Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming is the first book of poetry featured on the #VelshiBannedBookClub, an MSNBC segment where Citizen board member Ali Velshi interviews an author of one or more banned books.
The YA novel is autobiographical — following the author’s childhood as a “brown girl” in the late ’60s and ’70s, split between segregated Greenville, South Carolina and New York City. Woodson the adolescent grapples with her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement, her identity and individuality, as well as the power of community. Woodson the prolific writer vividly and skillfully captures the mind of a young person searching for sure footing in a fragmented world.
Brown Girl Dreaming is widely celebrated, winning the prestigious National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2014 as well as a Newbery Honor Award, and NAACP Image Award. (Woodson herself is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow.) “I’m always surprised when people want to keep stories from young people,” says Woodson on book banning. “Which, of course, shows us the power of these stories.”
Listen to the interview below.
Velshi and Woodson Discuss Brown Girl Dreaming:
Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:
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