she grew up is thoughtfully expressed in powerfully effective verse, (Martin Luther King is ready to march on Washington; Malcom X speaks about revolution; Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat only seven years earlier and three years have passed since Ruby Bridges walks into an all-white school). She experienced firsthand the acute differences in how the "colored" were treated in the North and South. "After the night falls and it is safe for brown people to leave the South without getting stopped and sometimes beaten and always questioned; We board the Greyhound bus bound for Ohio." She related her difficulties with reading as a child and living in the shadow of her brilliant older sister, she never abandoned her dream of becoming a writer. With exquisite metaphorical verse Woodson weaves a patchwork of her life experience, from her supportive, loving maternal grandparents, her mother's insistence on good grammar, to the lifetime friend she meets in New York, that covers readers with a warmth and sensitivity no child should miss. This should be on every library shelf.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH

[Page 126]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
 
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