Review of the Week – “Brown Girl Dreaming”

brown girl dreamingWoodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming.Non-fiction. Penguin, 2014. 336p. $16.99. 978-0-399-25251-8.

Jacqueline Woodson shares her experience of growing up in the 1960s and 1970s through a series of poem vignettes. With the Civil Rights movement as backdrop, readers follow word-loving Jacqueline as she travels with her mother and siblings from her birthplace in Columbus, Ohio, to her grandparents’ home in rural South Carolina, to a place of their own in New York City. Family members, including her book-obsessed sister, her Jehovah’s Witness grandmother, and her beloved grandfather, come alive in spare verse sprinkled with illuminating details:
“At dusk, just as the fireflies flicker on, my grandfather makes his way home. We see him coming slow down the road, his silver lunch box bouncing soft against his leg. Now, as he gets closer, we hear him singing.” This quiet book requires a special reader, one willing to forego action for a window into the life of a young girl finding her voice in tumultuous times.
Jenny Andrus, Live Oak School

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