Jacqueline Woodson lives in Brooklyn and grew up in the South and then in Bushwick. She is a writer of books for all ages, and her touch is very profound. She is a writer that makes you cry for others, for yourself, for the world. She says on her website that she once wrote a book in two weeks; the next one took four years. My favorite book of hers is I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You. It reminded me of growing up in a place where there wasn’t much protection and friendship was the only stability there was. Here is a summary:
Marie and Lena are both motherless. Marie is black and well off. Lena is white and poor. And in the small town of Chauncey, Ohio blacks and whites don’t mix. But Lena and Marie become friends anyway. One of them has a terrible secret and the other must decide—Is it best to keep it? Or should she tell someone fast?
WHERE IT TAKES PLACE: In the small town of Chauncey, Ohio
WHERE I WROTE IT: Provincetown, Massachusetts and Brooklyn, New York.
WHY I WROTE IT: I wanted to write a novel about friendship and in it, I wanted to show how destructive racism and classism can be. I also wanted to write about the “secret” in the book—to say to young readers—”Don’t be afraid. You are not alone.”
AWARDS: Coretta Scott King
What is your favorite Jacqueline Woodson book? If you haven’t read her, I recommend I Hadn’t Meant to tell you This, Brown Girl Dreaming, Locomotion, and Beneath a Meth Moon.