Jacqueline Woodson
Marty Umans

Jacqueline Woodson

Bio

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

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson

Books

4/15/15

The 2015 Indies Choice Book Awards and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards winners were announced on Thursday.  Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books) won the E.B. White… Read more >

4/1/15

Finalists for the 2015 Indies Choice Book Awards and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards have been announced and include one title from Viking/Penguin and five Penguin Young Readers books, in the… Read more >

3/4/15

Congratulations to our 35th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Finalist: Stalin by Stephen Kotkin (Penguin Press) is a Biography Finalist. Stalin is the product of a decade of intrepid… Read more >

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