brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Words Have Power

5 stars
If I were not already a fan of Jacqueline Woodson's work, upon reading this memoir in poetry I would now be completely smitten. I didn't want this book to end. I wanted the experience of her words to resonate with me as long as possible. I wanted to let this journey into a new way of seeing history to just sit with me for a while.

Shortly after I started, I stopped reading. In order to revel in these poems, I needed to dole them out a few at a time. And so, the best part of my day became reading a few more pages of Woodson's work at the end of the day.

Her words take you places
across time and space
to that farm in South Carolina where she worked in the dirt with Daddy
knocking on strangers doors to spread the word
hanging out in the New York neighbourhood with her friends and family.

Her words can be a sharp knife nicking here, pricking there. With each sharp sting, we open up to new levels of consciousness.

Woodson is 10 years younger than I am. We grew up in similar times, but our realities are so very different, we might have been growing up on different planets. From my small, mostly white, town here in Canada, information about what was going on in the world was mediated through newspapers, radio, television and popular music. Outside my relatively secure space, these events and moments were impersonal. In Brown Girl Dreaming, Woodson has connected us. I get to see through her eyes what it meant to be a black girl growing up in America during the 1960's and 70's.

Thank you Jacqueline Woodson for the history lesson. 

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