ALLen Reads 2017 – Main Selection

Brown Girl Dreamingbrown girl dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson

In vivid poems, Woodson shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow laws 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 and joyfully finds her voice through writing stories, even as she struggled to read 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. Recommended for Grade 5- Adult.



ALLen Reads is looking forward to discussions of the many themes that arise from Woodson’s work:

We all have a story

Find your gifts

Celebrate diversity

Accept differences

What good can I do?

Meet challenges and move past them


Love and Family

Home – what is home? where is home?

We hope you will enjoy the conversations and insights these bring forward in your neighborhood book clubs, at the library and talking with friends. Would you like a place to begin your conversation? Take a look at these Discussion Questions, brown girl dreaming.

Jacqueline WoodsonAuthor
Jacqueline Woodson

“I used to say I’d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.

Lots and lots of books later, I am still surprised when I walk into a bookstore and see my name on a book or when the phone rings and someone on the other end is telling me I’ve just won an award. Sometimes, when I’m sitting at my desk for long hours and nothing’s coming to me, I remember my fifth grade teacher, the way her eyes lit up when she said “This is really good.” The way, I — the skinny girl in the back of the classroom who was always getting into trouble for talking or missed homework assignments — sat up a little straighter, folded my hands on the desks, smiled and began to believe in me.”

Growing up in South Carolina and New York, Jacqueline Woodson lived in two very different worlds. This is reflected in her stories, which address universal questions, such as “Who am I?” “Where do I belong?”  “What shall I do with my life? ”

For her children and young adult books, she has earned many awards which include three Newbery Honors, a Coretta Scott King Award and three Coretta Scott King Honors, two National Book Awards, a Margaret A. Edwards Award and an ALAN Award—both for Lifetime Achievement in YA Literature. Currently, she is the author of more than two dozen books for children and young adults.  She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.