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Jacqueline Woodson

Children's Author

Jacqueline Woodson writes picture books (The Other Side) as well as books for middle graders (Locomotion) and young adults (Hush). She tackles tough issues head-on: race relations, foster care, and incarceration are just some of the issues that her characters confront. In 2014, Woodson won the National Book Award for young people’s literature, the Newbery Honor, and the Coretta Scott King Award for her memoir-in-verse, Brown Girl Dreaming.

In 2018, Woodson was inaugurated as the sixth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress. During her tenure (2018-2019), Woodson will travel nationwide over the course of her two-year term promoting her platform, “READING = HOPE x CHANGE (What’s Your Equation?),” which encourages young people to think about how reading can help them create the hope and the change they want to see in the world. And in 2020, Woodson was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (the “genius grant”).


Born 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, two Coretta Scott King awards, two National Book Award finalists, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

In 2014, Woodson was named the young people’s poet laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

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.

TED Talk: What reading slowly taught me about writing

Reading slowly — with her finger running beneath the words, even when she was taught not to — has led Jacqueline Woodson to a life of writing books to be savored. In a lyrical talk, she invites us to slow down and appreciate stories that take us places we never thought we’d go and introduce us to people we never thought we’d meet. “Isn’t that what this is all about — finding a way, at the end of the day, to not feel alone in this world, and a way to feel like we’ve changed it before we leave?” she asks.

Books by this author