Jacqueline Woodson is an American writer and Brown Girl Dreaming won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2014.
Written in free verse, Brown Girl Dreaming is a touching account of Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood as an African American girl growing up in the 1960s and 1970s amidst the rapid social change of the times. Caught between the worlds of laid back, yet racially tense South Carolina and energetic, progressive New York, she shares both the simple joys of a child embracing life and learning about herself, as well as the confusion and sadness of divorce, death, racism and how things in life inevitably change or stay the same.
Brown Girl Dreaming made me smile, cry and laugh as it reminded me of the purity and innocence of childhood, and how life is both magical and enigmatic through the eyes of a child.
Free verse is defined as nonmetrical, nonrhyming lines that closely follow the natural rhythms of speech. Brown Girl Dreaming was easy and quick to read since it was written in free verse, but I have struggled to understand poetry and don’t quite get this poetic form. However, the book was still simply beautiful.
One reviewer on Goodreads said he was so touched by the book, he emailed the author in the middle of the night! This is a great example of the book’s potency; it’s a wonderful book full of love, hope and dreams. I couldn’t help thinking about my own childhood reading Brown Girl Dreaming and feeling regret over how I will never get it back again. I would love if Jacqueline Woodson wrote about her adolescence next. Maybe I will email her too and suggest it!