August 11, 2021 7:34 AM EDT

Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson’s highly lauded collection of free-verse poems about her childhood in New York and South Carolina, has language simple enough to be accessible to tweens and young teenagers and more than enough complexity to engage older readers. The winner of a Newbery Honor, NAACP Image Award, National Book Award and Coretta Scott King Award, Brown Girl Dreaming presents the story of Woodson’s experiences living with the remnants of Jim Crow during the 1960s and 1970s. The author confronts issues like faith, racism and sexual abuse using the elegant, spare language and powerful imagery she has come to be known for. —Shay Maunz

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