How do you feel about novels written in free verse? I have to admit that they’re not really my thing… But, in an effort to model open-minded reading for my girls, I have tried to read two this summer. And while I abandoned one of them, I absolutely loved Jacqueline Woodson’s middle-grade stunner Brown Girl Dreaming!
Brown Girl Dreaming is the story of Woodson’s childhood, starting when she was born in Ohio, walking us through her time in South Carolina, and taking us with her to Brooklyn. It is a story of growing up Black during the Civil Rights movement, and also a story about being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. It’s a story of migration and movement, and also a story of family, friendship, love, and redemption. It’s a story about stories, and a story about growing as a reader and a writer. It’s a story about developing belief and confidence in your own storytelling abilities… And we should all be grateful that Woodson figured that out and found her passion for sharing stories with all of us!
Be sure to scroll down and read through some of the verses that stuck with me. These are lines that tugged at my heart because of what they revealed about communities and childhood. A few seemed especially poignant as we enter the beginning of a new school year, a school year that may look and feel quite different for our children, but that still gives them opportunities to find their passions and believe in themselves!
Brown Girl Dreaming is recommended for ages 10 and up.
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So, back to free verse… how do you feel about it? Are there any free-verse novels that you love?