brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson | Audiobook Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson | Audiobook ReviewBrown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Narrator: Jacqueline Woodson
Length: 3 Hours 55 Minutes
Also by this author: Peace, Locomotion, Outer Order, Inner Calm
Published by Penguin on 2014-08-28
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Juvenile Nonfiction, Literary, Prejudice & Racism, Social Issues, Women
Pages: 336
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

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. Praise for Jacqueline Woodson: Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story . . . but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times Book Review

Why Did I Listen To This Book?

I feel like among YA book bloggers, Jacqueline Woodson’s books are underrated. She has this way of evoking real life imagery and writes interesting contemporary stories featuring children of color. I absolutely love her books — or at least the three that I have read, to the point of making one of my typical 24 hour readathon traditions to read a Woodson book. That’s another thing, all of her books are super fast reads. I picked up brown girl dreaming at BEA because it’s about Woodson’s life, it’s a verse book, and part of it takes place in New York City, also because #weneeddiversebooks. I decided to go for the audiobook version because I knew listening would allow me to get to the book faster rather than have the book just languish on my pile.

What’s The Story Here?

I think that the official summary on Goodreads describes what brown girl dreaming is about best. It’s a memoir in verse about Woodson’s childhood. When we start the book, her parents are still together, she has an older brother and sister. Then, her parents separate and she moves with her siblings to her grandparent’s place in South Carolina. Her mother ends up going to New York City. And so, what unfolds is a story of Woodson discovering the magic of a blank composition notebook and of words. Woodson lives in New York City and in South Carolina, in a world that is changing – as she grows up in the shadow of the Civil Rights Movement and Jim Crow laws. Brown girl dreaming is a quick, engaging read about a relatively interesting author.

What Did I Ultimately Think Of brown girl dreaming?

As per usual, I loved Woodson’s writing and book. None of the previous books that I’ve read written by her were told in verse, so this was a nice change. I thought the verse worked so well for her personal story. I loved that there were some hard moments, but at the same time there is this pulse of hope that beats throughout the whole story. In all this is such an inspiring book to read and one that I would recommend to any young child.

How’s The Narration?

Brown girl dreaming is narrated by Jacqueline Woodson. Normally, I don’t go all in for author narrations because I just think that professional narrators are trained for what they do and provide a certain level of quality that I expect from the audiobooks that I listen to. I did not mind Woodson’s narration of brown girl dreaming. Her cadence was interesting and helped to make the verses flow. This was a short audiobook and one that I listened to in the span of about a day or so. I think ultimately Woodson’s brown girl dreaming is a great read no matter the format that you decide to experience it – whether through print or audio.

Sum It Up With A GIF:

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Hey! I’ve been so slack on blog reading but I was so thrilled to see you have a JWoodson up today! So I won’t write a novel right here but we had a big move across NC recently and since we aren’t really settled in, we are doing homeschooling and because of this I am reading what L, G, and J are reading even more than ever before. (Where The Red Fern Grows re-read right now, LOVE THIS) This is awesome and I love it, actually. Middle grade everywhere! Anyway, Greta loves this author and has read from the Locomotion series but I have never read any of her books! BUT to 1) go along with US History 2) to expose them to more verse and 3) ALWAYS expose more award-winning/honors authors: this one sounds awesome. I’ll be watching for this one and I’m so glad that you talked about this one today!!

  2. I really want to read this book, but haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m glad to hear that you really liked Woodson’s narration. I’m always a little skeptical of authors narrating their own books. I’m adding the audiobook to my TBR pile!

  3. I’ve been thinking of picking this one up since it popped up (most gorgeously) on shelves. I’m so glad you loved it! I think I may actually go for it in print though (shocking) because of the formatting…I’ve only read a couple of books in verse, and I’m not sure how I’d do on audio.

  4. I remember you mentioning Brown Girl Dreaming at BEA! It sounds like a really great novel, and I’m particularly interested in the fact that it’s told in verse. I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed it, and I do think that Woodson’s story sounds pretty dang compelling. Definitely planning to check it out for myself!


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