Brown Girl Dreaming


It seems that there is no one reliable narrator as to the time of day that Jacqueline Woodson was born. Then again, she knows that her mother sought to overturn her father’s decision to name her after him, ‘Jack’. What’s more, she remembers the time that her mother visited her family in South Carolina, and her father stayed behind, finally. Thereafter, her grandparents became her parents, so that Gunnar, her grandfather, was ‘Daddy’. We follow the routine of her week, in which the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witness featured strongly, aside Friday visits to the candy house. Thereafter, we learn of the people in her family, including her Mama, in New York.

It was to New York she and her siblings travelled, where Jacqueline’s stories grew. It seemed that although she carried a notebook, words were a stumbling block, unlike their fluent fall within Jacqueline’s older sister’s mouth and hand.

Brown Girl Dreaming is an exceptional autobiography, told in verse prose snatches, with a magician’s touch that we can taste Mama’s coffee, sweetened with condensed milk, and smell the Dixie Peach hair grease.

Bookwagon recommends every reader experiences this superb memoir. Brown Girl Dreaming is a triumph.

National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature; New York Times Bestseller; Coretta Scott King Award;  Newbery Honor Award; NAACP Image Award; Sibert Honor Award

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Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson


Multi award winning writer Jacqueline Woodson offers a biographical snapshot in Brown Girl Dreaming. This acclaimed title returns the writer to her beginnings in Columbus, Ohio, to her family’s moves between the United States’ north and south. We realise the different lives she lived, from the Jehovah’s Witness devout routines with her grandparents, to the concrete skipping days of New York. Then again, we watch the changes in her family, as her parents’ marriage disintegrates, and her mother seeks a new life in New York. Meanwhile, we learn about her family, especially her beloved ‘Daddy’ grandfather Gunnar, and grandmother, in Nicholtown, Greenville, South Carolina.
It seems as though we can ‘hear’ the songs that are sung through the radio and across the street, ‘Daddy’ singing on his route home. Then again, we can feel the pulse beat of Civil Rights too. After all, the ’60’s are turbulent times. Jacqueline Woodson describes how the ‘Whites Only’ messages are visible through the paintwork.
There is such pride, history and acknowledgement, as we’ve experienced in Unspoken within Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir. Then again, its form, written in verse prose, suggests a gentle recollection, a tug of memories, that draws us in. It means we know these characters, urge her pen to write in her butterfly notebook and can smell Maria’s mother’s pasteles.
Bookwagon loves Brown Girl Dreaming. What’s more, we recommend this to every reader. It’s tender storytelling and history are quite exceptional.


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