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Jacqueline Woodson

Marty Umans

Jacqueline Woodson (www.jacquelinewoodson.com) is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DREAMING, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.  She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Woodson began to consider becoming a writer when she was chosen to be the literary editor of a magazine in the fifth grade. Eventually, three books helped convince her to make writing her career: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Daddy Was a Number Runner by Louise Meriwether, and Ruby by Rosa Guy. Before reading these books, Woodson thought that only books featuring mainstream, white characters, or works by William Shakespeare constituted valid literature. But in these three books, Woodson saw parts of herself and her life, and realized that books could be about people like her—and she knew she wanted to write them.

A critically acclaimed author, Woodson writes about characters from a variety of races, ethnicities, and social classes. Woodson says, “There are all kinds of people in the world, and I want to help introduce readers to the kinds of people they might not otherwise meet.” Woodson’s books also feature strong female characters and she often writes about friendship between girls. “Girls rarely get discussed in books and films,” she says, “and I want to do ‘girl stories’ that show strong, independent people.”

Woodson might be describing herself when she uses words like “strong” and “independent.” Even though it isn’t always easy for her to write about the serious issues she does, she feels as though she has no other choice: “I can’t write about nice, easy topics because that won’t change the world. And I do want to change the world—one reader at a time.” Changing the world means changing people’s attitudes about things like teen pregnancy, racial issues, sexual abuse, and class tension. Sometimes it’s difficult to do, but she considers it necessary work, so that her readers will be more aware of different types of people and be better equipped to effect change when they get older. For this same reason, Woodson travels often to schools and libraries, speaking about her literature and the important issues about which she writes. She says, “Grown-ups are jaded. Children are much more open-minded, and they have the power to change the world.”

Her books  include THE OTHER SIDE, EACH KINDNESS, the Caldecott Honor Book COMING ON HOME SOON; the Newbery Honor winners FEATHERS, SHOW WAY, and AFTER TUPAC AND D FOSTER; and MIRACLE'S BOYS, which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award and was adapted into a miniseries directed by Spike Lee. Jacqueline is also the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature, the winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and was the 2013 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Born on February 12, 1963, in Columbus, Ohio, Woodson grew up in Greenville, S.C., and Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. A former drama therapist for runaways and homeless children in New York City, she now writes full-time. Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers and encouraging young people to write; heated political conversations with her friends; and sewing.

PRAISE

BROWN GIRL DREAMING
New York Times Bestseller
—National Book Award Winner
—NAACP Image Award Winner
—Coretta Scott King Award Winner
—Newbery Honor Winner
—E. B. White Read-Aloud Award Winner
—Bank Street Claudia Lewis Award Winner
—Sibert Honor Winner
 
“This is a book full of poems that cry out to be learned by heart.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“Gorgeous.”Vanity Fair
 
“Moving and resonant . . . captivating.”Wall Street Journal
 
“A radiantly warm memoir.”Washington Post
 
* “An extraordinary—indeed brilliant—portrait of a writer as a young girl.”The Horn Book, starred review
 
* “Vivid.”The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
 
* “Mesmerizing.”School Library Journal, starred review
 
* “A marvel.”Booklist, starred review
 
* “Will linger long after the page is turned.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 

EACH KINDNESS
—Jane Addams Children’s Book Award
—Bank Street Best Book
—Charlotte Zolotow Award
Publishers Weekly Best Book
School Library Journal Best Book
 
* “Quiet, intense. . . . Spare, eloquent free verse . . . a story for young kids that will touch all ages.”—Booklist, starred review

* “Always on-target navigating difficulties in human relationships, Woodson teams up with Lewis to deal a blow to the pervasive practice–among students of all economic backgrounds–of excluding those less fortunate. . . . Lyrical and stylistically tight writing. . . . Gives opportunity for countless inferences and deep discussion . . . invite[s] readers to pause, reflect, and empathize. . . . With growing income disparity, and bullying on the rise, this story of remorse and lost opportunity arrives none too soon.”—School Library Journal, starred review

* “Turns readers into witnesses as kindness hangs in the balance. . . . Brings an unsparing lyricism to a difficult topic.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
“Unfolds with harsh beauty and the ominousness of opportunities lost.”—Kirkus Reviews


Author Bookshelf

BETWEEN MADISON AND PALEMETTO

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Between Madison and Palmetto

By: Jacqueline Woodson

I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Twelve-year-old Marie is a leader among the popular black girls in Chauncey, Ohio, a prosperous black suburb. She isn't looking for a friend when Lena Bright, a white girl, appears in school. Yet they...


LAST SUMMER WITH MAIZON

By: Jacqueline Woodson

"You're my best friend in the whole world," Maizon said.



Maizon and Margaret know how lucky they are. They live on the same block on Madison Street in Brooklyn, and they're always together. But...



Lena

By: Jacqueline Woodson

The companion to the Coretta Scott King Honor-winning I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, now available in paperback.

At the end of I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, Marie's friend Lena and her little sister Dion...

Maizon at Blue Hill

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Maizon Singh takes the biggest step of her life when she accepts a scholarship to boarding school and leaves her grandma and her best friend, Margaret, behind on Madison Street. There are only five black seventh grader among them.



Blue...




Miracle's Boys

By: Jacqueline Woodson

The Book Chase

By: Jacqueline Woodson

The Dear One

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Twelve-year-old Feni doesn't see why her mother, who is already way too busy with her job, offers to take in her old college friend's fifteen-year-old daughter. Sure enough, sparks fly when Rebecca, a...


The House You Pass on the Way

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Thirteen-year-old Staggerlee used to be called Evangeline, but she took on a fiercer name. She's always been different--set apart by the tragic deaths of her grandparents in an anti-civil rights bombing,...

Way Out of No Way

By: Jacqueline Woodson

"A distinguished anthology of excerpts from some fine modern writing."
--The New York Times

In this very special anthology, Jacqueline Woodson shares the writings that inspired her as a young African-American...


Hush

By: Jacqueline Woodson

A powerfully moving novel from a three-time Newbery Honor-winning author

Evie Thomas is not who she used to be. Once she had a best friend, a happy home and a loving grandmother living nearby. Once her name was Toswiah.

Now,...




Locomotion

By: Jacqueline Woodson

When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he's eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because "not a lot...

Coming on Home Soon

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: E. B. Lewis

Beloved multi-award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson tells a timeless story set during World War II

Ada Ruth's mama must go away to Chicago to work, leaving Ada Ruth and Grandma behind. It's war time, and...

The Dear One

By: Jacqueline Woodson

An intriguing look at teen pregnancy from a three-time Newbery Honor winning author

Feni is furious when she finds out that her mother has agreed to take a fifteen-year-old pregnant girl into their...


The House You Pass On the Way

By: Jacqueline Woodson

A lyrical coming-of-age story from a three-time Newbery Honor winning author

Thirteen-year-old Staggerlee used to be called Evangeline, but she took on a fiercer name. She's always been different--set...

Behind You

By: Jacqueline Woodson

A moving story of love and loss from a three-time Newbery winning author

You are so light you move with the wind and the snow. . . . And it lifts you up-over a world of sadness and anger and fear....

Between Madison and Palmetto

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Maizon and Margaret are both living on Madison Street again, but somehow everything seems different. Maizon has changed since her semester at boarding school, and Margaret has become withdrawn since her father's...


This Is the Rope

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: James Ransome

The story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration starts with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree one summer. She has no idea the rope will become part of her family’s...

Show Way

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: Hudson Talbott

Soonie's great-grandma was just seven years old when she was sold to a big plantation without her ma and pa, and with only some fabric and needles to call her own. She pieced together bright patches with names...

Feathers

By: Jacqueline Woodson

View our feature on Jacqueline Woodson's Feathers.

“Hope is the thing with feathers” starts the poem Frannie is reading in school. Frannie hasn’t thought much about hope. There are so...


Maizon at Blue Hill

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Maizon takes the biggest step in her life when she accepts a scholarship to boarding school and says good-bye to her grandmother and her best friend, Margaret. Blue Hill is beautiful, and challenging-but there...

Pecan Pie Baby

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall

A sweet addition to the family is coming! Written by National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by Caldecott Award-winning illustrator Sophie Blackall.

All anyone wants to talk...

Lena

By: Jacqueline Woodson

The companion to the Coretta Scott King Honor-winning I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, now available in paperback.

At the end of I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, Marie's friend Lena and her little sister Dion...


I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Twelve-year-old Marie is a leader among the popular black girls in Chauncey, Ohio, a prosperous black suburb. She isn't looking for a friend when Lena Bright, a white girl, appears in school. Yet they...

Miracle's Boys

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Winner of the 2001 Coretta Scott King award!For Lafayette and his brothers, the challenges of growing up in New York City are compounded by the facts that they've lost their parents and it's up to eldest...

Each Kindness

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: E. B. Lewis

WINNER OF A CORETTA SCOTT KING HONOR AND THE JANE ADDAMS PEACE AWARD!

Each kindness makes the world a little better

This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team...




After Tupac and D Foster

By: Jacqueline Woodson

 A Newbery Honor Book

The day D Foster enters Neeka and her best friend’s lives, the world opens up for them. Suddenly they’re keenly aware of things beyond their block in Queens, things that are happening in the...

Peace, Locomotion

By: Jacqueline Woodson

The stunning companion to the National Book Award finalist--from a three-time Newbery Honor winning author

Twelve-year-old Lonnie is finally feeling at home with his foster family. But because he’s...

If You Come Softly

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he's going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don't exactly fit...


Beneath a Meth Moon

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Hurricane Katrina took her mother and granmother. And even though Laurel Daneau has moves on to a new life--one that includes a new best friend, a spot on the cheerleading squad, and dating the co-captain...

Brown Girl Dreaming

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson's National Book Award and Newbery Honor winner, now available in paperback with 7 all new poems.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems,...

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Three-time Newbery Honor author Jacqualine Woodson explores race and sexuality through the eyes of a compelling narrator

Melanin Sun has a lot to say. But sometimes it's hard to speak his mind,...


If You Come Softly and Behind You

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Visiting Day

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: James Ransome

In this moving picture book from multi-award winning author Jacqueline Woodson, a young girl and her grandmother prepare for a very special day--the one day a month they get to visit the girl's father...

Autobiography of a Family Photo

By: Jacqueline Woodson


The Other Side

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: E. B. Lewis

Clover's mom says it isn't safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups'...

Last Summer with Maizon

By: Jacqueline Woodson

Margaret loves her parents and hanging out with her best friend, Maizon. Then it happens, like a one-two punch, during the summer she turns eleven: first, Margaret's father dies of a heart attack, and then Maizon...