by Jacqueline Woodson


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A powerfully moving novel from a three-time Newbery Honor-winning author

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Evie Thomas is not who she used to be. Once she had a best friend, a happy home and a loving grandmother living nearby. Once her name was Toswiah.

Now, everything is different. Her family has been forced to move to a new place and change their identities. But that's not all that has changed. Her once lively father has become depressed and quiet. Her mother leaves teaching behind and clings to a new-found religion. Her only sister is making secret plans to leave.

And Evie, struggling to find her way in a new city where kids aren't friendly and the terrain is as unfamiliar as her name, wonders who she is.

Jacqueline Woodson weaves a fascinating portrait of a thoughtful young girl's coming of age in a world turned upside down

A National Book Award Finalist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142415511
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 01/07/2010
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 48,596
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.59(d)
Lexile: 640L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson ( is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and she received the 2018 Children's Literature Legacy Award. She is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DREAMING, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Her recent adult book, Another Brooklyn, was a National Book Award finalist. Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her books  include THE OTHER SIDE, EACH KINDNESS, Caldecott Honor Book COMING ON HOME SOON; Newbery Honor winners FEATHERS, SHOW WAY, and AFTER TUPAC AND D FOSTER, and MIRACLE'S BOYS—which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award and was adapted into a miniseries directed by Spike Lee. Jacqueline is also the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature, the winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and was the 2013 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "Hush"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Jacqueline Woodson.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide


Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She now writes full-time and has recently received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Her other awards include a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King award, 2 National Book Award finalists, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Although she spends most of her time writing, Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers and encouraging young people to write, spending time with her friends and her family, and sewing. Jacqueline Woodson currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.


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Why do you write for young adults?

I think it's an important age. My young adult years had the biggest impact on me of any period in my life and I remember so much about them. When I need to access the physical memories and/or emotional memories of that period in my life, it isn't such a struggle. And kids are great.

The issue of identity is central to the three books under discussion, yet each seems to approach this topic differently. Was this a deliberate choice on your part? What does each of these stories say about the teen characters and their struggles to define themselves?

Identity has always been an important and very relevant issue for me. For a lot of reasons, I've been 'assigned' many identities. From a very young age, I was being told what I was—black, female, slow, fast, a tomboy, stubborn—the list goes on and on. And this happens with many children as they are trying to become. So that by the time we're young adults, no wonder we're a mess!! There are so many ways we come to being who we are, so many ways in which we search for our true selves, so many varying circumstances around that search. No two people are alike but every young person is looking for definition. My journey as a writer has been to explore the many ways one gets to be who they are or who they are becoming.

Where did you get the idea for Hush?

Some years ago I read an article in the New York Times Magazine that started the seed for Hush. I did a good bit of research and just thought about the story for a long time before I started writing it. I kept asking "Who would I be if this happened to me? What would I have left?" It was devastating to think about but at the same time, it really made me grateful for all that I do have—all the people in my life who have been with me since childhood, my family, my pets, everything.

What do you do differently, if anything, when you tell a story from a male perspective?

When I'm writing from a male perspective, I try to imagine myself as a boy and I really try to remember as much as I can about the guys I knew and know. It's very different than creating girl characters but I love the challenge of it.

Although these are very different stories, they each reflect what can happen to African Americans when they are impacted by the criminal justice system. What do you want your readers to understand about this?

I don't really know what I want readers to understand. I know what it helps me to understand—that the criminal justice system has historically not worked for African-Americans, that the percentage of people of color as compared to whites in jail, killed by cops, racially profiled and constantly singled out is unbalanced. I want the system to be different and the only way that it can change is if the way our society looks at race changes. And the only way that can happen is if people really start paying attention and making a decision to create change.

  1. Describe Evie's life in Denver before her father witnessed the shooting. Why is her real name so important to her?
  2. How did her mother become involved with religion? Why?
  3. Why does her grandmother refuse to leave Denver?
  4. Why is it so important for Evie's father to testify in this case? What other actions could he have taken?
  5. Contrast Evie's home in Denver with her family's new home.
  6. Each member of the family leaves something important behind when they are forced to leave Denver. Describe what each leaves behind and why it matters.
  7. Why does Evie decide to join the track team and why does she keep it a secret?
  8. Anna decides to try to gain admittance to a college that will accept her before she graduates. Why is this important to her? What impact will this have on her family? On Evie?
  9. How are Evie and her father able to reach each other again? What understanding does Evie gain when she is able to finally speak openly with her father again?

Customer Reviews

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Hush 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book Hush it is a book that teens can relate to without getting tired of reading it every chapter makes you want to read more and more I will keep in touch with her books because they all have a meaning to them that I can never forget.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this in school and i was in a book group so I was only allowed to read a certain number of chapters at a time but i wanted to keep reading, I could not stop! Read it! By Ever
Schuman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a 12-year old girl, Toswiah, living in Denver and loving life until one day when everything changes. Her dad, a black police officer, witnesses two white police officers shoot a young black boy and agrees to testify against them. The family enters the witness protection program and Toswiah must leave everybody and everything she know, including her name, which is now Evie. "Evie" hates California and hates her new school as she doesn't seem to fit in until finally she finds something that she likes and is good at, track.This was well written and deals with growing up and trying to fit in, in a new town and a new school. I think kids can relate to Toswiah and her struggles and finally her success.I think this book is great for middle-school girls. I think that it shows that we all have insecurities and that we really aren't alone.
TeriHogg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imagine that you are a 12-year old girl and you discover one day that you have to change your name. Toswiah Green loves her life in Denver. Everything changes the day her dad, a black police officer, witnesses two white police officers shoot a young black male and agrees to testify against them. After death threats and gunshot through their window, the family enters the witness protection program. Toswiah is now Evie. When you have to lie about who you are, who your family is, and forget where you came from, how do you start over? There are no easy answers and Toswiah/Evie walks the reader in narrated flashbacks through her experience and slowly allows us to wonder. The other question it leaves is would you do the right thing knowing that others will also pay the price? The family storyline ends in a place that fills unfinished and wished the author had resolved it better. The audio voice actor reads in a lyrical way that draws the listener in. Highly recommended. While this book is geared toward ages 9-12, the textual phrasing is better suited for ages 12-14.
KarriesKorner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's hard enough being an adolescent young girl trying to find yourself, but imagine that you had to forget who you used to be in order to remember who you are now. Evie has a rough road to navigate and figure out when her family goes into the witness protection program after her dad witnesses a crime.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Everything this author writes is wonderful! She is a Newbery honor and medal winner, a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, and Hush is a National Book Award finalist.When Toswiah Green's father does the right thing, the family is suddenly, dramatically turned upside down.As the only black policeman on the force, her father felt accepted and affirmed by his fellow officers. When he received an award for outstanding bravery, his co-workers applauded and stood by his side.When he witnessed two of his team mates kill a young black man, he took the high road and morally, ethically made the decision to testify against them.His co-workers abandoned him and he and his family were exposed to death threats and torment.The Green family became part of the witness protection program and left all traces of their previous life behind.Told from the point of view of Toswiah, we watch as her father descends into deep depression and her mother embraces fundamental religion.Life in a new school is difficult and the longing for what was left behind is sad and powerful.This is a strong story of identify and of the consequences of doing the right thing.Highly recommended!Edit | More
NataliaLucia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Personal Response: This book is amazing! I was brought to tears several times by Toswiah's/Evie's story. I really belive that a lot of adolescents can identify with this character.Curricular Connection: 6th graders could read this book over the course of two weeks and keep a journal of their readings. Students could write 500 word essays on the role of identity in the story.
jmchshannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Many bloggers have been touting Ms. Woodson and her writing for months now, so I knew I had to pick up at least one of her works. I am proud to say that my fellow bloggers are not wrong. Hush was every bit as phenomenal as they said it would be. It goes without saying that being a pre-teen and having to start a new life completely and utterly is both painful and torturous. This is the obvious point of the novel. What Ms. Woodson does is to go beyond the obvious. What gives us our identity? Is it our name? Our family? Our birthplace? The color of our skin? Is it one thing or many? More importantly, should it be one thing or many?Hush identifies the poignant and painful journey Evie takes to discover just who she is at a time in her life when she was already struggling to do so. It is dramatic in its simplicity while confusion, loneliness and questioning ooze from every word. Added to that, Ms. Woodson adds the undercurrent of tension in regards to the decisions made by Evie's father, further complicating her desire to discover who she is.Hush is a quick read, clocking in at 180 pages, but it is one that stays with you for a long time as you ponder what identity truly means. I highly recommend this simple but thought-provoking novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It suspenceful book that you should read. It teaches you a different piont of view. That you never seen
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book title and author: Hush, Jacqueline Woodson Title of review: 8th Grade, Ritchie County Middle School; great book Number of stars (1 to 5): Introduction Jacqueline Woodson yet again shows of her brilliance in her book entitled Hush. Woodson creates a reality of the Green family's troubles and dilemmas. Description and summary of main points Toswiah Green has her whole world flipped upside down when her father chooses to testify against a fellow policeman. Toswiah and her family are forced to change their identity, but this is the least of her problems. The Greens were forced to keep quiet about everything going on in their lives. Evaluation I love how the book was such an unusual situation. The majority of the book was unexpected. Conclusion Woodson produces an amazing piece of work. Your final review This book was very touching. I definitely recommend this book, and this author.
otulissa More than 1 year ago
this book is good for younger readers. I personally found it a bit dull when comapred to the other books I've read and felt it could use deeper characters. The main character is likable and you do feel sorry for her as she wacthed her family fall apart.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an outstanding book. I read it from the library. I could not even return it. I think that it is important for young people and has a great moral to it.