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Brown Girl Dreaming

by Jacqueline Woodson

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin, 2014
336 pages
ISBN: 978𢠥99-252518

Age 10 and older

揂nd somehow, one day, it抯 just there / speckled black-and white, the paper / inside smelling like something I could fall right into, / live there inside those clean white pages. Jacqueline Woodson抯 childhood unfolds in poems that beautifully reveal details of her early life and her slow but gradually certain understanding that words and stories and writing were essential to her. Her older sister was shining smart. One of her brothers could sing wonderfully. She would come to realize words were her smart, her singing, her special thing. Woodson writes about growing up in Greenville, South Carolina, and then Brooklyn, New York, living with family members who were full of love and expectation, from her grandparents to her mother to her siblings, aunts and uncles. She sometimes felt she stood out a northerner in the south; a southerner in the north; a Jehovah's Witness knocking on doors. Experiences that shaped her came from within and beyond her family: 揇on抰 wait for your school to teach you, my uncle says, / about the revolution. It抯 happening in the streets. And later, 揟his moment, this here, this right now, is my teacher / saying / You抮e a writer, as she holds the poem I am just beginning. Ten poems titled 揌ow to listen reveal another essential element of her story because she is also that: a listener, a recorder, an observer, writing something down even when she doesn抰 understand it and trusting that 揟he knowing will come. An album of black-and-white photographs and an author抯 note round out this exquisite, quietly inspiring volume.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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