Brown Girl Dreaming: A Review

April 10, 2019

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming Review

  • Genre/Categories: Non Fiction, Poetry, Memoir, Middle Grade, Racism, Prejudice, African-American, Family Life

*This post contains amazon affiliate links.


In free verse, Jaqueline Woodson shares her experience as an African-American growing up in South Carolina and New York during the 60s and 70s. An award-winning book, Brown Girl Dreaming is a poignant and inspiring story of a girl finding her voice and her place in the world. Even though she struggled with reading in childhood, she loved stories and blank writing paper as she held her dream of writing close to her heart.

Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars

My Thoughts:

As part of my ongoing interest in great Middle Grade literature and my informal goal of checking off Newbery Award winners (including honors), I am delighted to have read Brown Girl Dreaming. This is an especially great read for me because it’s written in exquisite free verse.

I loved Woodson’s thoughtful, genuine, and transparent reflection of her childhood years, hearing about the special relationship with her grandparents, and learning about her earliest writing aspirations and dreams. In addition to beautiful prose, her story is told is a way that is easily accessible for younger readers and protects them from graphic details. Her strong childhood voice is delightful and engaging for children and adults alike.

Important themes include friendship, family, a big and driving dream, achieving in spite of a learning disability, the important role of grandparents, and racial injustice.

Brown Girl Dreaming is recommended for adults looking for a poignant and meaningful memoir, for Middle Grade + readers searching for more diverse reads, for parents to read together with children for its rich discussion possibilities, for fans of poetry, and for all of us who are avid readers of quality literature. I’ve heard that this is also highly recommended as an audio book (read by the author).

My Rating: 5 Stars


Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming Information

Meet the Author, Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir BROWN GIRL DREAMING won the 2014 National Book Award and was a NY Times Bestseller. Her novel, ANOTHER BROOKLYN, was a National Book Award finalist and an Indie Pick in 2016. Among her many awards, she is the recipient of the Kurt Vonnegut Award, four Newbery Honors, two Coretta Scott King Award, and the Langston Hughes Medal. Jacqueline is the author of nearly thirty books for young people and adults including EACH KINDNESS, IF YOU COME SOFTLY, LOCOMOTION and I HADN’T MEANT TO TELL YOU THIS. She served as Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2014-2016, was a fellow at The American Library in Paris, occasionally writes for the New York Times, is currently working on more books and like so many writers – lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at

Let’s Discuss!

Do you love Middle Grade Literature? Newbery Award books?

What is the last Newbery book you remember reading?

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

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~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.


  1. […] (It seems like a seasonal TBR  isn’t complete for me without one middle grade read, and the award-winning Brown Girl Dreaming has been on my reading radar for a long time) ***UPDATE: Amazing. 5 Stars. My review here. […]

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