Many congratulations to Jacqueline Woodson on winning the Young People's Literature Award of The National Book Award for her autobiographical book in verse Brown Girl Dreaming. The book has been taking the children's lit world by storm receiving many starred reviews and now this win. Earlier this month I was lucky enough to see her speak at NYLA where she accepted the YSS Empire State Award which honors an author who resides in New York State.
Woodson spoke about how seriously she takes her job as a writer saying, "It is our role as gatekeepers of opportunity and experience to allow young people to grow up and allow them to be more than other think they will be." Woodson also spoke about the importance of literature acting as mirrors and windows for readers, "Children need to see themselves in the pages of the books but also need windows to see into the lives of other people. Wealthy white people, poor people, Asian people. To understand and grow up and love." With Brown Girl Dreaming she shares memories of her life as a child. She told the audience at NYLA that she wrote thirty drafts of this book before she could let it out into the world. Congratulations!