Breathtaking, Stunning, Insightful + More

Summary:

Brown Girl Dreaming is a beautiful memoir told in verse about growing up as an African-American girl in the ‘60s and ‘70s. It crafts the journey of author Jacqueline Woodson’s life from her childhood to her young teen years. It shares her experiences growing up and finding her way in the world, from encountering segregation to discovering her life's passion.

Woodson spent most of her childhood in the South and later moved to Brooklyn, and her words illustrate two very contrasting places. There is a central idea of the importance of family, with most poems surrounding this concept. Woodson’s family is very important to her and you can see the beautiful bond they have in the novel. As she grew older, Woodson started developing a love for words and writing.


BTSYA / Teen Reader (13):
This book is very meaningful and delightful. It was enthralling to read about Woodson's writing journey because it is so closely related to my own journey with words. Woodson’s poems construct a breathtaking story that inspire stunning imagery of flowing rivers, flying porch swings, and pattering rain. I usually don’t like books written in prose, but this was an exception. It is so skillfully written, with everything flowing together and delicately connecting for an insightful read.

It was intriguing to get a new point of view on how the events of the fight for equality affected Woodson because history isn’t usually written from a child’s perspective. I found it extremely inspirational to read about the sacrifices her grandparents made to provide a better life for their grandchildren. Her memories dive into deep ideas about segregation, fighting for equality, and the importance of love and family. I learned and gained a new perspective from reading this book and loved the genuine simplicity of it.

Brown Girl Dreaming would be perfect for any reader 10 or older, who wants to learn about the past in a beautiful way. It is perfect for all ages and captures Woodson’s story in alluring prose. Some younger readers might not be a fan of Woodson’s style of writing in verse, as it is more mature than typical writing, but it is beautiful nonetheless. This would be a perfect gift because there is something extremely special about Woodson's poetry. I suggest listening to the audio book because her poems, when spoken aloud, are somehow even more stunning.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Beautiful writing and poetic descriptions show readers what the world felt / looked like for a young African American girl growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. Those who love history, biography, and sensory writing will NOT be disappointed.

Content Awareness Factors:

None.


Type of Book:
This is the personal memoir of Jacqueline Woodson, written in poetry.
Educational Themes:

There are themes of history social issues; family and relationships; and finding one's passion (among others) in Brown Girl Dreaming. For some readers, asking "what did you think about [insert concept]" may be enough to start some great conversations. If you want to go deeper, we suggest looking at the 2017 Vermont Reads Discussion Guide (pdf).

Reading Level:
5.3
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 13
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a both a personal history and a collection of poetry. The words and feelings offer comfort, insight, and inspiration.
book cover

Title Brown Girl Dreaming
Author Jaqcueline Woodson
Publisher Puffin Books, a Penguin Random House Company © 2016 (Reprint Edition)
ISBN 9780147515827
Material Paperback
Cost $10.99
Genres Poetry, Biography, History - 1960s & 1970s
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