WHM: Jacqueline Woodson

WHM: Jacqueline Woodson

Marley Dias, Editorials and Politics Editor

Jacqueline Woodson is an American author of some of the most influential and celebrated books of the 21st century, known for the titles such as Brown Girl Dreaming, Before the Ever After, and Another Brooklyn. She is the winner of the illustrious Hans Christian Andersen Award, Newberry Honor Medal, and Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. 

Although born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963, Woodson was raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York. According to Woodson, she was living in “a country caught between Black and White.” In 1963, the South was full of civil unrest, and the experiences of Black people were full of strife, oppression, and violent racism. In her popular memoir written in verse called Brown Girl Dreaming, she details her family’s experiences and the complications of black identity in an even more complex world.

Because of her lying habit as a child, a teacher encouraged her to write down these lies as stories. In an interview about lying in service of truth, Woodson shared the impact this interaction has had on her. “That’s one of the things I go back to, is that moment where my stories became legitimized, right? They weren’t something that I wasn’t supposed to do anymore. They became fiction.” 

Woodson’s fiction has become some of the most dominant and loved storytelling since she has published over 30 books since 1990. Her consistent dedication to the intersectional and diversity of Black experiences has helped educate and empower millions of readers.