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Vermont Humanities Selects Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming for Vermont Reads 2017

cover-sealThe Vermont Humanities Council has selected the award-winning memoir Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson as its Vermont Reads book for 2017.

A statewide one-book community reading program that began in 2003, Vermont Reads marks its fifteenth year in 2017. VHC provides books for free to communities through an application process as well as resources for developing community book-related activities.

A memoir of the author’s childhood written in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming tells the story of a young person finding her voice while examining the strength of family bonds. The book won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2014. It also received the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award. The New York Times called Brown Girl Dreaming “a book full of poems that cry out to be learned by heart. These are poems that will, for years to come, be stored in our bloodstream.”

“Raised in South Carolina and New York, I always felt halfway home in each place,” said author Jacqueline Woodson. “In [Brown Girl Dreaming], I share what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and my growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. It also reflects the joy of finding my voice through writing stories, despite the fact that I struggled with reading as a child. My love of stories inspired and stayed with me, creating the first sparks of the writer that I was to become.”

Vermont Reads brings people together in communities around the state to read, discuss, and build activities around the book—promoting community-building, open dialogue, inter-generational exchange, a focus on the humanities, and literacy.

Woodson’s book offers many opportunities for rich community events and activities such as book discussions, dramatic readings, forums on racism in the U.S. and Vermont, explorations of family history, poetry and memoir writing workshops, and more. Vermont Public Radio, the Vermont Reads media partner, will air features that offer excellent opportunities for further discussion (air dates and times will be publicized when made final).

Renewable NRG Systems of Hinesburg (formerly NRG Systems) is the underwriter of the 2017 Vermont Reads program; they have underwritten the program since 2007. The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation also supports the program.

A brief application, submitted by a school, library, service organization, church, business, environmental group, or other community-based organization, is all it takes to get started. Deadlines for applying are December 2, 2016 and June 2, 2017 for priority consideration. Communities will receive up to 75 books, based on the strength of their application, as well as multiple resource and publicity materials. To apply, visit vtreads.org or contact Mike Dougherty, or 802.262.1355.

About Vermont Reads

2017 marks the 15th year of the Vermont Reads program, in which the Vermont Humanities Council invites citizens across the state to read the same book and participate in a wide variety of community activities related to the book’s themes.

Two hundred different Vermont towns and cities have participated in Vermont Reads to date. Schools, libraries, service organizations, churches, businesses, or other community-based organizations can start by filling out a brief application.

About Vermont Humanities Council

Vermont Humanities Council is a private nonprofit working to bring the power and the pleasure of the humanities to all Vermonters—of every background and in every community. The Council strives to make Vermont a state in which every individual reads, participates in public affairs, and continues to learn throughout life. Because Ideas Matter.