Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson

brown girl dreamingThis beautifully written memoir is done in verse but don’t let that scare you because it’s a terrific children’s book about a young African American girl growing up in the 1960s. This author is so gifted at evoking the period, you feel you are there. Jackie is born in Ohio, but takes frequent trips to South Carolina to visit her mother’s parents, fun-loving, gardener Grandpa Gunnar and uber religious Grandma Georgiana. Unlike Ohio, the region is still highly segregated and the pace of life much slower. When her parents divorce, Jackie and her siblings end up living with Grandma and Grandpa. In South Carolina, Jackie comes to love the environment and her grandparents despite the racial divide. It’s difficult for everyone when Jackie’s mom decides to move to New York, but Jackie and her siblings eventually adjust and come to love their life in the north as much as the south. Throughout the story, the characters all but leap off the page they are so relatable. A magnificent tour de force in children’s literature.

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