Meet the Author

Jacqueline Woodson

Portrait of Jacqueline Woodson

Although she was born in Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in South Carolina and in Brooklyn, New York, where she still lives. When she was a child, her Brooklyn neighbors were mostly Hispanic and African American. "Everything from the food I grew up eating to the music I learned to dance to had the flavors of both the South and Puerto Rico," she remembers. This background has served her well as a writer because the characters in her fiction are from a variety of ethnic groups and social classes.

Woodson often writes about difficult issues that young people face and characters who feel out of place. "I think, growing up, I felt like I was on the outside a lot; and I think, as a grownup, I've… realized that it's okay to be on the outside," she says. If she has a single message to share with readers, it's that "no matter who you are in the world, it's okay to be who you are."

Jacqueline Woodson's advice to young writers is this: "Write every single day, at least for thirty minutes — just sit down and write in your diary or write a letter to a friend or write a poem or anything, but just try to practice writing every day." She also recommends reading books by writers you admire.

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Other Books Written by Jacqueline Woodson

  • Martin Luther King, Jr., and His Birthday
  • Maizon at Blue Hill
  • The Dear One
  • Between Madison and Palmetto