Book Review: Brown Girl Dreaming

 Brown Girl Dreaming
By: Jacqueline Woodson
Published By: Nancy Paulson Books
Publication Date: August 28, 2014
Page Count: 337
Source: Personal Copy
Genre: Historical Fiction & Poetry
Buy it at Indiebound, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble!

 As a poetry fan AND a historical fiction fan AND a memoir fan -- this had everything I wanted in a quick, engaging read.  The accolades, among them a National Book Award, this book has received are well-deserved. Woodson is a wonderful poet and her way with language is mesmerizing, but the book also reads like a novel, with a clear plot line, familiar characters, and a reverent tone it has quickly become a go-to for student recommendations.

Brown Girl Dreaming is both a verse novel and a memoir of Woodson's time growing up near the center of the civil rights movement in the deep south. Her writing is impeccable and beautiful; this is a book you read and wonder how she found the exact right word and can't imagine any other word in it's place. Woodson's brothers and sisters, parent and extended family come to life in this quick and touching story.

If you enjoy memoirs, historical reads, and/or poetry, pick this book up and see why half the cover is taken up with award stickers. ;) And if you get a chance, check out the audiobook. I'm not normally a fan of authors reading their own work, but I can't imagine anyone other than Woodson reading this. It feels as if you're at a private poetry reading with her. 

Summary via Goodreads

National Book Award Winner

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. 

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.