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Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Title: Black Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Year Published: 2014

Genre: YA non-fiction (verse)
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2015 Google Reading map)USA (Ohio, South Carolina, New York)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap): 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.

Review: I have only read Locomotion and Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson but when this one won the National Book Award and I started hearing the praise for it, I knew it was a book that I wanted to read.

It is aimed at 5th grade and above so it is a fast read. In addition, it is written in verse so as an adult, it feels as if I flew through the book. However, because it is so captivating and so beautifully written I read it quickly, absorbing every word and phrase.

Woodson does a wonderful job of showing what life was like for African Americans in the 1960s and '70s, especially comparing life in the north and south. Through it all she is surrounded by an extended family that takes care of one another and makes sure that she is safe. I realize it's amazing that she ended up an accomplished author!

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