27 April, 2015

Brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson [Surani, Waitakere Central]

What captivated my attention with this title wasn't just the striking cover, but the plethora of reviews online wherever I looked. Written entirely in free verse, a format I hadn't actively read since high school, I found the whole book quite a different experience. This beautifully written book describes the harsh reality of the author's life during a pivotal moment in African American history.

Each poem told a story of an episode of the author's childhood. Jacqueline Woodson was raised in South Carolina and later in Brooklyn, New York during the 1960's and 70's. Through her journey as a young child the one constant that made Jacqueline and her siblings stand up a little taller and shine brighter was the deep family love and pride. Her eloquent poetry not only describes her hopes and fears, but also the joy of finding her voice through writing. Readers of this book will delight in witnessing her growing love of stories - and her funny, touching experiments in storytelling - as she exhibits the first sparks of the writer she was to become.

Jacqueline Woodson's honest writing, in my eyes, expertly describes some aspects of African-American life that I hadn't seen represented in children's literature before. This memoir tells so much more truth than most of the non-fiction that is out there for children. I believe that Brown girl dreaming has something in it for everyone no matter how old you are.

It is only right that Jacqueline Woodson has claimed the American National Book Award 2014 and a handful of other awards for this exceptional piece of writing.


Title: Brown girl dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
ISBN: 9780399252518
Published: 2014
Publisher: New York: Nancy Paulsen Books

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