Publication Order of Standalone Novels
|Last Summer with Maizon||(1990)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Dear One||(1991)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Maizon At Blue Hill||(1992)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Between Madison & Palmetto||(1993)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This||(1994)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Autobiography Of A Family Photo||(1995)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|From The Notebooks Of Melanin Sun||(1995)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The House You Pass On The Way||(1997)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|If You Come Softly ...||(1998)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Lena||(1999)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Miracle's Boys||(2000)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Hush||(2002)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Locomotion||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Behind You||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Feathers||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|After Tupac and D Foster||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Peace, Locomotion||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|If You Come Softly and Behind You||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Beneath a Meth Moon||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Brown Girl Dreaming||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Another Brooklyn||(2016)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Publication Order of Collections
|No Such Thing as the Real World (with An Na, M T Anderson, K L Going, Beth Kephart and Chris Lynch)||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Publication Order of Picture Books
|Martin Luther King, Jr.||(1990)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past||(1998)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Sweet, Sweet Memory||(2000)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Other Side||(2001)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Our Gracie Aunt||(2001)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Visiting Day||(2001)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Coming On Home Soon||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Miss Grace's House||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Show Way||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Pecan Pie Baby||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Each Kindness||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|This Is the Rope||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
When it comes to basics, many 101 courses on writing will tell you that a writer simply writes what he knows. This is a rule that persists for centuries and it is the one that is heavily relied on. It makes sense when you come to think of it- it is natural that you will be more likely to write about the world you have experienced, touched, saw, heard and try to dissect it, rather than make up a new one. Then again, there are writers such as Jacqueline Woodson, a creator who says that she used to lie a lot and tell made-up stories to her friends and watch them rise in awe as they heard her spectacular creations. Of course, the term “lying” itself is taken in a benign sense- anybody who knows Woodson’s work knows that she has created some of the most endearing and beautiful children and young adults books. The awards that she won are almost impossible to count. The impact that she has been making through her work can not be measured. After all, The American Library Association chose her to bring May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, an honor not given to many writers. This is a story about Woodson- how she came to be so successful, so influential and such a beloved author.
Jacqueline Woodson was born on February 12, 1963, in Columbus. However, Ohio was not the place where she was raised and got her education. Woodson actually spent her childhood in South Carolina- Greenville, to be more specific, and this is the place from which she drew a great portion of her inspiration for her work. This is the place where she began “lying” and writing stories. First successful work of hers was a poem which got her a praise from the teacher and a game of scrabble. Greenville was not the only place that influenced Woodson- she also spent a part of her childhood in Brooklyn. New York was where she got her degree as she graduated from Adelphi University and got a B.A. in English. After she finished her studies, Woodson got a job as a therapist for runaway children. This is also important for her career.
It is symptomatic that the heroes of her novels are misfits who are dealing with the difficult life situations and have to bring numerous difficult decisions. A job that she got in a children packaging company induced her to start writing. Thus in 1990 her first middle-grade novel “Last Summer with Maizon” was published. In the same year, she also published her first young adult novel called “The Dear One”. From that point, Woodson’s career only went up. In 1994 she received her first award as she won “Coretta Scott King Honor” for her work on “I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This”. This was just a first drop in the sea of awards that Woodson would gather in years to come. Nevertheless, it is probably best to say that she received a wide acclaim when “Miracle’s Boys” came out. This novel was an absolute hit and it secured Woodson another “Coretta Scott King Award” as well as “ALA Best Book for Young Adults”. Years of success followed, and in 2014, Woodson wrote another novel that changed the perspective of the mIddle-grade literature. It was “Brown Girl Dreaming”, a novel in verse, whose unique narrative and theme brought Woodson the “Newbery Honor Award”- one of the most important recognitions in the world of world literature.
And indeed, it is really difficult to list all the awards that Woodson received throughout the course of her fruitful career. When it comes to the greatest awards, they include the aforementioned “Newbery Honor Award”, three “Coretta Scott King” recognitions, five “ALA Best Books for Young Adults”, “Margaret Edwards Award” in 2006 and “National Book Award for Young People’s Literature” in 2014. It is virtually impossible to mention all the other awards that this talented author won, but one gets the idea of the magnitude of her work. “Miracle’s Boys” was even adapted to the mini-series directed by Spike Lee and LeVar Burton among the others. It premiered in 2005 and was nominated for several “Black Reels Awards”.
If one is asked to single out one or two novels by Jacqueline Woodson, he or she would be put in front of a strenuous task. Nonetheless, if we look at her career, perhaps it would be best to talk about the two novels that marked her career in terms of popularity and recognitions- “Miracle’s Boys” and “Brown Girl Dreaming”. Let’s start with the former. “Miracle’s Boys” was published in 2000. It deals with the life of three siblings- Ty’ree, Charlie, and Lafayette as they struggle to make ends meet after the death of their parents. Their father died from hypothermia as he tried to save a woman in the lake, and their mother died due to insulin shock. As Charlie is in correction facility, Ty’ree, the oldest brother, takes care of Lafayette, the youngest one, and himself. They struggle in the world of uncertainty, and every new day presents them with new challenges as to how to stay afloat. Things get worse as Charlie comes home and disrupts the relative stability that existed between Ty’ree and Lafayette. There is not much of a plot in the novel- the focus is put on the dynamic of the relationship between the siblings. Moreover, there are no female characters- a conscious decision by Woodson. This cringing novel poses many important questions and redefines the family values as its members face the poverty and life-threatening situations.
“Brown Girl Dreaming” is a young adult novel published in 2014. What characterizes it is the fact that it is written in verse. It is Woodson’s autobiographical account of her childhood in Ohio and South Carolina in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It is needless to say of what importance this period is, and Woodson knows this as she presents the reader with a sincere depiction of a child growing up in the insecure world of racial segregation and hatred as the new winds of freedom start to blow. No wonder this novel won the “Newbery Award”.
Jacqueline Woodson often cites Toni Morrison as one of her prevailing influences. As things are going at the moment, she might join her in the great book of literary geniuses. There are not many writers who did so much on depicting the world of racial minorities, their struggles, but also the problems of young people as they step into the world of adults. And let’s not forget Woodson’s devotion to the rights of LGBT population. Many people do not achieve this in a lifetime. Woodson is still going strong.Book Series In Order » Authors » Jacqueline Woodson