Brown Girl Dreaming Discussion Questions

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school in several states around the country.

'Brown Girl Dreaming' is the childhood memoir of author Jacqueline Woodson. In this book, students will read about Woodson's experiences growing up as an African American during the Civil Rights Movement.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Author Jacqueline Woodson creates a beautiful memoir of her childhood growing up in Ohio, New York and South Carolina during the peak of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Although the focus of the book is her life events, the reader cannot help but put this in the context of the greater events happening in America at the time. This book is suitable for middle and high school students and would work well in an English or history classroom.

This discussion guide is broken into three sections. The first section will have students examine the main events of the book, the following section will require students to think critically about what Woodson writes and the final section will have students look at the book within the broad historical context.

Plot Questions

  • The people and places are what make Woodson's story so unique. In your opinion, who were the most important people in each of the places where Woodson was raised? How did you pick these people?
  • What happened to Roman as a baby? Did this surprise you?
  • What are some of the negative events that happen to Jacqueline's family at the end of the book? What would it have been like to have these negative things happen one after another?

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