At the final presentation of the 2018 SPEAK: An Explorative Lecture Series, it was announced that Jacqueline Woodson would be a part of the upcoming 2019 series. The room burst into cheers and applause, and Jason Reynolds, the author speaking that evening, remarked how awesome it was that EVPL was bringing Woodson to Evansville.
When Heather McNabb, Engagement and Experience Officer, recognized the possibilities of a year-long lecture series focusing on an issue in our community back in 2017, this was the vision that she was working towards. A community excited and engaged with what was coming next in the SPEAK series. A conversation brewing in our community about topics, authors, and issues that are universal to our residents. That applause and cheering with the announcement that Jacqueline Woodson was coming to our city started a buzz that hasn’t stopped.
On Wednesday, June 12, Woodson will be at the Aiken Theatre at Old National Events Plaza at 6:00 pm to discuss the numerous books that she has authored. If you are not familiar with Jacqueline Woodson, you are in luck because she has books for ALL ages. Picture books to read with your child, middle grade books for your child to read as they grow and start to read on their own, realistic titles for teens to relate to, and even adult books for us older readers. Woodson has become a voice on family, race, and life in our country.
The first book I ever read by Woodson was in library school for an assignment. I picked up Miracle’s Boys because I was required to read an award-winning book for the report. Woodson won the Coretta Scott King award in 2001 for this novel about three brothers’ journey after the death of their mother. The twelve-year-old narrator tells the story about his life with his brothers, a fifteen-year-old released from a juvenile detention center, and the oldest brother who gave up a scholarship to MIT to take care of his family. It was a moving introduction to Jacqueline Woodson.
Since that assignment, I have continued to read Woodson’s books. The list of honors for her books would take up multiple pages of this guide! Brown Girl Dreaming, published in 2014, won the National Book Award, NAACP Image Award, Newbery Award, Coretta Scott King Award, and numerous others.
I encourage you to pick up a copy of any – or all! – of Woodson’s books at an EVPL location and join us for amazing evening on June 12. I hope to see you there!
SPEAK: An Explorative Lecture Series is a lecture and discussion series that brings in authors and thought leaders. EVPL hopes to further our vision of communities united through shared exploration and understanding by supporting and encouraging conversation through the SPEAK initiative.