Brown Girl Dreaming

Narrated by: Jacqueline Woodson
Length: 3 hrs and 55 mins
Categories: Teens, Ages 11-13
4.5 out of 5 stars (832 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow 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. Woodson's eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading 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.

©2014 Jacqueline Woodson (P)2014 Penguin Audio

20 Best Audiobooks Read by the Author


There’s an undeniable authenticity in a listen that’s told by the very person who penned it. From iconic memoirs to far-out fantasies, these immersive audio performances are uniquely genuine, all performed in the author’s own voice.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    562
  • 4 Stars
    183
  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    14

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    532
  • 4 Stars
    122
  • 3 Stars
    65
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    11

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    514
  • 4 Stars
    146
  • 3 Stars
    53
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    11

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Memoir of a childhood, in verse.

It was not really intentional, but I read Brown Girl Dreaming right after I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I read them together because the holds at the library came one right after the other. (It was so good I have purchased this and re-listened to it again with my wife on a road trip).

But I have to assume that Jacqueline Woodson was influenced by Maya Angelou. Both are writing beautifully lyrical books about their childhoods. Both were expertly narrated by the authors. But Brown Girl Dreaming was entirely in verse. I am not sure I have ever read a book of narrative verse quite like this.

I listened to the audiobook, so I missed out on the visual nature of the verse, although I did use Amazon’s preview feature to read a couple pages of the verses. This is a book I am going to buy so that I can read it again in print.

I have a lousy background in poetry. Other than an excellent class in college on Emily Dickinson. And an excellent class in high school on Shakespeare, I do not think I really studied poetry. I am far from an expert, but the flow of this was extraordinary. I learned from my Emily Dickinson classed how important proper reading of poetry is. My professor knew how to properly read Dickinson and it mattered. Woodson knows how to read her poetry and it matters to the way it flows to the ear.

Reading back to back two memoirs of childhood by two Black women a generation apart, I could not help but reflect on the role of being Black plays in these two memoirs. I cannot think of a memoir of a White author that seriously thinks about what it means to be White except for a couple that were expressly about racial issues. I cannot think of a memoir that I have read by a non-White author that does not include a reflection of what it means to be Black, Asian, etc.

Color blind ideology is disproved every time you read a memoir like these because race matters to the experience of what it means to be human in the US. The difference is that for Whites, the race matters, but the normative culture that says that White is normal and not necessary to reflect on. Race matters to minorities because they are not White and at some point every minority has to come to understand what that means because culturally White is normative.

I remember a couple years ago CNN did a series of videos about when the person realized they were Black. I ran across them because of Eugene Scott, who worked for CNN at the time and did one of the videos tweeted about them. I thought at the time, and these books confirmed again, that personal recognition of our racial identity is something most Whites never think about, or at least not as a child. But all of the videos identified a point in time as a child when they knew what it meant to be Black.

Brown Girl Dreaming is really well written, expertly narrated, and unique in style. It is a book I definitely recommend, and one that I will read again. There is a reason it won a National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, a Newberry Honor and an award for the recording.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Autobiography!

Beautifully told autobiography about Woodson's youth. I loved the use of prose form to paint the picture of a youth growing up during Jim Crow and discovering her passion for writing.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome poetry/storytelling!

Hope the Newbery panel reads this wonderful offering from Jacqueline Woodson! Inspiration for us all. Teachers should love this one!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love it!!!

I enjoyed listening to this book and I enjoy when the authors read the books because they can give the most insight and meaning to the words and sentences more than a normal reader could. I was told by a friend that this book is a must read and I was not disappointed as I can picture my own childhood while listening. It truly is a must read.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiration in a Come of Age Poem

I do love poetry but I don't give it the time I should because I'd rather have a story. This is a story in poetry, a powerful, sometimes difficult to face, sweet, thought filled, poetic stream by a girl whose young life was a study in opposites, and who believes in opposites coming together some day. I do, too. Thank you Jaqueline with a J and a Q for inspiring me to keep on believing and for taking me through your journey with such grace.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brow Girl Dreaming

This is such a great book!!!!
I love this story and recommend it!
It's about how a black girls life was growing up.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding book!

I don't usually like books of poetry but Jacqueline Woodson's book Brown Girl Dreaming captivated me and hooked me from the very first poem. I really enjoyed that she narrated her own book because it made me feel even more connected to her. It is definitely worth a lesson!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Swimming up the stream

The characters were human, believable, personally, easy to relate to, and overall fabulous. I enjoyed the first third of the story and excitedly continued the second third, with characters whom I had begun developing a connection. I enthusiastically continued the book but it began to deflate in the middle. The interesting characters were abandoned to just the social issues. I had already invested too much time into the book and hated the thought I had wasted my time. I wished I had quit because the final third was created in me a feeling of drudgery.
I’m of the opinion children’s books should make the reader want to continue reading the book and other books with similar genera. I wish the author had stayed focused on the characters and weaved the social issues within the characters’ stories. The end of the story just appears to be the author’s “Soap Box”, and pushing her social opinions/beliefs, onto the young readers. The focus should have stayed on the characters and how the social issues of that era changed their life, for the better.
My title of this review is swimming against the stream. My review of this book goes against the other reviews. I’m sure I will hear several nasty comments regarding my statements, but I too have a right to voice my opinion.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow!

Amazingly poetic read!! A must for anyone craving unique and long-lasting imagery! A book for the senses.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I wanted more

Easy to listen to, delightful and engaging; however, I was surprised when it ended. Seems like there should have been more story. Ending was abrupt to me. I wanted more.

1 person found this helpful