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Everyone needs to read Brown Girl Dreaming. It is beautiful. It is touching and heartbreaking and real. It is the memory of a girl growing up in Ohio, South Carolina and New York. It is about family, friends, religion, life and becoming a writer. It is from Jacqueline Woodson’s point of view as a young black girl in America, yet so much of it is universal. It is written in a poetic style which makes it quick and easy to read. But the messages are so poignant, it made me cry.

Here are a few of my favorite passages (I could have quoted the whole book, but I won’t).

Welcome home, my grandparents say.

Their warm brown


arms around us. A white handkerchief,

embroidered with blue

to wipe away my mother’s tears. And me,

the new baby, set deep

inside this love.”


“For now, my parents stand hugging

in the warm Carolina rain.

No past.

No future.

Just this perfect now.”


“You don’t need words

on a night like this. Just the warmth

of your grandfather’s arm. Just the silent promise

that the world as we know it

will always be here.”

One final piece:

“We look at the picture without talking.

Sometimes, I don’t know the words for things,

how to write down the feeling of knowing

that every dying person leaves something behind.”