Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.
The critically acclaimed, prize-winning author Jacqueline Woodson joins us to talk about her career making unforgettable fiction out of the lives of ordinary young people. She’s author of more than 30 books for children, young adults and adults, and among her many honors is the 2014 National Book Award for her bestselling book Brown Girl Dreaming. Currently serving as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jacqueline Woodson sat down in the studio to talk with Miwa Messer about her extraordinary body of work and her latest novel for young readers, Harbor Me.
Jacqueline Woodson’s first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a group of students share their stories.
It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.