Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming

by Jacqueline Woodson


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Jacqueline Woodson's National Book Award and Newbery Honor winner, now available in paperback with 7 all-new poems.

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

A President Obama "O" Book Club pick

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.

Includes 7 new poems, including "Brown Girl Dreaming".

Praise for Jacqueline Woodson:

A 2016 National Book Award finalist for her adult novel, ANOTHER BROOKLYN

"Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story . . . but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780147515827
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 5,104
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 990L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Jacqueline Woodson ( is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her books include The Other SideEach Kindness, the Caldecott Honor Book Coming on Home Soon; the Newbery Honor winners FeathersShow Way, and After Tupac and D Foster, and Miracle’s Boys which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award and was adapted into a miniseries directed by Spike Lee. Jacqueline is also the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature, the winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award,  the 2013 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, a 2016 National Book Award finalist for her adult novel Another Brooklyn, and received the 2018 Children's Literature Legacy Award. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

Read an Excerpt

february 12, 1963

Excerpted from "Brown Girl Dreaming"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Jacqueline Woodson.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Family Tree 8

Part I I Am Born 13

Part II The Stories of South Carolina Run Like Rivers 59

Part III Followed the Sky's Mirrored Constellation to Freedom 171

Part IV Deep in my Heart, I D Believe 249

Part V Ready to Change the World 345

Author's Note 391

Thankfuls 395

Family Photos 398

Customer Reviews

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Brown Girl Dreaming 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
MrsJamesReadingLangArts More than 1 year ago
Can I give this more than 5 stars? I fell in love with this book. I teach 8th grade at an all girls' public school and I cannot wait to order 115 copies.  This is a book that every brown girl should read.  You will LOVE this book.  It' inspired me as a woman, teacher and brown girl that's all grown up now.  
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
It’s like a soft blanket, the voice of Morgan Freeman reading out loud to me, the purring of a kitten, Woodson words were warm and heartfelt as I read Brown Girl Dreaming, not wanting to put the book down. The words just flowing along like a babbling brook even though the text itself is not tranquil, it is the way the author strings the words together that brought harmony to its composition. Written in verse, Jacqueline tells her families story. Her father is content and determined to maintain his Northern upbringing while her mother loves the South. There is conflict among the parents but in the end, mother returns to her childhood home with the children. The South, the home is surrounded with love, laughter, restrictions and family. Shared with their grandparents, the privilege of massaging grandmother’s feet after she returns from daywork, put smiles on my face. The children’s anticipation of her stories, the author created this beautiful picture of this loving exchange between the generations. Mother wants to create her own home and heads North, the children staying with the grandparents where they influence the children more as the South engrains more into their minds. Jacqueline honesty and the ability to see the world through her eyes has me laughing and smiling as she sees and says things firsthand. It’s a story only Jacqueline can tell, for if anyone else were to tell the same story, it would not have the same effect. It’s a fantastic book, definitely worth reading once, twice or many times. “Our mama shushes us, says, It’s too late for presents and the like. But we want presents and the like. “ (their Uncle Robert came to see them) “And when we are called by our names my grandmother makes them all one HopeDellJackie but my grandfather takes his own sweet time, saying each as if he has all day long or a whole lifetime.”
Brunette_Librarian More than 1 year ago
      Telling the story of Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood, beginning in Ohio, then living in the South in the middle of the Civil Rights movement and ultimately ending up in New York City, the city of dreams and light. Beautifully told in verse, Woodson’s story shares their triumphs of life and love of family. It’s really a love letter to her family, whether it be good or bad, and a snapshot of her childhood life.             Woodson doesn’t hold any punches in her writings. She discusses without sugarcoating her religious upbringing in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, her absentee father, her unwed mother and the surprise of a younger half white sibling and what his arrival meant to her family. Jackie’s time in the South is marked by sit-ins, black’s only restrooms, and the trying times her family endures when fighting for their own rights in this controversial period of American history.             Gorgeously written, Woodson’s story speaks to the human experience. Covering such taboo topics as religion, race, poverty, education, incarceration, death, sickness, unplanned pregnancies, learning disabilities, absentee parents and growing up. This story is so much more than a coming of age novel, it’s a historical document testifying to our past and giving us hope for our future.
Matilda-was-taken More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up because it met a reading challenge category and I glanced at the first page, curious but not ready to read it since I was already reading another book, and suddenly I'd read the entire book. Beautiful, heartbreaking, inspiring, family, friendship, love, child-curiosity... a memoir written in free verse that moves you through Jaqueline's life filling you with every emotion. The second I finished reading it I turned back to the first page wanting to read it again to not miss a single beautiful word.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written with simple, passionate depth in every story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great in my opinion because of the great story line and message it gave to the reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book so much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this better than Another Brooklyn, but I also liked having the knowledge of that book when reading this one. I'm eager to discuss it with the Book Love Summer Book Club. There are a lot of beautiful and heartbreaking poems here. It was also really nice to have the knowledge I gained from hearing Woodson speak at NCTE this year. One of the things she talked about was understanding the culture of the things you read-- listening to the music and looking up the unfamiliar plants or technology or what-have-you. To help really immerse yourself in what you're learning about.
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Jacqueline's early childhood told in verse form. Each poem is a vignette is a memory of someone or her as see leaves Greenville and Ohio and moves to New York City. It tells of the changes to her and her family. I enjoyed it. I felt I knew these people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful and powerful and heartfelt. This book is just incredible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Totes should read it i am9 i reckmond this book to any ont E. Totes by call me boy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved everything about this book. The poems cover a wide array of emotions. The historical context adds some richness as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A emotional amazing book. You read with your eyes but some how this book finds its way to your heart. You will not put down this book once you pick it up. Nothing is as powerful as a book can make you feel, and in that case this is one of the most powerful books ever. For all ages. A laugh cry book. Out of my Mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great if our dedicated i presonally loved the entire thing you shod read this book if your up for some tears or should i say alot
LynnLD More than 1 year ago
Brown Girl Dreaming is Jacqueline Woodson’s autobiography and she tells it in a poetic prose and free-verse style. I read it in a couple of sittings and could not put it down until I got the whole story. She shares her rich legacy and her life which started in Ohio, moved to the sunny south landscape of South Carolina and later into New York’s Brooklyn. She acknowledges that her timely birth in 1963 put her in the midst of many historic events that affected our country and consequently, her life. She finds her voice through writing as she witnesses the loss of loved ones; separation of parents and moving from state to state. For lovers of Woodson’s works, this book offers great insight into what shaped this prolific writer, whose books span across several genres.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating life, told in verse. I would love to use this as a read aloud for my students.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book and the poems within had me go through a myriad of emotions. I laughed, cried, I was hopeful and the end, I wanted more.
MaryCL More than 1 year ago
This book is simply exquisite!  I've read many books that have won awards and have scratched my head and wondered "why?. This book deserves every literary award there is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a good book.i loved it it is such a embracing really is such a open poetry book.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Plumberswife More than 1 year ago
I just enjoyed this book! Niclely written, really put me right within the pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was not was I expected. However, I think this would be excellent for a young reader. Overall I greatly enjoyed her story and way of writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I believe this book is more for teens than anyone under the age of 12. I had to read this for school and stopped reading it because there were things in this book that I did not feel comfortable reading. A girl was being raped and they talked about sex.
Sh1aol More than 1 year ago
I struggled to finish this book! Can't imagine why it would appeal to the age group it was intended for. I finished reading it only because of book club!