Brown Girl Dreaming

In Jacqueline Woodson's (Locomotion; Feathers) inspired memoir, told entirely in verse, the author brings readers into her family's most intimate moments. She begins with her birth in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963 and continues through the North and the South in the 1960s and 1970s.

After her parents' separation, Jacqueline, along with her older sister and brother, move to her mother's girlhood home in Greenville, S.C., a place filled with wonder, faith, family and laughter. They miss their mother while she looks for a new home for them in New York City, but Jacqueline and her siblings find abundant love and comfort with their grandparents. Their mother returns with news of a new home in Brooklyn. Woodson delicately weaves into her family's stories her own path to becoming a writer, alongside historical events that simmer alternately in the background and foreground: the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War and the Black Panthers. "This is the way brown people have to fight," her grandfather tells her during the Greenville sit-ins, "You can't just put your fist up. You have to insist/ on something/ gently. Walk toward a thing/ slowly./ But be ready to die,/ my grandfather says,/ for what is right."

Woodson offers readers an accessible, first-hand look at African American childhood during decades of tremendous turmoil and change. The author records her careful observations through the eyes of a child who's trying to make sense of the things she's witnessing. Brown Girl Dreaming transports readers from Columbus to Greenville to Brooklyn, to experience childhood-defining moments. --Kyla Paterno, trade book buyer and blogger, Garfield Book Company at PLU

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