Jacqueline Woodson. Photo: Marty
Jacqueline Woodson is an American author, born in
1963 and residing in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of
more than thirty books, including novels, poetry and picture
books. She writes primarily for young teens, but also for
children and adults. One of her most lauded books is the award
winning autobiographical Brown Girl Dreaming (2014).
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world's largest
award for children's and young adult literature. The award
amounts to 5 million Swedish krona (approx. $613,000 or EUR 500
000) and is given annually to a single laureate or to several.
The citation of the jury reads:
“Jacqueline Woodson introduces us to resilient young people
fighting to find a place where their lives can take root. In
language as light as air, she tells stories of resounding
richness and depth. Jacqueline Woodson captures a unique poetic
note in a daily reality divided between sorrow and hope.”
Jacqueline Woodson frequently writes about teens making the
transition from childhood to adult life. Masterful
characterization and a deep understanding of the adolescent
psyche are hallmarks of her work. Her books are written in the
first person, usually from a female point of view. Racism,
segregation, economic injustice, social exclusion, prejudice and
sexual identity are all recurring themes. In January she was
named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in the
“It’s important to hold up mirrors for kids to see their
experience is legitimate. Too often those mirrors aren’t there
for them,” says Woodson.
Woodson made her authorial debut in 1990 with Last Summer With
Maizon, the first book in a trilogy about a friendship between
two girls. The Dear One, a story about teen pregnancy, came out
the same year. After Tupac and D Foster (2008) is a story about
the meaning of everything, about freedom and realizing that all
is not what it seems. Passionate, lightning-bolt love is
portrayed in If You Come Softly (1998). In Beneath A Meth Moon
(2012), the fifteen-year-old protagonist must face uncomfortable
memories to leave her past behind and break free of a drug
In Brown Girl Dreaming, a free-verse memoir for which she
received the prestigious National Book Award, Woodson not only
describes her own childhood in South Carolina and later New
York, but also shines a light on African-American history. The
young Jacqueline grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, decades marked
in the US by civil rights marches, police brutality and violence.
The book’s detailed descriptions of characters and settings
reveal fault lines in society, pointing out the differences
between different groups. Woodson’s most recent novel, Another
Brooklyn, published in 2016 and a National Book Award nominee,
portrays the fascination and challenges of growing up as a young
girl in the Brooklyn of the 1970s.
Her books have been translated into more than ten
languages.Woodson’s many honours include the Laura Ingalls
Wilder Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Newbery
A complete list of Jacqueline Woodson’s works is at www.alma.se/en
under the heading Laureates.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be presented by H.R.H.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden in a ceremony at the Stockholm
Concert Hall on May 28, 2018.