Monday, February 13, 2017
brown girl dreaming
Lexile = 990
Jacqueline Woodson is a big deal in literature circles. She has won numerous literary awards. Just look at the cover of THIS book! You can hardly see the cover for all the fancy award stickers. Brown Girl Dreaming is her "memoir". Books like this used to be called autobiographies, and they still are, but memoirs are a bit more narrow in their focus and autobiographies and biographies tend to focus on the accomplishments of ones life. Memoirs are more personal.... more slice of life.
It is clear from this book that Woodson was destined to be an author. But of course she didn't know that at the time; she was just a little girl with a dream.
One incident stands out for me. When Jacqueline is very young, her brother Hope is in a school Christmas pageant as a shepherd. Hope is the "big quiet brother" who doesn't ever speak much about anything. But then in the pageant, he sings. "Hope can sing...." the other sister says. Everyone is surprised by his budding talent. Then Woodson writes:
Maybe, I am thinking, there is something hidden
like this, in all of us. A small gift from the universe
waiting to be discovered.
I really hope that is true. You can just picture this little girl dreaming of her future as a writer.
This entire book is written in verse... poetry. That adds to the "slice of life" feel here. I think with verse you can get away without fleshing out all the details. I feel a bit cheated by such writing. But it makes for a super fast read.
Watch a short video of Woodson reading from her book HERE.