Skip to main content

tv   In Depth In Depth with Jacqueline Woodson  CSPAN  September 2, 2018 11:59am-3:01pm EDT

11:59 am
around the world and i think that doom would be essentially, chaos would be a situation where if you went to your country , looked at the united states as a beacon of freedom and liberty and progress and improvement and living standards and human progress and prosperity. >> thank you for presenting an optimistic vision of what could happen and a few things to help make it happen. >> absolutely, thank you. >> if you'd like to view other "after words" programs online, go to our website at all previous "after words" episodes will be available. >>. >> c-span: where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television
12:00 pm
companies today we continue to bring youunfiltered coverage of congress, the white house , the supreme court and public policy events in washington dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider . and now, live on tv, our year-long fiction addition of indexcontinues . >> .. >> host: jacqueline woodson, from your most recent book "harbor me," described haley. >> guest: haley is a young girl. i would call a kind of a tween. she is biracial, redheaded. being raised by her uncle and
12:01 pm
introspective. she thinks a lot about life and where she is in this moment in time. she has a best friend holly and she was my favorite character when i was writing the book. i developed the other one but she is the main character in "harbor me." >> host: why is she being raised by her uncle? >> guest: because her father is incarcerated and her mom has passed away. for uncle is our fathers brother who gets custody of her. >> host: is he white or black? >> guest: white. her mom was black. >> host: along the cover is a silhouette of six kids, twins i guess. who are they? >> guest: on the cover are an african-american boy. there's ashton who is a white kid who moved from connecticut. there is holly who's african-american, and, one from puerto rico and one from
12:02 pm
dominican republic, all from the dominican republic and they are all in the same class. >> host: where do they live? >> guest: brooklyn and crown heights which is an interesting section right now, for those of you who don't know, it's changing very fast. just to be a predominantly caribbean neighborhood, caribbean and african american, and it's changing. i don't like to use the word gentrifying because i think all neighborhoods are gentrified. good people live there but people with more money are moving in, people with less my eye getting pushed out. >> host: how long have you been in brooklyn and how much change of using? >> guest: since i was about six or seven years old. i grew up in the neighborhood of bushwick which i moved into what is on the edge of white light, white folks from moving up. i can let you folks are moving in. and now it was a predominantly black and latino neighborhood, and now the block i lived on as
12:03 pm
a child is probably predominantly white again because bushwick swung the other way became this kind of hipster neighborhood. same with the neighborhood i live in now which is park slope. in the '70s it was a large caribbean population there. people came in, worked many jobs, bought homes. in the '90s people from the upper west side started moving to the neighborhood. by the 2000s it was considered the best place to live in new york by some magazine competent people from all over started moving. on the block with a we are a mixed race them but the only fan of color on our block. >> host: so these six kids, they are misfits, is that fair? >> guest: how you define in this that? >> host: i will let you do that. i will let you challenge what i said. >> guest: i think that to me
12:04 pm
the six of the most phenomenal kids i've ever met, or treated. they are definitely on the outside of a lot of peoples experiences. there on, they learn differently that other people and i think for people who don't understand young people, to learn differently or think differently, initial thing is to other than in some way and that be either brilliance and the beauty. for me they are six brilliant beautiful kids who are trying to get to the childhood in america. >> host: and, but they were other, by the system? >> guest: they were other by schoolmates, yes. the system tries to step outside of itself. is it successful? sometimes it is, sometimes they believe with what the system is saying to them. and at the same time with the
12:05 pm
help of each other they are beginning to resist that and understand who they are. >> host: one of the themes is when estimates as i think they took poppy. >> guest: i think they took poppy. ester bonds bad goes missing. he works in a factory, he's undocumented. he comes home to his wife and son and daughter every night and then when nike doesn't come home. when the book opens, he says i think they took my poppy. we come to find out that his father has been taken by ice and is in the process of getting deported. which throws a whole shift in his whole family because now they're having to move in with cousins. he doesn't have his dad anymore. from longtime he time ago so where his father is so he is
12:06 pm
struggling. he cares this kid who was this other kind of kid and suddenly he's introverted and sad and not communicative. and eventually we find out where his father is, and his father starts senator heitkamp poetry here because before his father was a bad he was a poet. >> host: jacqueline woodson,, throughout all of her work, we have a stack here, poetry plays a role. >> guest: yes, it does. i think i couldn't be a writer without poetry. as a young person i was afraid of it. i thought it was kind of hidden code that i wasn't meant to understand and as i discovered poets and the lyricism of poetry i began to realize how much it matter to me.
12:07 pm
all the way submit works with the narrative. when i'm writing i'm reading everything up right out loud. i'm trying to hear how it sounds in the world as well as paying attention to outlooks on the page. i'm trying to lend the poetic part and the narrative part. >> host: when you write a book like "harbor me," do you base it on real life events going on? is that how you grew this story? >> guest: i feel like "harbor me" has been coming to me for a long time. i think would look at the book now i think of it as current events but the things that event happening to those young people have been happening in our country for a very long time. the issues of deportation, of mass incarceration, the troubling history of what happens to young brown boys in this country, everything.
12:08 pm
the of the ring of who learn differently. what happened with "harbor me" is i'm constantly trying to figure stuff out complex would refine the hope in this? when we find the hope when we look around and everything happening feel so negative. and i began to write these children into existence and right that hope in their lives. someone can look at and say these are written from headlines. maybe the headlines of 1990, 1980, 1970, 1950 but they are histories of people for a long time. >> host: why do you think you write for young adults and children? >> guest: because someone told me that to i write for. i think the literature is for anyone who comes to it. i think it's told from the perspective of young people and that is what makes it marketed
12:09 pm
as a literature for young people, right? when you look at "another brooklyn," the girls are 15, 16 and a book but it's been told from point of view of an adult so that makes it adult fiction. whereas "harbor me" is been told from the point of your as ten, 11, 12 year old. and i feel like that's where have the most memory, between the ages of seven and 17. i can mind my own experiences and bring them to the experiences of my character. like so many writers you choose the age you are stuck in to write from. a lot of people will write characters in their 30s or characters in their 20s. for me it was characters between seven and like 17 maybe. >> host: who are the girls in another brooklyn? >> guest: silvia, and john, dg and august. they're going in bushwick in the
12:10 pm
1970s. >> host: and? >> guest: and they are coming of age against the backdrop of what it means to be black, what it needs to be female, what it means to have your parents back stories laid upon you in a way that you kind of want to resist. what it means to deal with mortality, , and mentally ill is to some extent. what it means to deal with a life in which your narrative is not believed. all your narrative is something that doesn't feel like it can actually exist. when you have a character like gg who once to be an entertainer and the world kind of doesn't believe that come but the interesting thing about "another brooklyn" is its poetry, it's nonfiction and it is fiction. so all the stuff about bushwick in the 1970s is true. i went back and researched it.
12:11 pm
i went to the brooklyn historical society and did some research. i read articles. i remembered stuff for my own childhood in bushwick so that's nonfiction. so white flight, the blackout, i don't know if i get the garbage strike in there but all the stuff that was happening in that neighborhood during that time is true and then we have the four girls which is the fiction. i made up these characters and gave them different lives. then we have poetry which is the way the book is written with a white face, and the pauses, the place was asking the reader to just take a breath and absorb it and not just try to race through this book because there's a lot going on in it. >> host: you keep bringing up brooklyn and this is a tweet by deborah taylor, one of our viewers, who wants to know can you discuss the importance of place in your work? >> guest: yell-- yeah, i can.
12:12 pm
thanks for tweeting. place plays a huge role. my books are usually character driven, and after i have a sense the character that place is really important to who the character becomes. so brooklyn is a place that is very, very familiar to me. this theory of crown heights where "harbor me" takes place is not as familiar as i had to walk around the neighborhood to get a better understanding of it. once i decide with a book is going to be set i tend to visit that place and try to figure out what the connection is that place has to the character. in the case of bushwick in the 1970s it was changing rapidly, and these girls were changing rapidly. in the case of "harbor me," crown heights is another changing space.
12:13 pm
in the case of "if you come softly" we have ally who lives on the upper west side and jeremiah who lives in brooklyn, and the place they meet is the east side. so i think about landscape. i think about where it set. when you have miracle voice, that book takes place over the weekend in upper manhattan, and i really, i wanted to move out of brooklyn. i want to move out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways so with miracle voice wanted to write a book where there were no girls in it because i couldn't all these books that a female protagonist at its core and then i wanted to take it out of brooklyn because brooklyn felt almost easy to me. i want to challenge myself, but it was look at "brown girl dreaming" where we have my places. we have ohio, south carolina and brooklyn and all have an impact on me in a different way. i can go on.
12:14 pm
>> host: there's a place but it's not really a place. is that -- i could never identify where dollars bill was. was i supposed to be able to? >> guest: it's not real. but pakistan is your it starts out in mississippi after katrina and that was the intentional because when katrina happened i was a new mom and i kind of shut it out, right? when you have come here all of this negative information coming to you. you just trying to get into the world, raise a kid. and then all the media around katrina died down, right? to me i was thinking, so what happened to the people? they must still, , there are stl people displaced, still people
12:15 pm
whose lives have changed forever. at the same time i was watching the way method usage was going in the united states, , and ask myself why would anyone even begin to get a drug like this -- math. one of the reasons i didn't name that place that can look to which is probably somewhere in the midwest is because i wanted that's anywhere usa. because this epidemic was happening in so many places. >> host: you seem different, when i did make it back to her house maybe a month had passed since t boone had first show the moon. we were sitting on her bed but i was twitching to be back t-bone and my head was throbbing. i was annoyed at caitlin. when did you know -- what did she know about anything? she never kissed anyone, never felt anyone holding her and
12:16 pm
never known the moon. >> guest: no moon. so moon as you know is meth and she doesn't call that moon. that's part of her denial, of course, but for me also going back to kind of the surreal poetry of the narrative, it was actually more comforting for me to write moon all the time to instead of meth. when i was researching the book one thing i did not do was look at any photos of people who are addicted to meth. because i didn't want to have to imagine what she's going to look like, what she was looking alike. but i wanted to have a sense of what laurel was feeling internally. >> host: describe laurel that you envision. >> guest: so describe her
12:17 pm
physically? all kinds of ways? i envisioned her as this kid who is lost and that that always been that way. she was very grounded before she left mississippi. she lived with her mom, her grandma. she was very connected to her grandmother. her dad was very connected to the land, and she was a great big sister to her little brother. and then our world literally got washed away, and with it there grounding. so even in beneath the meth moon her looking back on this place finally the longer the addicted, there is still her longing. so with the washing away comes this longing to kind of haven't ordinary life again. and trying to find that come she becomes achievement. she gets a boyfriend. she gets her best friend and she tries to be this teenager and it turns out her boyfriend is using
12:18 pm
meth and gets her addicted and that kind of turned her life around. and then of course it's a heroes journey. so with that comes the character of moses who is struggling with his own demons but is not wanting to see her die in this way. that feels like i think failure to him. so moses is this character. he gets paid to paint murals of people come again people who have overdosed as we paint these murals all over the town. and they become really good friends. >> host: is that name on purpose? >> guest: it is, it is. i was very intentional about moses. of course as a writer you have plans and the book never does what you plan for it to do. i had this idea that he was kind of moses of the harriet tubman
12:19 pm
and moving people to the promised land first as an artist, right? he immortalize his these young people and then as a friend, but he became his own complicated, beautiful character. and by the end of the book i just adored him. so i don't know, like i don't want the book to end because i want to spend some more time with moses and laurel, and a laurel at the beginning of the book, the laurel that kind of counterweight. >> host: you can't tell from the cover if laurel is white or black tragedy you really can't. >> host: you cover the face. >> guest: okay. >> host: i presume turkey be white. >> host: she is white. but that long blonde hair doesn't give her away? it's true because the old cover, the hardcover didn't have a
12:20 pm
photo at all. wishes to brown cover with beneath a meth moon. >> host: was this photo credit for this book? >> guest: yes, paperback. >> host: you to take apart in -- >> guest: i i okayed it. i get to give get the final say covers. sometimes there's accomplished. sometimes okay, okay, sometimes unlike yes. >> host: i celebrate my 15th birthday sitting in the rain begging for money. that's laurel talking. you do most of your tween books, i want to set all of them in the first person. >> guest: let me think. how she is first person. "if you come softly" is first and third person. you know why that is, right? "harbor me" is first-person. i can't remember. i think -- behind you is a second person.
12:21 pm
and i feel like there's some third person -- >> host: the children's books,, the real children's books are all third person. >> guest: okay. i guess i'm not aware that. >> host: okay. do you do that on purpose? >> guest: good point, peter. look at me looking at -- all first-person. i think it's because they are character driven and that such a sense of a character who was telling the story, so they become the first person. >> host: is easy to write a white girl voice or a white boy voice for you, or a black boys voice? >> guest: you know, none of it is easy. it's not without struggle, but i think one thing that i have that i'm grateful for is a very diverse community. and i can say to my partner, is this white voice, does this feel like a white person? , your partner is white?
12:22 pm
>> guest: my partner is white. our kids are biracial, puerto rican, korean. so that's black, that's biracial and so there are all these places, all these friends that i can bounce off of. but i feel like at the core of it it is me always, right? so every character from laurel to jeremiah to lonnie, there's jacqueline woodson in there and that's kind of, i start with what i know and then kind of work outwards from there. so i think that question of like what is whiteness, right, and asking that can what makes this character white, so that's what i kind of have to answer in creating the character. the same what makes this character mail with some alike mallinson, , i live i wrote that
12:23 pm
as -- for me he was the settlement have, who is thoughtful, could abided by the, who adored his mother and so i created this character who i really like as a result. >> host: is jackson lee roy? >> guest: careful what you ask for. i think there's a lot of melanin son in jackson because he's a very sweet kid. he can escape about everything from gender to the environment, loves his moms and is a thoughtful kid, i really thoughtful kid. >> host: jacqueline woodson, providing, when you look at the language rather than a young girls perspective, a lot rougher, a lot more boyish writing, all on purpose? >> guest: is very personal.
12:24 pm
melanin son is my first boy character, the first time and that was, might've been a short story or two that had guys in it, but in terms of someone who very deeply identified as boy, here was melanin son. the question was what to guys identify as guys do when they'rr hang out at a time to ask my little brother and he could remember anything much. so again i went and thought about who the character, who the kids were i would like to have. so there's a lot of kind of, not so much roughhousing but verbal roughhousing. they can hang out a lot and probably the most thoughtful but his two sons are also kind of funny characters. >> that came out in 1995. it's got words like baggy and
12:25 pm
dike in it. did you have trouble with that one as far as sensors are reaction? >> guest: i think people don't some kind of weight about it. and i guess i got letters early on. i'm a begetting a stack of letters from the school summer in washington state where all the kids were like i had done -- they make it this is going to be scholastics first book that dealt with key issues. until then these teachers have the students write. had all these misspelled words and grammatical errors and is like let's teach how to write if we teach them how to hate and teach and how to censor. at that was, scholastic was very protective of the book, and they didn't say ever were not going to publish it. they published it in a way i was a loving. it wasn't in the book club. it was in a particular space,
12:26 pm
blue sky press which was a small imprint so it just went to certain places but it wasn't like here's our huge book we are doing. they were quiet about it. i remember hearing about a school in brooklyn with her give it out to a six great class and apparent red and got upset and the principal said over the loudspeaker if one had to return it, and they cut two copies back because you have two sensible can have a kid is going to want to read it. i think as a writer you are protected from that. i don't know what's happening in new jersey or iowa or san diego with my books, right? may be there in the classroom, maybe they are not. you don't always know when and how your books are getting censored but i think it being scholastics first book and
12:27 pm
having that limit and it, people definitely were like -- >> host: another think that a lot of your books seems to be is a missing parent. why is that? >> guest: i think it was -- in order for kids to have the venture jeff to get rid of the parent and so i think i start with i want the kid to get to tell their story and the truth is, a lot of people have missing parent. a lot of people have parents who are incarcerated or affairs who are divorced or parents who had died when one parent who has died. such think i also want to speak -- we grew up reading about the quote-unquote nuclear family, mom, dad, sister, brother. that is so not the reality of so many people. i want to respect that and represent that in the literature, that there are all kinds of ways that we have family. >> host: where were you born?
12:28 pm
>> guest: i was born in columbus, ohio, in 1963. >> host: and? >> guest: and we moved to south carolina. >> host: why? >> guest: because my parents divorced. my parents separated. they didn't divorce and actually why i say separated, but when i was two months old my mom and dad separated. we moved to south carolina ever lived with my grandparents, with my grandmother and my grandfather. and then from there as part of the great migration we moved to new york city. my mom was a single mom there. and then when my grandfather died my grandmother moved to new york city with us so i was being raised by my mom and my grandma. until i was 13 or 40 and then my parents got back together. got back together and they stay together for about six or seven years until i went off to college. >> host: in "brown girl dreaming" when you talk about south carolina, it seems rather
12:29 pm
idyllic. >> guest: yes. i still love the south. i mean, i think it's home and it's interesting because until my mom died, my grandmother died, that i was referred to it as home and the ability in new york city for many, many, many years at that point. me, too. i think of it as going home. when i get to south carolina, when i get back to greenfield or any part of south carolina actually there's this deep familiarity to the land, the way it smells, await the people move, the food, the architecture, even though greenville has changed a lot, it feels like home to me. >> host: well, good afternoon and welcome to booktv. this is another edition in our special fiction edition in-depth year. this month we have young adult and children's author jacqueline woodson. she's got 24, 25 books, something like that. we will try to scroll through them as ago but this is your
12:30 pm
chance, if you grew up reading jacqueline woodson or if your kids are reading jacqueline woodson, here's your chance to talk with the author. going to put the up on the screen. 202-748-8200 for those of you who live in the east and central time zones. 202-748-8201 for those of you out in the mountain at pacific time zones. we do encourage the twins, the younger generation, , if you'rea reader of jacqueline woodson asked mama debt and see if you can call in. i knew she would like to hear from you. we also social media ways of getting a hold of us today. you can do that via facebook, twitter and e-mail, @booktv s s her handle for facebook and twitter. our e-mail, we'll begin taking those calls in just a few minutes. you won the national book award for "brown girl dreaming." >> guest: i did. >> host: what was about like? >> guest: that year that i won
12:31 pm
it it was my fourth time, no, my third time maybe being a finalist. and i remember the first time i was a finalist. it was like oh, maybe i will win. the second time, i'm deathly going to win. i had my speech in my sock, in my boots and i was ready. and i didn't win. and then this time when i was a finalist i was like okay, i'm not going to win. i've gotten used to being a finalist at its good. you still get a medal. you still get this attention to your book. so when they called my name, i was stunned. it's hard to surprise me. i was very, very surprised that they were saying, and the winner of this use national for young people's literature is jacqueline woodson. there was kind of this positing
12:32 pm
my name and the realizing it was me, , then running up on to the stage while all of my family was screaming and cheering me on. >> host: daniel handler, the mc that year, the man who was known as -- there was an incident. we want to show that video and have you respond to it. >> okay. >> and i said if she won iowa to all of you somehow learned about her this summer. which is that she is allergic to watermill. just let that sink in your mind. and i said you had to put that and book and she said you put into book and i said i'm only writing a book about a black girl who's allergic to watermill. if i get from you, cornel west, toni morrison and barack obama saying this guys okay, this guy is fine. all right. try to do so, yes tremor took a little joy out of it, didn't it?
12:33 pm
>> guest: it did not. i think that's the interesting thing, that people assumed that daniel was able to take a moment away from me. you know? and given that kind of power, and that didn't sink in until the next day. it was funny because when he was saying that i was downstairs to my friend with the next become she's like he's messing up turkeys messing up your he's really messing up. unlike what, what? because it was all about i just won the national book award. but when it's in the audience i was like wait a second, why is he saying this? it really didn't sink in until the next day, and it was all over the media. and then i was like wow, something else just happened beside me when the national book award, the thing that did happen was everywhere, every time in
12:34 pm
the media jacqueline woodson wins the national book award there was a picture of him, because that followed, that incident followed it. so she was again like okay, we need to get together and let the media know that that's not the face we should see when we talk about jacqueline woodson wink the national book award. and so there was this whole hashtag about let's celebrate jacqueline woodson, and does a lot of energy around it and people coming out of it. just coming together and saying something different needs to happen around this. but in that moment never, i mean, did i let him steal my glory. like, i'm way too young for that but i did think that wasn't the smart thing to do. like it was shtick. it was so uninformed, and that's why weeks later, and then the
12:35 pm
media was calling the left and right. not to say congratulations for winning the award of what is your response to this? and it wouldn't answer i have nothing to say because i just won the national book award. i was rolling in that. also i wasn't going to sound bite, you know? i was going to think about this and really think about what it all meant and how to respond to it. and what i came, same ways i write books. i'm trying, i write because i all these questions. not because i've answers, and i wanted to address that comment an answer actually why it was a hot mess of the thing to say, you know? a lot of times people don't know the history of a watermelon and the racism around watermelon and people of color, so that's why he ended up writing the piece for the "new york times" about the history of the watermelon
12:36 pm
joke. because i think black people are allergic to watermill. lack people are eating watermill allotting about that. you have any idea about the hostile context people died because of this? and so i felt like what it did was indicate me this platform to really have this deeper conversation about race and racism in this country. but the other thing that a lot of people were writing about, like daniel handler stole the moment from jacqueline woodson. no, he did not. no, that was my moment and i still coded. >> host: that was his -- have you spoken since? >> guest: we have spoken. we know each other so we have spoken from what's a "show way"? >> guest: a "show way" is a map, and during the times of enslavement people would have different codes along the
12:37 pm
underground railroad to help people get to the next place. sometimes there were quilts that had these coded maps on that. sometimes it was markings on trees. sometimes it was the northstar or something on a house, pointed in some direction. but all of these different codes, and i remember i was in kentucky or somewhere, and this white women said to me, these, this isn't true, this is a myth about how enslaved people made it to freedom. because there is nothing written it, or no one wrote about it. i said, you know, who would write about it? people were not allowed to read and write. why would and a slight person write this down or if they could write on when the could write, why would they go to the messaging hey, look, we've got this thing going on? of course so much of our history
12:38 pm
is oral history because that was the safest way to have history. it still feels like a canada safeway to have history sometimes, but that's what a "show way" is. >> host: is sunni real person? >> guest: sunni is my great, great grandmother. >> host: in the book you say that history forgot her. >> guest: yeah, history with colostomy. history lost her mother's day so history with the lost her name years later as soon became. her mother's day we never knew. and it wasn't written. we have so much history written down when we could write it down and start the people remembered but no one knew her moms name. >> host: every one of these add a want to show somebody children's books as a go, i'm calling them children's books, jacqueline woodson. who was this written for? >> guest: i think "show way" was probably before about six or
12:39 pm
seven and tried what okay. and you have worked with a lot of different illustrators. do you do that on purpose? >> guest: i do. i chose hudson talbott for the book because he works with so many different mediums, and in the book uses collage and oil paintings and drawings and it's just, , because the book is movg to so much time it made sense. >> host: show just a little bit of this. we want to hear from angela who's calling in from raleigh, north carolina. angela, you are on with author jacqueline woodson. >> caller: what a delight this is. hello, c-span. i'm not familiar with jacqueline woodson but she spoke to me because i am an 80-year-old black woman raised in the brooklyn section of bushwick during the '40s and 50s. and she was talking about the transition of the '70s, i remember when it was originally transformed in the late '40s
12:40 pm
and the early '50s, and basically the same thing is happening again. she reminds me of polly marshall who wrote brown girl brownstones which talked about the transition of the early 50s, years ago. i'm so delighted to hear her speak and i will read as much of her as i can but i definitely will read "harbor me," because that speaks to my heart, and brooklyn. so thank you so much, jacqueline woodson, for being the delightful entrepreneur in the literature that you are. >> host: before you hang up, two thinks. why are you now living in raleigh, north carolina, and tell us a little bit about yourself? >> guest: ? , my husband and i moved to north carolina in 1999 for a new beginning. also i am a critical social workers always been involved with the life of people,
12:41 pm
particularly those who are in need. and so this speaks to my passion, speaks to my history and speaks to my learning. and so i'm just so excited to finally have called c-span which i've watched since the early '90s. anti-semites, jacqueline, for being who you are. take you, peter, because i watch you, too. >> host: thank you, ma'am. what if an idiot picked up some of your books? >> guest: angela, thanks so much for calling in. i love that you mention polly marshall brown girl brownstones because that such a phenomenal book and it's a true, i it actually takes place in crown heights, if i'm not mistaken, or what's probably now prospect heights. i would suggest, definitely "harbor me" and "another brooklyn" to see some of your hometown as it existed in the
12:42 pm
'70s. so thanks for calling. >> host: can an 80-year-old get something out of your books? >> guest: i think the funny thing is i have gotten so many fan letters from people in their 50s, '60s, '70s and '80s. '80s. i've gotten letters from white men who knew my grandfather, and when they read "brown girl dreaming" and i don't know how to even got their hands on it, they wrote like hope was my baseball coach, , he was such a lovely man. it's just amazing of the book has spoken to so many people across the lines of race and age and gender. and i think so many, wesley people say is i have not thought about ten people's literature this way. i think a lot more people are turning to young people's literature because i think it pushes boundaries.
12:43 pm
ask questions. mais people think. it makes people remember themselves as young people. so i think the same way there are adult books you and people can get stuff out of the that our young people's literature that adults can get stuff out of. i don't mean the middle great of young adult. i mean the picture books. a lot of the more innovative teachers are using picture books and are high school classroom to teach about stories, to teach a character, poetry. something for everyone i think. >> host: let's hear from martha in belgrade lakes maine. >> caller: hi, peter and high, jacqueline woodson. congratulations on your three books that were recognized in the nomination and, of course, your win. it's just wonderful to hear about in the way you handle the debacle, congratulations again for ignoring it.
12:44 pm
my question to you is kind of stolen by the prior caller and also peter. i am in my 70s. i'm a retired elementary teacher and i just love children's literature. so which of your books, which of your three nominated books would you recommend for me to look for first and my public library? >> guest: ? >> host: before you think up, you sent me a a painting, is tt a painting that you did yourself? >> caller: no, no, no. i commissioned my favorite south carolina artist who lives in columbia. her name is don caldwell. she's done several --, that was a terrific painting with your favorite books and everything. martha is a regular viewer. that was terrific and i've been meaning to write to you and tell you that that's i just tell yoe publicly. so thank you very much, thank you, peter trembling let's get an answer from jacqueline woodson.
12:45 pm
>> guest: i think i would be interested in knowing first what grade you taught them what elementary school grade you talk. >> host: are you still with us? >> caller: i thought fifth-grade in maryland public schools and then i was voted down to first grade. second grade is what it ended up in because it's like a one-room schoolhouse. you are teaching everything in second grade. >> host: she summers in may and winters in south carolina. >> guest: oh, wow. i would say "brown girl dreaming." that's the book i would recommend you begin with, which is a national book award winner. >> host: and that's a nonfiction. >> guest: that's a memoir. >> host: and autobiography. tell us about your grandparents in south carolina. >> guest: so my grandparents were -- georgianna, and i adored them. i particularly adored my grandfather.
12:46 pm
i always tell the story of how back in the day turns were allowed to say which child was their favorite. we are not allowed to do that anymore, but i grandfather would always say jackie, you know you're my favorite. my brothers were my mom and grandmothers favorite. my sister was my uncles favorite iphone has the favorites that it was all good. but they were a serious rock in our family, you know, when my mom separated she came back home to greenville with three kids and they were there. they were there ready to raise, ready to help us out. she had gone to starting high school in greenville. my grandparents had lived there for many, many years so we had all of this community. my aunt lucinda was a bear. and it was just -- there. it was just a lovely place to be a child. i can't not be under pine tree now and not think of greenville,
12:47 pm
but they were hard-working. they were religious. my grandmother was a jehovah's witness, and they were definitely, i think the reason, part of the reason i'm a storyteller. part of the reason i am so grounded. part of the reason i have a hold on history and family. my grandfather was a gardener and just really believed in using the land and giving back to the land. i think as a look at, level warming and the impact on land, i turned back to him as an ancestor and remember the importance of it. >> host: and your grandmother took to around as a child was witness? >> guest: yes. we had to go from door to door for where to go out and build service trip we had a bible study on monday nights. we had, i forgot we did on tuesday nights but it was
12:48 pm
something. and then ministry school, saturday nights, sunday. we were pretty regimented. it's a textbased religion so there's a lot of studying involves, which made studying and writing and concentrating later on very familiar to me. it was something i had always done. i had always constructed text. what we had to, it was always so mortifying to go out and field service and fears are going to knock on the door of one of your friends or so it is going to think you are begging for money. and i think part of it was i didn't understand. i didn't understand that i was -- what are starting to do was create some kind of salvation for people. that was the belief. all i knew that it was saturday morning and i was a child i
12:49 pm
never wanted to be out playing. and i'm not a witness anymore but i look back on it at a a tk that's the thing about having a grounding in a religion, is you get to pick what you need from it. when you get clarity about it enough. and one together as a witness is your in the world but you're not of the world. so when the world starts treating you or other people as of the, well, i've always been outside of this narrative so i'm good. but i think also being able to concentrate for long hours, not being afraid to be bored is something that is earned by being bored as a child. but it also is something that kind of helped me figure out who i was becoming, and this is why became. >> host: next call for jacqueline woodson is marlena in sterling virginia here in the
12:50 pm
suburbs. >> caller: how are you guys doing today? ms. woodson, i have a crafts question for you actually. i am an aspiring writer myself. i wonder do you start out with a character in mind or do you start out, or person in mind, or do you start out with a story in mind first and then go from there? >> host: what about you, marlena? >> caller: character. i start out with a character in my first and then quickly have a story for them. >> host: thank you. >> guest: thanks for your question, marlena. my books are character driven site can to start it with the character. the truth of it is you put people in a room, give everything. u.s. story, you have plot, you have dialogue and the image they start talking you have plot, something is going to happen. but it if you start off with te character and then let the
12:51 pm
character take me where they going to take me. but a lot of times i don't know what's going to happen. until much later in the book but i just let the character kind of do with the need to do. my big question is, what is this character want and how are they going to get it? the story ends of answering that. >> host: robert is in kilgore texas. good morning, robert. or good afternoon, how are you doing, pete? really enjoying your show. enjoy all of your shows. thank you for doing this fiction edition. ms. woodson, i want to ask you about "if you come softly." i really enjoyed that work and have read it many times. i think i look at as one being what of the best books that have been written, and i want to just tell you how much i enjoy your books and i never look at you as being a young adult writer.
12:52 pm
i put you with james baldwin,, toni morrison i just want to thank you for all the great things you've done. thank you, robert, what is about "if you come softly" that grabs you? , the words. so politically. some times adults can we get older and we think love is different as adults, but when you find that kind of love at that age, it stays with you for a lifetime. characters in the book were so strong that i just, i've never forgotten it. it's still one of my best love stories i've ever read. >> host: what did you do in kilgore? comic on the chemical operator. for eastman kodak. >> host: thank you so much. jeremiah and ellie. >> guest: anytime someone uses james baldwin made in the same sentence with mine i get very happy.
12:53 pm
that is, it's a retelling of romeo and juliet, and it's amazing, it's celebrated its 20th anniversary. and again someone would look at the book and say she just ripped this from today's headlines. and no, it was written 20 20 ys ago. i think 20 years ago before social media and before so much of what's happening in our communities was not public information in that way. people didn't know that this is going on. but again, so jeremiah, his voice is in third person and her voice is in first person to find out why. but i just really love writing that love story. i just think that it's a book that's very, very close to my heart, and i remember i was, after my daughter was born that it ended up writing behind you, so i waited many, many years to
12:54 pm
write a sequel to "if you come softly." but at the end of the "if you come softly" is the one that i turn to when i want to remember, as you said, robert, what it was like to be young and newly in love, and how you saw so much of the world more clearly through that new love. >> host: interracial love, white liberal racism. a couple of the issues involved in that book? >> guest: yes. the recognition of one's own whiteness and white privilege, which i don't use those words. police brutality, black, african american class stuff in of being an upper middle-class african-american and assumptions that are made about you.
12:55 pm
and i gay person who is racist, which i think people think if you have one, if you're outside in one kind of way, that you can understand everyone else's issues and that's not the truth. so lots going on there. >> host: another thing that comes out at least to me in your book, window gazing. looking out a lot of windows. is that on purpose? >> guest: the bishop talks with the importance of young people having both mirrors and windows in the books. so mirrors are books where you read them and you see some part of yourself in it, right? it's the reflection of you and you get excited because he recognizes up as legitimate out in the world. when a window book is a book that you look through and you read and you are aware of some else's existence. something you might not have ever thought about a mom come
12:56 pm
out, the witness protection program, i kid using meth, and those are books that invite you to other peoples experiences. i think, my characters look at windows in that kind of way to represent them gazing into others' world and what might be and what could be and what they are lonely for. so it's symbolic metaphorical but it's also physically true. >> host: you said earlier that when your books to what and when don't know what happens to them or what -- do you let go of the characters? you let go of the books at that point? do you feel and ownership? >> guest: i let go of peoples opinions of them. because the books is still going to cut in the work of people will have their particular experiences with the narratives, but i but i still am protective of my characters. i still care about them deeply
12:57 pm
and think some part of me wants them to be okay. and i think with other readers say like robert, tell me how much they love them and how much they meant to them, and unlike okay, they were okay. they are having delight in the world. they are impacting and they are doing what they're their proje. >> host: do you think we might 23 years later hear about "melanin sun" and what he's up to and what his mother and christian are up to? >> guest: you know, that's a funny because someone asked out about "harbor me." it started me thinking, wow and what about my characters as adults? they stay young like jeremiah and ellie are both still 15, 20 years later, but that's an interesting question. i think about that now that someone brought it up, and i can't even imagine, you know, is
12:58 pm
she able to be herself again? so i don't know. it's a really interesting thing. i wonder if other authors let their characters go over reimagined them? and i think, i guess with a look at "another brooklyn" and see some adult characters but but i don't know what books they would be from that those girls feel so different to me. >> host: who is ava? >> guest: one of the most important film people of all time. selma, wrinkle in time, 13. she's just come she's rocking and rolling in the film industry as a director, as the filmmaker and she's brilliant. why do you ask? >> host: because at the top of your twitter page of a tweet by
12:59 pm
ava and to the top of your page. just of everyone's writing is terrible, until it's not. no one's stuff is right immediately. you've got to work at, we find it, shape it, spend time with it, it's a relationship. and that's okay. >> host: the woman speaks the truth. so when she tweeted that, it was just everything i want to say about writing, about creating. she says it so succinctly that for me felt the right thing to put in because i think some of people who follow me on twitter and social media in general are following me because they are either teachers or writers or people who are aspiring writers. one of the questions i get a lot is how do you -- and that answers it. >> host: knoxville, tennessee. >> caller: hello. jacqueline, i really look like you. i've learned about american --
1:00 pm
from gone with the wind. i can i would be like prissy with don and the wind, to find. i like color purple more than leave it to beaver. yes, now that i want to be, now think i should be a sweet, nice old woman. what do i tell my young children? .. >> guest: are you asking how you can be a young people's role model? >> caller: ee, even for people like you i have a lot of privileges, a lot of education, a lot of skills. >> guest: uh-huh. and so i'm sorry, i'm just not
1:01 pm
quite sure what you're asking. you're asking how can you be a role model? if you don't have access to the skills -- >> caller: no. what do you want in 20 years. >> guest: what die want in 20 years? >> caller: yes. >> guest: it's a good question. i want to be here and i want to be healthy, i want my family to be healthy, i want the world be healthy, i want people to have access to health care and education and food, basic stuff. i think i want the same things i want today. i feel like as a writer, i -- each day is a gift of. as a human being, each day is a gift and a day i'm allowed to do the work i love doing, and i think that it's really important for all of us at some point, as hard as it is to find that moment to do the thing you love
1:02 pm
to do. and so, yeah, in 20 years i, all willing, i would like to still be doing this stuff i love to do. >> host: max pehl, facebook comment: thank you no jacqueline. i love working her work with my students because even if reading presents a challenge, there's so much to learn and share based on the emotions, thoughts and questions provoked by the imagery and narrative. please keep blessing us with these outstanding works. i noticed on your web site you have requested that students not e-mail you with a need or an answer within an hour. does this happen a lot. >> guest: it does. >> host: my god, i have a paper do tomorrow morning, what did you mean by this? >> guest: yes. and can you -- i just have a couple of of questions for you. what is the main theme in hush?
1:03 pm
who are the main characters? where does the book take place? >> host: as in i haven't read the book. can you explain it to me. >> guest: exactly. >> host: do you respond to those? >> guest: um, i used to. not with the answer -- i would say, this sound like you're homework assignment and i'm not doing that for you. and then i would get ones where it's like my teacher said if i write you a letter and you write me back i'll get extra credit and i would say, tell your teacher to write to me because i want to talk to them. that's a lot of pressure to put on the student but on the writer who is get 3:00 letters a day. if -- 300 letters a day and she writes you back you're worthy of extra credit. what kind of message is that? i used to. now i don't. people can't access me in the same way. the they found other ways to access me but that through the web site. >> host: do you speak in classrooms very often. >> guest: not as much as i used to. as ambassador, i'm going around
1:04 pm
doing some work -- >> host: explain what that is. >> guest: so, currently national ambassador for young people's literature, which is an award i received from the library of congress and the childrens book council and there's a big medal out there somewhere. it's heavy. and basically i get to choose a platform and i get to visit places that are important to me. so, my platform is reading equals home times change, which is if we read we not only begin to feel more hopeful but have the ability to create change and/or that reading changes us, and i've been going to juvenile detention centers and underserved schools and prisons because i wanted to good the places where there are -- where authors don't always go and give people that kind of access to the information i can give them,
1:05 pm
and help them understand how important literature is and get them access to the literature. >> host: and you're here in d.c. because? >> guest: i'm here in d.c. because i was presenting at the national book festival, which was fabulous, with dr. karl a hayden, the head of the library of congress, and signing books and talking to young people and getting to talk to you. so it's been good. >> host: what was the national book festival like for you, how long did you sign? what were the crowd inside what's the reaction you get from people when you're out and about. >> guest: i gate lot of great young people form are me, and -- >> host: when you say that, boys and girls or mostly girls. >> guest: boys and girls, black and white, lots of -- this time there were a lot of southeast asian kids, latino kids. love how diverse the national book festival is.
1:06 pm
anywhere between, like, four or five years old, up to teenagers. a lot of dates and teachers in the audience. i it was absolutely kicked and signed for hour -- absolutely packed and i signed for hours and after i spoke they swarmed the stage, which there was one girl who must have been five years old, she was going to be the next president because she jumped on the stage and got what the needed to get and then got me to take a picture with a her and she was done. she was fabulous. i post evidence her back on my -- one of my social media pages because i don't like posting faces of kids. i remember amber rain and keegan, who are cota children of a death -- deaf adult and their mom brought me to a reading and they were front row at the conversation yesterday and they were so eager, so i get to know
1:07 pm
some of the kids. havana, who is a follower of mine on twitter was in the audience, and i hadn't met her and her mom, destiny, until yelled but we had conversed on twitter. so a lot of fans i know throw social media, kid fans and their parents, and then a lot of new fans who have been reading my work in their classrooms over the years. >> host: next call for jacqueline woodson from vita in arlington, texas. >> caller: hi, pete, how are you. >> host: i'm good. >> caller: good. miss woodson, i am a -- the founder and president of a youth organization for young girls. we mentor and sponsor them, starting in the ninth grade through the 12th grade and one thing we do with them is look for literature for them to read. so, for 15-year-olds, what would
1:08 pm
you -- what do you think a 15-year-old most of our kidded are in a city -- achievers would get out of reading brown girl dreaming? >> guest: so, you -- um, you're asking what a 15-year-old would get out of reading brown girl dreaming? i'm sorry. i wasn't quite hearing. >> host: yes. >> guest: what are your girls reading now. >> caller: um, the book that i gave them at the end of our stage one season, which was the completion of their freshman year in high school, was called "wrong shoulders" by a young author who happens to be a relative of mine, who wrote what it would be -- what her experience was like when she entered high school. so she published that book last year in 2017.
1:09 pm
so that was the book that was given to them at the end of their freshman year. so now they're starting their sophomore year and i'm looking for literature to present to them for this -- for stage two of the program. >> guest: what kind of readers are they? >> caller: um, they read various types of literature. the achievers in the program are highly focused on academics. they're constantly reading, and so they read all different type of literature, but i have never read any of your books, and i happened to be strolling through and stopped on pete's show and was interested in?
1:10 pm
what was being said so i went online and looked up "black girls dreaming" to get an intro into what the book was all about and just wanted to get your opinion on a good raved -- good read for them or can you rem something else. >> guest: i think the best thing would be for you to read brown girl dreaming yourself. you know what kind of stuff they're reading and what they're engaged inty and i think if the book speaks to you, you can speak to them more clearly about it. i think if they're young adults, you might also want to look at something like if you comp softly or hush, some book where the young people in the book are a little closer in age to the achievers, but i think it's
1:11 pm
always good to just familiarize yourself with so much of the literature that is out there for that age group. i i bet they know the hate you give by angie thomas, book biz kwame alexander, sharon draper, jason reynolds, so maybe great becomes being published by writers, writers of color, women of color, african-american women and if you want to start all of my books, all of the writer is mentioned, all of their books are at the public library, which i'm a huge fan of public libraries. all of the books are available at audio books, so that if you're driving a lot and don't have time to read a book, brown girl dreaming, i read the audio back into they can actually hear it the way i intended for it to sound harbor me ice another one with harbor me, my daughter has role in the book, the end of the book my son and i have
1:12 pm
conversation about the book. so, listening to the audio book will give you a sense of what the book is and in it you'll probably be able to hear if it's something that your young people would like. but i think it's really important to make them aware of all the great awe authorized -- great authors getting published and doing great stuff. >> host: in brown girl dreaming you say that odella was destin ford great thing. >> guest: she is my older sister who was very high achieving, and always -- she just wanted to skipper, always reading years and years above the reading -- her reading level -- her grade level, and just had accolades poured upon her from the time she was very young, and was --
1:13 pm
still is a brilliant person. so, she get a lot of attention for her academics as a young person. >> host: what is she doing now? she's so funny. she went to law school. became a lawyer. she practiced law for a bunch of years and then she retire area and does a lot of yoga and lives an amazing life, basically life is short and i'm going to do what i love. so, she makes me very proud. >> host: who is hope? >> guest: hope is my older brother, and he is -- he was named after my grandfather, and the -- and he was also a really smart kid. so i was a third kid of to these two very brainy kind of are in erdy siblings, and he went to one of the smart schools in new york city and then went an to college and got a couple of
1:14 pm
degrees in medical stuff and worked doing medicine. a medical secretary. and now lives in youngstown, ohio, with his wife and kids. >> host: roman? roman is my younger brother and he dealt with lead poisoning as a kid. and he was always this tiny,ine kid, unsized and now he is 6'3" and works in the bronx, helping kids get back on their feet basically. i wish i was more articulate about the work he does because it's really great work, and basically kids who are come out of the homeless shelters or heading into the homeless shelters, they build houses together. that's young people that eventually become the homes of the young people. so it's kind of settlement housing stuff but also education, also doing -- to find
1:15 pm
them jobs and getting them into the world in a solid way. >> host: maybe we can help vita. he'll go through brown girl dreaming and one line in there is: in my head it's as real as anything. when it comes to story-telling. >> guest: yes. so, as a kid i got trouble for lying a lot, and brown girl dreaming talks about me getting in trouble and the idea it wasn't lie. it wasn't happening. these stories were alive in my head and one parent called is story-telling, the other parent called it lying, so eventually became story telling and the book is written in free verse ask then throughout it there are these poems like even the silence has story to tell you, just listen, listen and can those are hiku which are
1:16 pm
lessdowns to be a writer. >> host: you learned hiku at a young age. >> guest: i did. a lot of people learn, one of the most accessible forms, when you think 5-7-5 is a simple rule to follow. about nature but doesn't have to be. so, there's an access to it. >> host: jacqueline woodson, speaking of rule, you kind of have a theme in the way you develop your stories. boom, back story. am i being fair to you when i say that? >> guest: let me think. >> host: there's a little bit of slash and then here's what happened. >> guest: i know it's funny when i think of if you come softly, in my head the first line is jeremiah was black. he could feel the way the sun rows over his skin but before
1:17 pm
that, there's elly, who wakes up from the dream dish dreamed about miya and i forget that's the opening and then the back story. >> host: back to brown girl deal canment. stories are like air to me, wordings mr. i brilliance. >> guest: finally figured that out. >> host: catty, omaha, nebraska, on we author jag lynn woodson. hi. >> caller: hi. thank you for having me on. enjoy c-span and so happy i tuned in today. i have never read any of jacqueline's books but i certainly am going to start. i'm involved in the reading program for native american children between the ages of four and 10 and your book, showway, is one that i'm going to recommend we. we haven't read a book about harriet tubman. my question, do you write
1:18 pm
about -- do you have any native american heritage in your family? you look like you could be some native american. >> guest: you know, it's great question. don't know and i feel like i know a lot about my family, but i -- so far i haven't -- no one has come forward and say we found this bloodline, but i want -- i don't know if you mow about debby reese's blog called american indians and childrens books, a great blog for finding really, really great books for ages basically zero to adult about -- written by native people and about the native, image dodge yous experience in this country and about everything. i think it's a great place to go to find the great books that are mirrors for the young people you're working with. >> host: you're, watching book tv on c-span2's "in depth."
1:19 pm
this year a special fix edition and this month is a jacqueline woodson, numbers on the screen. if you can't get through on the phone lines we have official social media ways, facebook and twitter,@book tv is our handle, e-mail, book tv next question is barbara in delware. >> caller: hi, jacqueline. >> host: hi. >> caller: am i on. >> host: yes, ma'am. >> caller: oh. i'm from newark, delware. i'm 90 years old. what book do you recommend for hi aim group? i hear it's mostly for young people but you're book seems to be so interesting. i think that i could benefit from them, too.
1:20 pm
and your smile is contagious. i'll hang up and listen to you, and also, do you ever write any books or any information about jehovah witness. >> host: barbara, before you hang up, please tell us about yourself. >> caller: well, i'm 90 years old. i have a birthday next month -- well, this month, the 3rd of september, i'll be 91. and i'm from knoxville, tennessee and i was misgrab grand-pops favorite granddaughter. when i heard her remark bought that it brought back many memories and i also have relatives with the last name of woodson in baltimore, maryland. that's all i have to say. >> host: tell us about your life between knoxville and newark, delware, and 90 years.
1:21 pm
>> caller: oh, gosh. well, we came to delware. my mother was a gymnastic, my father was a laborer, i have three brothers, and we settled in delware because that's where most of the work was for my family at that time, and i had graduated from howard high school. went a school called number 29 in delware and i went to morgan state college for a year, and i have three children, all of which are -- my oldest daughter is a jehovah witness so i was interested in hearing remarks from miss woodson on that subject. >> host: thank you for sharing a little of your history with us, too barbara. >> guest: thank you. so, i -- brown girl dreaming, because it's a memoir has the
1:22 pm
most but my life as a witness in it, and you would -- probably give you a lot of information about that, but it's also i think the book i would recommend because i bet you would see a lot of yourself in it. it starts in the '60s, goes back to the '50s some and then spans on through the '7s so. so i would suggest brown girl dreaming and have a great birthday. congratulations. >> host: what about showway for her? >> guest: showway. you're wright. it would be -- jo just because of the great-grandmother-great- great-gr andmother. >> guest: good point, peter. i agree, showway. >> host: all right. miranda, winchester, virginia. hi, miranda. >> caller: good afternoon. jacqueline, i was so excited yesterday to be able to attend your session at the national book festival. sitting with all the teachers in the audience and watching all
1:23 pm
the little kids on the floor in front of me was amazing. i'd first like to say i was shocked to see how young you are with all the accomplishments and honors and acclaim that you have gotten over the years. my kids have read your book. i'm a middle school teacher. i have -- i think you were the one who said we shouldn't say struggling readers, and we shouldn't say reluctant readers. just readers who maybe read a little slower than others and appreciate the value of the written word. one book that you really talked about yesterday was the day you began. i am trying this year part of my strategy is to use more picture books in my instruction. we're working with empathy, with understanding others, and i look forward to using this book in my classroom to show each student that they are unique, they have a voice, and what they have is themselves and they should be
1:24 pm
proud off that. so thank you. >> guest: thank you so much. thanks for being there. the day you begin -- i was to happy to read it -- the whole book. a little nervous to do that and then decided to do it, but thanks for using my books and that was kind after phenomenal day yesterday. >> host: why were you nervous to read the whole book. >> guest: i hadn't read the whole book to an audience that large before, and because the audience was so diverse, adults there, very little kids there, the book has more words than something like this is the rope. i didn't know if people would hang with me. they couldn't see the pictures, so it was basically depending on the way i read it. so, i was a little nervous. >> host: can little kids stick with you when you're reading? >> guest: it depends -- i think
1:25 pm
if tear they're able to see the pictures, they can. usually when they're very, very young, i will read pecan pie baby but the little kids that were there yesterday hung with me. >> host: do you enjoy speaking to crowds or do you -- would you forever be at home on you writing room or stoop write snag i need both i. need the crowds to remember why i'm doing the work i'm doing, and i love engaging with them. love engaging especially with the young people who are the ones who want to be writers or just really avid readers and i need that me time, that solitude and i take it very seriously. >> host: so what is your process? when did you start on harbor me, your most recent? how long do we think about it,
1:26 pm
how long did we work on it? and then the editing process and all that. >> guest: that's a good question. >> host: talking years or months. >> guest: talking years, with harbor me, probably started a year before i really started writing it. i remember writing part of tiagos -- >> host: why tiaga? i think because i grew up with a very close friend who was from puerto rico so i have the whole puerto rican family and one thing i remember is going to my friend maria's grandmother's house with my daughter who at the time was like four years old maria's grandma was like, no habla español, and i'm like -- she is a black girl, and she is like, -- why -- she thought --
1:27 pm
later on i said to maria, when did your grandma steeping english. she said she never spoke english. we always spoke spanish to her. we had all these -- from a young age i was speaking spanish and english, and once i stopped being in that community, i lost so much of my spanish. but my memories of her grandmother is an english speaker, and when i was think about the character way, thinking 0 here is a kid who is negotiating the world of new york city with a mom whose english is not that great and also the constant speak english thing that was going on. and how ridiculous that was and my family and i travel abroad a lot, and we -- when we go to other countries people speak two or three languages and we come
1:28 pm
here and people are being forced to speaking one one lange, all of it seems to ridiculous so i was creating this character who was negotiating that. and then i was thinking about the way people learn differently. the way i learned differently. the way so many people i know learn differently, and what would it mean to put them all in a room. so all these ideas were in my head but didn't know it would become harbor me. finally i started writing -- we're in 2018. probably around 2016, probably around the time another brooklyn came out that i was really starting to take notes and write down themes and parts of harbor me. and then it was dish was working on for a long time and then start writing the day you begin and then went back to harbor mow. >> host: there is real life in some characters? is there a holly and a haley out
1:29 pm
there in your world somewhere? >> guest: i think they are and -- >> host: flash baecks -- flashbacks of people. >> guest: holly and hailey are both jacqueline woodson. there's a love of me in both gees the introspective, and then he outgoing, talking all over the place holly. probably mine its my daughter for the girls, too. so amari, i see a lot of myself in amari. see that kind of like -- why does it have to be this way? constantly asking this question. and being mad. with good reason. i think in ashton, i the introspective person who is learning stuff for the first time and going, oh, and i think for me, having so many young people around me -- even things like what is your preferred
1:30 pm
gender pronoun. he, she, they, and having to learn to say they and get comfortable with is as someone who had been an english major and having these ah-ha moments this is how we respect that body. and i feel like that's ashton, ashton is like, oh, oh, wait a minute, but -- and then with estella, the idea of loss. i've known loss in my life, and in him he is learning loss and he is also learning what to do with loss, like how to negotiate it and not have it be a complete loss with a translating of his dad's poem. so, yeah, i don't tend to consciously use people i know because i never want my characters to be like those people, and also characters are bigger than regular people. but i definitely use -- i take ideas that are things i'm working out and they become part of my character.
1:31 pm
>> host: the group seems surprised when the white boy asked him, kids bully. >> guest: yeah. they are -- i think it's kind of not on their radar, but it's that point where they're like, he's mine, right? how dare someone do this to someone we care about? and it goes back to empathy. like, we can get on him about his ignorance around race and a small bubble, but, no, outside, that's not okay. he is ours. so then they create that unite front for him. >> host: amari gets to talk. >> guest: yes. hi dad takes him out -- first tells hem hi can watch as much television as hi wants and amari is like, something is wrong and then his dad takes hum out and says he can't play with guns in public like that. remember my brothers -- first of all our parents telling them
1:32 pm
don't run from white neighborhoods, this is in the '70s. don't ever none a white neighborhood. that's where -- if you come softly, the father gives jeremiah the talk. 20 years ago the talks are kind of sadly timeless, right? and amari's dad is like you can't play we guns and we think toota mere rice but this has -- tamir rice and this has been happening a long time. my own son is ten creigh years old and his friends parents asked us if he could good to park and take this nerf and we're like, no, can't be a bruni a become space with a toygun and that's too dangerous. >> host: white friends? >> right. who hadn't thought about it because they didn't have tonight. don't think they're bad people but i think it's something everybody should think about. like, the lack of safety for brown bodies is -- we're in an
1:33 pm
emergency state. so, for me, having a brown son and a brown daughter and having this family that is of a lot of people of color in it. it's my everyday thinking, and so when i was creating the character of amari, like i had to look at it from both sides reach he's a dad, i'm just trying to keep you safe. his son is like, this isn't fair but that's the truth of it. >> host: does harbor me play in wichita. >> does it. >> guest: does it play? would it work in wichita? yeah, def definitely. works tablier people live. >> host: carl, you're on with jack win wouldson go head. >> caller: hello, ms. woodson and thank you book tv for taking my call. miss woodson i have not read one of your books.
1:34 pm
i am retired. when i turn to my booktv and watch your story, you inspired something inside of me and i am totally impressed because you gave me the idea of a message, and your story, you are sending a message and i just wanted to commend you on your award, and just let you know, never too old to learn from a young person, and i just want to thank booktv and the gentleman for hearing my message. >> host: that was carl in maryland. we keep talking about your award. how many awards have you won? >> host: i don't know. >> host: you know how many. >> guest: over 200 easily. i've run out of walls. >> host: the coretta scott king
1:35 pm
ware their. >> national book award finalist four times. many state awards. swedish little nobel, it's called. i don't know how many. it's a lot but i know a lot of them. >> host: if somebody wants to lookup, wares the best place to find information on you. >> guest: i think -- >> host: jack -- >> guest: that's not updated. just gookle jacqueline woodson and don't just rely on wikipedia because it won't give you all the information. it's out there, jacqueline woodson, ala, core rate tota scott king i come up a lot. >> host: do you like that sunny like when -- sunny like win i come up adequately. when the information is true. i don't like when people make up
1:36 pm
stuff. on wikipedia they can just throw off anything and i do use wikipedia for some stuff but i remember once it had jack win woodson has one younger brother and it's not always correct. so i say do your research. >> host: leah is in greensboro, north carolina. good afternoon to you. >> caller: yes. this is leah. want to ask a question. >> host: you're on the air. >> caller: can you hear me? >> host: yep. >> caller: i want to ask a question about bay. i. am 69 years old and i didn't get my learning when i was young my woman teaching us how to do homework, nothing like that. so now i've been going to school but it's not like that i want to by. don't know how to read and write.
1:37 pm
and i've been like that. i going to school, going to kindergartens and i was in school, looking out the window, i don't know why but i wasn't paying attention to the teacher. don't know whats -- wasn't nothing going on at home, and my mom won't really help us do our homework. she had five kids. i remember her sitting at the table to try to help us do our homework and i've been frustrater ever since i got older. started to go back to school and got shamed. embarrassed. i was embarrasses because i didn't know how to read and write but a couple of friends of mine didn't know how to -- but they went back to school good got thurgood. enough i wants little -- -- i wants its because my children can read and write. my husband is deceased now but he helped my girl does their
1:38 pm
homework but i was there listening to see my girl does their homework. they have education but i don't. >> guest: uh-huh. >> caller: so, i've frustrated with this all the time. i be so hurt, i cry, because i just want it before i leave this world. and i went back to school, they had found me a tutor and they worked with the for a while. she said your numbers is coming back and something, but it's not like i wanted to come back. so i got shamed and i quit again. and she said, keep on doing it. keep doing it. and i get frustrated. get frustrated because i don't know. and so i sit there and worry but modifies and i cry. and i talk to god about it. and i still want to get my learning.
1:39 pm
my reading and writing. i'm 69 and i don't think i'll get it. what should i do? what do you. >> host: thank you, ma'am. >> guest: can i answer that. >> host: all yours. >> guest: so, first of all, i'm just applauding you for wanting to get your literacy on. i think there are couple of things you can do. i completely understand the frustration because it's hard. especially as we get older. so, if you have access to a public library, there are literacy classes there and the people there are probably around your age. if there are not literacy classes at your public library, they would be able to tell you where to go to take them or help you find a tutor. while you're at the library, get you library card, and with your library card, don't just -- take
1:40 pm
out picture books, books for very young children or picture books that look like they're for young children but they're for everybody. don't be ashamed of anything you want to read. also, take out audio books. they have books called playaways. these are books that are on cassette. you get the whole thing, the cass set, the ear phones, comes as one book and you can listen to books and that will help you remember words and as you're listening probably going to think -- remember how you spell certain words and that's going to help your literacy also. but as soon as you can get to your local library, go talk to the children's librarian first, and they will be really, really helpful. there are lots and lots of people in this country who are learning to read, who are -- don't know how to read yet. you're never too old to learn to read, and you're never too old to have access to books so get to that library, get your
1:41 pm
daughters to help you, and don't be ashamed to ask anyone for help because you have a right to read. >> host: ann in pennsylvania, hi, ann. >> caller: hello. i'm delighted to have this chance and i called to see here's a 90-year-old who has read one of your books. it was another brooklyn and this is a plug for booktv. the reason i read it was it was prominently displayed in the large print section, and i had heard your name the week before, on c-span, that you would be on, so i picked it up, and it's a delightful read. so, i congratulated you. >> guest: thank you so much if really appreciate you.
1:42 pm
thank you. >> host: a neat call. a couple of neat calls. do you generate that kind of conversation or back and forth with people? we had leah in north carolina and then ann in pennsylvania and -- >> guest: yeah, robert. do. i think one of myplatforms as national ambassador is to try to have conversations and get us talking like year doing, note open social media but having these conversations. so, i think a lot of people want to have conversations as we see from the people who are watching and listening. and even at book -- when i go to sign or when i'm giving a talk, afterwards we tend to have conversations like this. >> host: you said it out loud your borne in 1963. at this point in your career, 24, 25, books later, couple hundred awards later, do you
1:43 pm
limit your exposure out there? you don't have the need necessarily to go out and do this type of thing? >> guest: yeah. i do. i do a lot fewer school visits than i used to. i try to -- instead of going from one of school to the other, get young people -- get teachers to bring young people to the public library. i i want people to use the library and people to meet each other. when you go into a school you only meet student inside one school but you bring two schools into ally bear they're going to meet each other and you're going to be able to talk to more people. and if one school is a private school and one school is a public school you don't have to choose between them, and again, they get to meet each other across economics. and i don't do as many kind of going out and speaking to the masses as i used to because my time is so limited with a teenager and a ten-year-old and
1:44 pm
books to write and articles to write and other things going on. so, it is a lot -- i am a lot quieter in that part of my writing life than i used to be. >> host: all right. let's hear from one more call before we take a little bit of a break. we have another thundershower go. we'll put the numbers back up in just a few minutes. here's sarah in mississippi. hi, sarah. >> host: it helped if i push the button, sorry. sarah, you're on the air now. apologize. >> caller: yes, thank you. jacqueline, i'm 73 years old, and i have always been a book person. in fact when i was growing up, in the '50s there were no books featuring people that looked like me but my mother would buy the little golden books every payday, every friday go to the drug store and by a
1:45 pm
new gold book, put my name in it and read it to me and i've always been a reader. i've been in the bookfield for the last i guess 35 years. i work for independent book stores. and eventualfully '92 i went off on my own and i bought a little mail truck and had a little book mobile. i'm a native of new orleans, louisiana, and of course we had at least ten housing projects in city of new orleans, and i would go into the projects and go to head start and different schools and nurseries and read to the children. and of course i always had your books. moved to mississippi in '94. i did try do a book store here but things didn't work out too well. and i i've been ill for the last two years, so i haven't been selling very often. but hopefully i can get back into the field. but thank you so much and i'm so proud of you, again. you have a good day.
1:46 pm
>> host: sarah, you said when your mother would go to buy books there were not books that look like you. was that correct. >> caller: i'm sorry, okay. >> host: what does to -- >> guest: i was born in 1945. so in the early '50s in -- we didn't -- there are hardly any books featuring children. i'm a african descent. i'm african-american. i'm sorry. but the only children then that was shown in the books back in the day were, you know, of course, caucasian children but luckily my mother did read to me and i've always ban reader, and later in life, my parents divorced when i was young but when my father and i reconnected i didn't realize, my father was a reader. so i guess it was in the genes. >> host: could you relate to this little white children back in the '50s. >> yes. >> yes, i.
1:47 pm
could they had the same experiences that i had. it was so rare that you found a children's book with children of color. >> guest: uh-huh. >> host: thank you for your time, sarah. >> guest: thank you, sarah. i know dr. carla hayden talks bout the book bright april, the first book she read that had kids of color in it and that bang went out of print that they're reissuing it. i had the same problem in the '70s. very few books that represented people who look like me, and it's one of the first things i wanted -- one have first rains wanted to be a writer as an adult. want to fill that hole where people are not seeing themselves and it was true. we had the books that we had to relate to them because that was all we had. so with judy blooms are you there me and maggert margaret
1:48 pm
were both flat chested and we're good. so when you saw yourself in a book, this what i was missing, but until before then you didn't even know -- recognize your own invisibility. so, thank you for your work as an independent book seller and for going into underserved places and bringing story and literacy and literature, and i hope you feel better soon. >> host: you say that a tree grows in brook brian, betty something i's book, one of your favorite books? >> i love it. >> host: why. >> guest: it's home to me. i feel like it takes place in women's -- williamsburg when i was a child but i grew up in bushwick and in the characters i just -- it was just kind of longing for me for a different time. also struggling. they were so poor at some point,
1:49 pm
and fanly nolan has such a reader and a dreamer and i just kind of felt like i understood her story deeply, and it was probably the first book i read that -- where the people lived in brooklyn. >> host: tell us about each kindness. >> guest: so each kindness is the story of a girl who comes to a new school and is shunned by the other kids. the person telling the story is chloe, who is the main shunner, and who is kind of not a very nice child, and she is telling it in retrospect. that winter snow fell on everything, turn the world a brilliant white. turning back to the winter when she wasn't kind and the girl moves away and chloe realize he she missed the chance of kindness. while all of this is going on
1:50 pm
the teacher is obviously aware of it because she brings a bowl of water into the classroom and asks each kid to drop a stone into the water, and to reflect the kindness the dade and said that's what kindness does, goes oses like a rip spool the world, and this girl khloe realizes she couldn't think of a single kind thing she has done and passes the stone on. basically but kindness and the impact of it on everyone. >> host: well, here's jacqueline woodson reading from her book, each kindness. each kindness bit jacqueline woodson, that's me, and it's illustrated by lewis who is fabulous. that summer -- i'm sorry -- i messed up. i'm starting generally. wrote this book i know how to read it.
1:51 pm
that summer -- one more time. this is like rewriting. i'm rereading until i get it right. that winter snow fell on everything, turning the world a brilliant white. one morning as we settle into our classroom, the door opened and -- i messed up again -- one morning as we settled into our seat the classroom door opened and the principal came in. she had a girl with her and said to us, this is miya. miya looked down at the floor. i think i heard a whisper. hello. we all stared at her, her coat was open city clothes looked old and ragged. her shoes were spring shoes, not meant for the snow. a strap on one of them had broken. our teacher said say gallon good morning to the new student.
1:52 pm
most of us were silent the only empty seat was next to me and that's where our teacher put miya. and on that first day, miya turned to me and smiled, and but i didn't smile back. i moved my chair and myself and my books a little further away from her. when she looked my way, i turned to the window. and stared out at the snow. and everyday i after that when miya came into the classroom and, i looked away, and didn't smile back. my best friends that year were kendra and sophie. we walked around at the schoolyard at lunchtime. fur inning laced together, who is speakerring secrets into each other's ear. one day while we were near the slide miya came over espouse held her hand -- he held open her hands to show this shiny jacks and tiny red ball slot got for her birthday. it's high bouncer selection said. but none of us wanted to play.
1:53 pm
so miya played a game against herself. that afternoon when we got back into the classroom, miya said i guess you can't guess who the new jackses champion of the willer was. with me my friend whysed chloe has a new friend. low's got a new prepared to. she not any friend i whit speakerred back. the weeks passed. every day we whispered but mya, laughing at temperature clothes, he shoes, she food she brought to lunch. some days miya held out our hand to show us what you brought, deck of card, pickup sticks, small tatters doll. whenever she asked to us play we said, nope. the days grew warmer and warmer, the pond thawed gramps began growing. one day miya came to school area a pretty dress and fancy shoes but the monday and the dress looked like they belongs to another girl before miya.
1:54 pm
i had a new name for her, kendra whispered, never new. everything she had came from a second hand store. we all laughed. miya stood by the fence. she was holding a jump rope but did not come over to ask us if he wanted to play. after a while she toldded it double, rolled the ends around each hand and started jumping. she jumped around the whole schoolyard without even stopping. she didn't look up once. she just jumped. jumped, jumped. the next day miya's seat was empty. in class that morning we were talking about kindness. miss albert brought a big bowl into the class and filled it with water. gathered around her desk and warned their drop a small stone into it. tiny waves rippled out away from the stone. this is what kindness does.
1:55 pm
she said. everything -- each little thing we do guess out like a ripple. into the world. then she let us each drop a stone as we told her what kind things we had done. joseph held the door for his grandmother. kendra helped change her baby brother's diaper. even angela had done something i. carried teacher's books up the chair, he said. and she said it was true. i stood there holding the rock in my hand, silent, even small things count. she said gently. but it couldn't think of anything. and passed the stone on. miya didn't come to school the next day or the day after that. each morning i walked to school slowly hoping this would be the day miya returned. and she looks a me and smile, and i promised myself this would be the day i smiled back.
1:56 pm
each kindness, she said, makes the whole world a little bit better. but miya's seat remained empty and one dithe teacher announces that miya would not be coming back. he family had to move away, she said. then she told to us take out our notebooks it was time for spelling. that afternoon i walked home alone. when i reached the pond my throat filled with all the things i wished i would have said to miya. each kindness, i had never shown. i threw small stones into it over and over, watching the with a the water rippled out and the way out and the way. like each kindness done and not done, like every girl somewhere holding a small gift out to someone, and that someone
1:57 pm
turning away from it. i watched the water ripple as the sun set through the maples. and the chance of a kindness with miya became more and more forever gone. >> host: all right. 202-748-8200 in the east and central time zones and want to have a chance to talk with author jacqueline woodson, (202)748-8201 in the mountain and pacific time seasons. we also have social media ways of getle hold of us. at booktv on facebook, at book tv on twitter and book tv at on e-mail. next call for jacqueline woodson from denice in dayton, ohio, thank you for holding. you're on the air. >> caller: yes. thank you so much and thank you c-span through the years of
1:58 pm
watching c-span every genre, so many resources i've gotten through the years for my own person and the classroom and i want to say, jacqueline, the first time i ever called in through all the years. you're amazing. have not read all of your books but each year when i had my own homeroom and now that it have all of those students for computer science, we start out the school year with each kindness. by the time we get to the point that it's done, kindness done and undone, you should see their eyes. so phenomenal. i wanted that book and i bought one and then another parent bought the book for me. i'm sour. my phone went if. >> guest: that's okay. >> caller: bought it for me and we used every year. it's so phenomenal. you can hear nothing. it relates to kids so much. it's such a great way to start out the school year to set the tone. i love that book. i'm going read more of it. i have to much to read but read more of your books but i -- i
1:59 pm
had the phone today. done you talk how that got started? because the kids can relate to those characters. >> before we get an answer, denice you say year middle school teacher. >> caller: i actually teach k through sixth how but we did have middle school,: ... >> guest: i was being the mom in her classroom, and this one girl who i adored came in, and she
2:00 pm
had on those really cool pants. i was like, those are really cool pants. and another kid who hadn't heard me, when she saw the girl in the pants, she was like, ooh, i can't believe you even wore those to school. and for the rest of the day, she would try to sit at her desk. when she got up, she tied a jacket around her lap, around her waist. and you knew that her day was ruined, basically. and the thing she wanted to do most was get home and take off those pants, never wear them again. and the girl who said it had no clue that she had ruined this child's day. so it inspired me to start writing each kindness. and i wanted to write a story about a girl who had not been kind. and i kept trying to figure out when someone had not been kind to me to write that book. [laughter] and all that kept coming up is instances in my own childhood when i had not been kind. and as, around the time i was
2:01 pm
writing it, my mom died suddenly, and it kind of clicked that we have this idea that tomorrow we're always going to have a chance to do the right thing. especially young people. they just believe tomorrow's always going to come. and for me, it was this kind of moment of like, wow, what if my character does not get a chance to be kind. because when i first started writing it, i thought in the end she would have a chance at kindness. and the boom became about -- the book became about the regret and the seize the day, the fact that do it today because we know not what's coming tomorrow. and in it the whole ripple effect came to me. i was literally sitting at the lake throwing stones in the water and thinking about this book and watching those ripples, and it's like, this is it. i think books come to me all kinds of ways, but that one had a very interesting journey. >> host: e-mail from gary. perhaps you might consider adult
2:02 pm
dyslexia contributing to adult reader challenges. >> guest: um -- >> host: going back to leah in queensboro. >> guest: yeah. i think adult dyslexia is real as is childhood reading differences. but if we're thinking about leah and her frustration, i think even with learning differences you learn to read differently. you can learn to read differently. and it takes time and it takes care and it takes someone who noses what they're doing -- who knows what they're doing. and i think one thing that frustrates people a lot is their lack of access to literature, their lack of being able to get a book and open it up and read it. and i do want to show people that you can listen to a book, and it's okay. and you're getting story, and you're getting comprehension,
2:03 pm
and you're getting sentence structure, and you're getting all of these things. and you can listen to the book and look at the book as you're listening to it as a way of gaining access. i'm not a reading specialist, but i do want all people to have access to literature. and until the code of reading gets cracked in whatever way it needs to get cracked, there are other ways to access books. >> host: dennis, pasadena, california. you're on with author jacqueline woodson. >> caller: thank you very much, jacqueline. so i immediately saw your last name, we share the same last name. i was wondering if you have done any research on your family history, where your name came from, where your family got that name. i grew up here in pasadena, was born, actually, in mexico. but my -- i had an aunt that was a teacher in san diego, california, and after she retired she started doing the family history. and so that family history has
2:04 pm
been so important to the rest of the family. and i'm wondering if you've done any family history on your name, where your family came from, and have you written anything about the family history. >> guest: yes. always family history is written about in brown girl dreaming all the way back to sally hemings. so the woodson clan is not a huge clan, so i'm sure we're connected somehow. but my aunt is a genealogist in ohio, and she's done lots of research on the woodson name. >> host: the woodsons are doctors, lawyers, teachers. as you say in brown girl dreaming. >> guest: uh-huh, yes. >> host: what about your mother's side of the family? >> guest: my grandmother taught for a little while just to like a community kind of teaching thing. and she was, she was primarily domestic, did domestic work. my grandfather was a foreman in a printing factory, and, you know, then there are others that have various is jobs that i
2:05 pm
don't know. but they all -- i have a bunch of cousins who are still in greenville. i'm not sure what they do, but the woodson side is definitely the side that was earliest educated and for the longest period of time. >> host: can you still smell your grandfather's cigarettes? >> guest: i can, i can. >> host: he died very early. >> guest: he did, he did, and he smoked pall mall. they were unfiltered. and i still know what they look like, and i still remember the relatives who snuffed. they would put that stuff under their lips, and then they'd have a can to spit in. it was tobacco, i guess. but, yeah. i think i, i think the thing i remember most about my grandfather is his hands. he had these really strong hands that -- you know, because he was always working land or chiseling or doing something with his hands. and i think that kind of part nervous energy, part gift, like,
2:06 pm
was this desire to always be working somehow. >> host: there's a chapter in brown girl dreaming called the fabric store. at the fabric store, we were just customers. >> guest: uh-huh. yeah. so my grandmother sewed, and i still, i still sew. i still love going to fabric stores. but that passage is about going to all these places we went to in greenville that were still segregated and how they would -- my grandmother didn't want to go there because they didn't treat black people right but at the fabric store, we -- the woman, she and the woman were friends and bonded and talked about fabric and talked about the family. and my grandmother felt like that was a place she could go and feel safe and want to give her money to because she was respected there. >> host: what was it like to write your memoir, to write the autothe biographical book ash
2:07 pm
autobiographical book? >> guest: it was a relief. it was, definitely -- >> host: it was a relief? >> guest: it was a relief. it was a relief to write something i knew, you know? to go back and figure out what i knew. but to know that it was true, right? and to revisit the ancestors, to go back and remember my grandfather and my grandmother and my uncle and my mom whod had -- who died. and to go back to south carolina and, you know, visit the cousins and ask them questions and to look at old documents and to talk to my aunt and just to mine the history of generations really. but, and also, you know, i started writing it because i was trying to figure out how i got to be a writer, how i got to this point of telling all these stories and getting all of these
2:08 pm
awards and getting all of this attention. like, that didn't come from nowhere. i didn't just wake up one day and say i'm jacqueline woodson, author. i'm standing on the shoulders of generations of people all the way back to a history of people who weren't allowed to learn to read and write. and to go from there to hear was amazing to me. and each time i wrote something new or discovered something new about my family, it was like, whoa, whoa, we are amazing. so it was a good thing. >> or columbia, south carolina. good afternoon. [inaudible] you with us? >> host: are you with us? >> caller: yes. >> host: how old are you? >> caller: 9. >> host: have you read a jacqueline woodson book? >> caller: sadly, no. >> host: sadly no, okay. has your mom read a jacqueline
2:09 pm
woodson book? >> caller: yes. >> host: okay. what would you like to ask ms. woodson? we'll put miss jackie on the air, okay? we'll put her on the screen, and you can go ahead and ask her any question you'd like. >> caller: okay. my question is what advice can you give to young readers and those who want to become writers? >> guest: that's a good question, jayleigh. [inaudible conversations] >> caller: the diary -- [inaudible conversations] >> host: what's that book you're reading? >> caller: dark diaries. >> host: something diaries? >> guest: oh, dork diaries. [laughter] oh, okay. i know dork diaries.
2:10 pm
so do you like writing graphic novels or do you like write poetry or do you like writing stories? what kind of stuff do you like writing? >> caller: graphic novels. >> guest: oh, good. so you're on the right track, right? the way to be a writer is by reading, right? so read as much stuff as you can. because you want to write graphic novels, read dork diaries, read, you know, other graphic novels that you love. you know there are all kinds of graphic novels -- i'm sorry, all kind of graphic books, there are nonfiction, there are fiction, there are ones about poems. so just read as much as you can. and write, try to write something or write and draw every day if you can or as often as you can. and when you can't write or draw, read. keep reading and read slowly is you can study how the authors are doing what they're doing so you can learn from them. do you have a library card?
2:11 pm
>> caller: yes. >> guest: do you use it? >> caller: yes. >> guest: okay. and do you talk to your librarian about what other books you can read to become a writer? >> caller: no. >> guest: okay. next time you're at your library, tell her that jacqueline woodson asked you to ask her some of the books that you she would suggest because you want to be a writer, okay? >> caller: okay. >> host: and, jacqueline woodson, what's a book of yours that you would recommend for jayleigh or to pick pup at the library? -- or pick up at the library? >> guest: you know, you should look at my picture books because you draw and you write. and those will also help you learn about writing. so why don't you start with day you begin. you can get it at your library. and also pecan pie baby might be a good one. or ask your librarian which of the jacqueline woodson books would be good for you with, the
2:12 pm
picture books, to help you learn more about drawing and writing, okay? >> host: all right, we're going to hang up now, okay? and really appreciate your calling in. good to hear your voice. robert, atlanta, good afternoon to you. >> caller: good afternoon. i love the way you handled that last call. thank you. [laughter] question, ms. woodson. i run a boys' club in west atlanta -- can you folks hear me? >> host: yeah, we're listening, robert. >> caller: okay. i guess i see you as an opinion leader as well as an author. there seems to be a terrible disconnect between, between what we see and some of the things i hear you saying. one window on that would have been jasper williams' eulogy for aretha frank be lip. i think it was yesterday --
2:13 pm
franklin. i wonder if you might have heard that. >> guest: no. it was the day before, i thought, but i had to stop watching before the eulogy, sadly. i saw a lot of it though. >> caller: in our world these children are, you know, they're in terrible danger, but they're much safer in white neighborhoods than they are in their own neighborhoods. and the people who help them the most, who are the most effective youth workers and social workers are actually the police. but you don't hear this. and i'm wondering what kind of, what kind of angle you have on that or -- >> guest: can you, can you repeat the questionsome because you went out a little bit, and i wasn't sure i heard it right. >> caller: sorry. many in our world -- in our world youth working in a place like west atlanta, which is kind of tough, the most effective,
2:14 pm
the most effective youth workers or social workers are the police who really do care. the neighborhoods in which they're most safe are the white neighborhoods rather than their own neighborhoods -- >> the police or the people? >> guest: the police or the youth are more safe? >> host: the youth are more safe in the white neighborhoods, the police are the best social workers, according to robert. >> guest: is that the question? >> caller: the best youth organization in west atlanta is p.a.l., the police athletic league. no question about that. and -- >> host: now, robert, are you a policeman? >> caller: no. i'm a youth worker. i work for a boys' club. >> host: are you white? >> caller: i am. >> host: okay, thanks. let's get a response -- and you say there's a disconnect between what jacqueline woodson is saying and what you're seeing on the ground. >> caller: i think so is but i'm not sure. that's what i wanted to ask her about.
2:15 pm
>> guest: so in terms of -- you're saying the white kids are more safe in the white neighborhoods or the black kids -- >> host: the black kids are more safe in the white neighborhoods. >> caller: than they are in their own neighborhoods. >> guest: is that the opinion of the black kids, or is that your opinion? >> caller: i think both. >> guest: so i think the thing about it is i'm kind of boots on the ground with a lot of people of color. in lots and lots of states. and aside from what we're seeing, i think police athletic leagues are doing amazing work. you know, my son plays baseball for the police athletic league, i think the boys' clubs do amazing work, and i think there are a lot of organizations, youth worker organizations that are trying to do the work. i think the disconnect is the conversation between black and white. and really having that conversation with the parents of
2:16 pm
these young people, with the young people themselves, letting white kids and black kids have conversations together -- all american boys by jason reynolds and brandon kylie is a book about that conversation. and one thing they were doing was going around the country. brendan is white, jason is black, and having this conversation with young black and white kids. and it was really interesting for so many adults to hear what both white kids and black kids were saying about the state of our country right now and their own sense of safety. because what we see in the media in terms of so many black kids getting pummeled or shot or feeling unsafe around cops, there's something going on because these stories aren't getting made up. this in terms of white neighborhoods being more safe for black children, i don't know. i mean, again, i think if you're
2:17 pm
working with young people of color, i think it's worth it to have these conversations that are sometimes hard to have because young people speak the truth. and i think you will get a better sense of who you're dealing with. i think also it's really important to read the literature they're reading and have conversations with them around that, see the movies they're seeing and have conversations with them around that. i just watched, rafael, the new diggs movie, it's a brilliant movie, and listened to some young boys talk about that. but i think thank you for the work you're doing. i really, really appreciate it. i really appreciate anyone who cares enough about young people to work with them. and i think it's really important that you have a really true sense of the lives of those young people and what they're dealing with every day, because it's a very complicated situation. >> host: let's hear from wells in oceanside, california.
2:18 pm
you're on the air. >> caller: yeah. hello there, jacqueline. how you doing? >> guest: good. hi, wells. >> caller: well, i'd just like to talk to you anyway. i'm 80 years of age, and i haven't read any of your books or anything like that, but i appreciate what you're doing to try to help the young folks. but what i wanted to say is that i only had a sixth grade education, and thurgood marshall's mother taught me in the first grade down in baltimore, public school 140. and through the years i did a lot of reading, and it helped me a lot. i had four years in the air force and 20 years in the federal government, so that's 30 years of service that i had to render, you know, to my nation. and i appreciate very much what you're doing, and maybe i'll go to the library and get one of your books. but reading is very good, and
2:19 pm
that's how i made my life and everything, by reading a lot. but not having a lot of education. so i always said that you got 90 % common sense and 10% week work. [laughter] what it is, i had the 90 common sense and the 10% book work. so i appreciate everything what you're doing, because down in my area where we came from in baltimore, when i seen that movie about thurgood, well, it didn't tell the true story about him because they never did tell the story about when he worked on a railroad trying to get money to, you know, work his way through college before he went to college park and all that stuff. so if you ever get a chance to write a book -- [laughter] try to write a book about the true story of thurgood marshall. his mother, she's the first one smacked me aside the hand with a ruler when i was in the first
2:20 pm
grade. she was a hell of a good teacher, you know? but that's, you know, i appreciate, you know, that you's on television and wish you all well, okay, dear? >> guest: thank you. >> host: thank you, wells. >> guest: so, wells, i think the movie, of course, movies are different from books. so i think that the thurgood book tells more of the true story, more of the full story. i think the movies are, you know, they're going to give us some of the information. mainly, they want to entertain us. but if you want to get a deeper understanding -- is this working? >> host: it is. i think your microphone might have fallen off. if you can get it back on. otherwise we'll have somebody come in and do that for you. >> guest: thank you. >> host: go ahead and keep talking -- >> guest: you want a deeper understanding of thurgood, you might want to go to your library and ask about a book. and i know you said you had a sixth grade education, it might be, again, let's go to audio books if the book seems to
2:21 pm
complicated to read right now or if you don't have a lot of time. you might want to take a listen to the audio book to get that really, true -- and you'll probably see your teacher in it too the. i'm sure the book is going to give you much more information about judge thurgood marshall's back story. >> host: well, jacqueline woodson, we've had a slew of older people calling in to talk to you. is this -- do you get this at a book signing or at a fair as well? >> guest: i do. at book signings i really do get the spectrum. everyone from very little kids like jay to 90-year-olds. i don't get as many, much older people because they're not mobile like that, so they can't come to the event, which makes this so good. [laughter] so i do, but i do get a range of ages. >> host: another brooklyn. gigi's mother? i hope i'm getting the right
2:22 pm
girl here. was it drugs or mental illness? >> guest: so gigi's mom. angela's mom. >> host: angela's mom. okay, sorry. >> guest: it was drugs. yeah. >> host: was that part of the crack epidemic that happened in the '80s? >> guest: no, it was the heroin of the '70s. so, yeah, so finish you look at the period, you can trace the drug. so she was a heroin addict and od'd and was found on the roof. >> host: dorothy's in baton rouge, louisiana. hi, dorothy. >> caller: hi. >> host: you're on the air, ma'am. >> caller: thank you. i wanted to call about another caller, the 90-year-old woman who could not read. >> host: that was the 69-year-old leah who could not read. >> caller: no, the 90-year-old woman who could not read. >> host: okay. >> caller: and i think your
2:23 pm
advice was spot on. she needs to keep doing it. she needs not to quit. and i also loved the add vice about the awed -- the advice about the audio books. i hadn't thought about that. i'm an adult education teacher, prepare people for the ged. most of them are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. they are not strong readers because they haven't had the kind of education that prepared them for that. but you've given me some great ideas. >> guest: well -- >> caller: you know? and i haven't read your books -- [laughter] i know you get that a lot. >> guest: you know, i think i haven't heard that as much as i've heard it on this show. [laughter] i'm kind of blown away by how many -- i don't think anyone needs to say any more they haven't read my book, i'm good
2:24 pm
with that. [laughter] 90% of the people have not read my book, all you have to say is i'm looking forward to reading you or something like that. it was a 69-year-old woman who couldn't read. the 90-year-old woman was a reader. but i so appreciate your work. >> host: so hearing that you're getting a new audience here -- [laughter] it'll start to affect you after a while. >> guest: it's so funny because i'm just -- it's just interesting. >> host: you've sold, what, millions? >> guest: i don't know. i've sold a lot of books, yeah. >> host: bestsellers, most. >> guest: yeah. there's a lot of bestsellers on the list. but not for this audience. [laughter] it's funny. i mean, i'm grateful. i'm so grateful to c-span, and i'm so grateful to be talking to you, peter, and i'm so grateful to be meeting these people who haven't read me because it's, you know, i think i live in the bubble that everyone has read me. [laughter] and it's good to know that that's a bubble.
2:25 pm
>> host: well, you know, you can tell how popular an author is by how big his or her name is on the title, and you are now as big as the title if not three times as big as the title. sometimes you gotta search for the actual name of the book -- [laughter] when you see, when you see your books. we have not talked about hush. >> guest: oh. >> host: where did that come from? where did the idea come from? be i don't want to give it all away, but d. >> guest: so hush is the story of a family that ends up -- an african-american family that ends up going into the witness protection program after something happens. >> host: the father is a policeman. >> guest: yeah, the father is a cop, and something -- he witnesses something, and he decides to go against the force, break the blue wall of silence, and as a result, they end up having to go into the witness protection program. the girls are 13 and 15. they end up having to completely
2:26 pm
change their identity. and i think when i wanted -- when i started writing it, it was basically because i was fascinated by the witness protection program. like -- and the stories i had read the kids were usually very young. and so i asked myself what would happen if someone had to go into the witness protection program as a teenager whod had lived most of their life as one person and suddenly had to become another person. and i created taquia and cameron who are the girls in this story and began to tell the story. and it was interesting because it kind of became a story about identity politics, right? if someone takes our name away, who do we become? and i had to imagine myself waking up and no learning being jacqueline woodson. like who would i be, what would i say about my history, where i came from, what i've done before. and it was interesting to try to develop that into a narrative. >> host: did you know where that book was going to when you
2:27 pm
started it? >> guest: no, i had no idea. and it took a lot of rewrites to get to that ending. and the answer to the question i was asking became that they had no lost everything. i think they had talked so much about having lost everything and that they had the four of each other. they had each other. they were still okay. >> host: jacqueline woodson, where'd you go to college? >> guest: i went to a small college in long island. [laughter] i don't know if i want to name it because i don't want to encourage people to go there. >> host: did not have a good experience? >> guest: it was fine, it was fine, you know? everything i did, everything led up to this moment. so it was at delphi university. if i hadn't gone to delphi, i probably wouldn't be sitting here now. but if i had to do it again, i think i would have done it differently, you know? i went there, i had an a academic scholarship.
2:28 pm
i eventually had a partial track scholarship, so it was where i could afford to go. other schools that accepted me didn't give me any money, and i would not have been able to go to college without any money. and they just recently gave me an honorary degree, so i'm grateful to them. but at the time i was there, it was very hard for me to be there as a kid of color, as a kid with not much money, as a kid who just was trying to figure out who i was. i think i needed probably a different kind of -- i probably would have gone to an hbcu. i think i would have thrived there in a better -- in some other kind of way. >> host: but you were there on a track scholarship -- . >> guest: i was just there on an academic scholarship. it was later on, i was a walk-on on the track team and got money because i was a good runner. >> host: where do you think you learned writing? >> guest: i think i learned -- >> host: or was it here? >> guest: yeah, i think it's
2:29 pm
always been with me. i think storytelling was always with me, and i really, i just -- i never, i didn't have a backup plan. [laughter] like, writing was the thing i was saying i was going to do from a really are young age, and it brought me such joy. and i couldn't, i just did it all the time. i was writing poems, i was writing short stories, i was writing plays. but writing was kind of my go-to. it was the thing that felt like it anchored me in the world and still does. but i took classes. i took classes, you know, i took creative writing classes at delphi, i took classes at the new school, i took classes in iowa. whenever there was a writer i wanted to work with, still to this day, i mean, you know, i take -- i would take the class if there was a writer who i really -- >> host: the air writers' workshop -- the iowa writers'
2:30 pm
workshop? >> guest: they had a summer program. .. where are starting foundation to harbor artists, i'm not going to be teaching but i'm going to be big -- figuring out the spaces. something i can't do. i have respect for teachers. >> next call for jacqueline wood sphron arnold in dallas, texas. hi, arnold. >> caller: i appreciate you guys taking my call. i was impressed with jacqueline and the manner how she responded
2:31 pm
to individual that said black kids are more safe than white neighborhoods. i get irk with people not having walked in the color having opinion and i appreciate the manner in which jacqueline responded to his question. i like black authors, i don't have any -- i'm from the old school, my first book was, angela davis and i will tell you the mind frame of my reading is all about but i appreciate jacqueline. that's all i wanted to say, i appreciate your guys' program.
2:32 pm
>> host: hay, kate. >> caller: hi. i have to say i haven't -- [laughter] >> caller: i am a c-span junky and i'm delighted that i've been able to hear this, i don't know where in the world she gets her wonderful ideas but i wish i had that kind of imagination. my question is a little off track, i've been very -- well, i'm an old lady, i'm 835 year's old. my question if i'm being politically incorrect because all of my life i have thought if i said someone is articulate that that is a compliment and i've been hearing lately that that's being a slur to an african-american person. i have a -- biracial
2:33 pm
granddaughter whom i love and she's getting her doctorate and to me she's very articulate and i am embarrassed that that word has a different meaning and i guess i'm wondering if there are other words that we are supposed to avoid in order to be politically correct. >> guest: i have to say first and foremost that i appreciate at 85 you're doing the work and trying to do the right thing, i think, it's hard, i think it's hard to change our language, it's hard to change the way we think about the language we use, and the word articulate to describe a person of color is the assumption is that we are not supposed to be, right, it's
2:34 pm
assumed that we are not, that we can't speak well, that we don't have manners and all of this information that comes with that word, so i think maybe a long time ago it would have been okay, but it is a word that makes people feel like, well, did you not expect me to be articulate, did you not expect me to know how to read, did you not expect me to know how to write or be president or whatever it is and that's why it gets problematic. yeah, it's a great word that -- but i think it's good to just assume that people are articulate unless they prove otherwise and i don't mind people calling me brilliant, people saying stuff like that, they are surprised and when someone says you're articulate,
2:35 pm
your english is so good, it's my fifth language. that is a word that can get problematic. ebony magazine that have news about the african-american experience, the is a paper that you can -- online journal that you could subscribe to and it gives you a lot of information about the black experience, so that's one of the many places that you can learn about why language is offensive and -- and just get a sense and i'm sure you're granddaughter probably already knows about it but it's helpful in figuring out the right way to be in this point in time. >> heather williams tweets, hi,
2:36 pm
i'm an elementary librarian at edward elementary in ohio, i loved your books and started the school year with each kindness. i have a block club for third and fourth graders, what books of yours would you recommend using for the club and what books should we add to the library. >> guest: thanks for your question, harbor me and the day it begins library, i would do each kindness already, for the third and fourth graders i would try show way, it's a lot of information in that book, it's a picture book that's targeted probably at older younger people but it goes from the period of enslavement to present day and history of how i became a writer, a younger version of brown girl dreaming but depending on where they are at
2:37 pm
with their reading, i bet they get a lot out of it. >> host: seasons in redding, california, susan, question or comment. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. because of couple of callers, i wanted to ask a question or comment, i have been in upper--middle-class neighborhoods because of economic circumstances, i ended up in poor white neighborhoods and i was listening to the comment about the crime differences, i didn't see a difference in the crime between whites and african -- black neighborhoods except for the fact that i saw the law enforcement take more concern in black neighborhoods, they treated them differently, the black neighborhoods versus neighborhoods. they were softer, same crimes than black neighborhoods and i just wonder -- i wonder if both
2:38 pm
the media is partially to blame for that because of the way they portray both whites and blacks with the same crime and also i wondered if we -- if the schools could possibly, invest in books to introduce to all our kids to educate them would help, that was my question, thank you. >> guest: thank you so much for that question. i think we talk about -- peter and i talked about this earlier about what doctor said about books being mirrors and windows and i do think that it's important that people especially young people get a sense of who other people are and books can do that, they can read books whereas people in the books don't look like they do or don't live like they do or don't have the same belief system as they
2:39 pm
do and -- and learn not only learn, have a new experience but also begin to learn empathy and i think that's the thing changes the narrative is empathy and understanding each other. >> host: who is jasmine ward? >> guest: someone i take a class from, the book that i have read of hers a number of times, i chaired the fiction committee and she lives in mississippi, she's the only writer that's won the national book award twice and just a really thoughtful and beautiful book. >> host: what -- what's it about? >> guest: it's probably a family saga, it's about young boy coming of age in a family where his mom is addicted to drugs,
2:40 pm
his grandmother is dying and his grandfather is his rock and he -- his father is about to get out of prison and heist biracial and his mother and a friend drive him and a sister to get the father out of prison. and it's about that journey, it's about discovery, it's about family, it's about ghosts, i don't know how she does it but it's about a book that takes you to another place, sits you down, brings back home different. >> host: both hailey in harbor me and this book are about visiting in prison where does that come from? >> guest: eni was growing up my urngle was incarcerated and once
2:41 pm
a month we would go visit him in up state in prison and there was a celebration because we got to be reunited with him for that one day and -- and so when i was growing up there were no books about people who were incarcerated even though, owe -- you know, we have the prison industrial complex here and mass incarceration and prison pipeline and we have all these kids who have lost their parents to incargs -- incarceration and they have no mirrors and i didn't and so ii thought i was the only kid who had a family member who was incarcerated and it was a shame to that which was ridiculous and when i grew up i wrote visiting day about a girl that visits dad in prison to pay homage to my uncle, to pay homage to my reality as a child and to show this is another way we have family and there
2:42 pm
shouldn't be a shame to it as a child you've done nothing wrong, like, the things that you might do wrong is to top stoving that person but i -- to stop loving that person but i wanted to show how it looked like and the longing to be reunited without bars between them. >> host: dear hailey, i'm sorry i didn't show up last time, love your father. >> guest: yes, that's a letter hailey's dad write to her after hailey and uncle drive 7 hours to visit him at a prison called malone in up state new york and he's depressed and he can't come down to visit with them and they wait and wait and he doesn't show up and then they drive the 7 hours back home and she's devastated. and her uncle who is this really
2:43 pm
good guy explains to her that he's human and -- and this is what comes with humanity and she's like, no, you can't do that, you cannot show up and goes onto eventually him writing that letter. >> host: artt. >> guest: the art room teacher of the 6 kids and hailey's class, six of people get taken so that they can have an hour with no adult supervision. >> host: is this something that came out of your head or does this actually exist? >> guest: it completely came out of your head. >> host: seemed like a cool idea at the time, when i read that -- >> guest: yeah, i mean, i think it came out of my head in that i know as a parent that i can't be a helicopter mom. my kids are going to have make decisions on their own and
2:44 pm
engage with people their own age and learn how to manipulate -- not manipulate but be in those situations without getting in trouble. so when i was writing harbor me, it could have gone either way, the teacher leaves them alone or it could have been something else and i chose the something else. >> host: rina in north carolina, i think the two girls weren't there it would have been lord of the flies. you're on with jacqueline woodson. >> caller: hello, jack lynn, it's honor to talk to you, i'm a middle school librarian but we have most of your books in our library and i can't wait to read harbor me because i grew up in rainbow does have a place in my
2:45 pm
heart. i want to say thank you because growing up i feel like i was on oblivious and they put the seals in did i begin to wake up and see that there was a whole different, not only to you but jason reynolds, angie thomas, mildred taylor, meyers, understand because surely we like people don't really get it, we will only see glimpse and get closer because of authors like you, so on behalf of my students
2:46 pm
-- >> guest: some of the authors that came before me and paveed the road and they actually did show the world what the african american experience looked like so thank you for using those books and thank you for calling and so greenville. that's amazing. >> host: michael, alabama. >> caller: good afternoon, finally at all last i'm able to talk to in-depth guest. ms. woodson i'm a big admirer and huge fan of yours although most of the african-american fiction i've read has been from other authors, my question is about actually i have two
2:47 pm
questions about children's fiction and about the challenges or pitfalls of getting published. first of all, i'm hoping to get others especially children to elementary schoolers to grow with a very rare autism and mental illness and so forth. it's like african americans and hispanics, you to work twice as hard as one of us able-body white male gentiles to achieve what they do, but i don't know the african-american experience itself. i mean, i've read so much about and certainly influenced my voting along with hispanics and american indians but never grown up that way, i've never grown up in dirt poverty either even though we are from appear --
2:48 pm
appalachia and i wanted to work on books and put them -- make them african americans not from here in appalachian, alabama or in the deep south black belt to create, that was mainly motivated to create greater audience empathy and to expand the readership of children different races and so forth because i read -- >> host: hey, michael, what's your exact question? how to develop -- >> caller: ethical white male gentile like myself to do that because i've never to increase
2:49 pm
even if the motive is good i might say my background is not in english major in college -- >> host: only because we are running low on time i'm going leave it there, you gave us a lot to work with, jacqueline woodson. >> guest: i wrote an article, you can find it on the internet, it's called who can tell my story, i suggest you read that. i think that -- if you don't know anybody intimately in the groups that you're writing about, it's going to be a challenge for you to -- to write them. if you don't know anyone who can read it and say, well, you nailed or, no, you just created stereotype it's going to be a challenge. i don't think you need to change the ethnicity of your character to darn -- garner for empathy,
2:50 pm
you should write what you know and as long as you write a good story it's going to -- it's going to do what you wanted to do but i think i'm trying to write across lines of race just to try to grow the audience or because you think it's going to get more empathy, that's not going to work. >> host: we haven't talked about the other side, where did that come from? did that come from greenville? >> guest: no, in the 90's when i was still a renter, we are going around trying to find an apartment and every time it was rented. i was single and i was looking with my house mate who was black and filipina and so -- and then
2:51 pm
a lot of real estate agencies got busted because landlords were discriminated, they were saying to rent to black person, gay person, whatever it was and i had always thought of this as mixed neighborhood, it's not. as i started walking around the neighborhood i would see blocks where people of color had never lived and then blocks that were all people of color and then as the neighborhood started changing more it would be diverse during the day and at night when the nannies went home it wasn't anymore. and i watched less and less diverse, and so i started writing the other side and at the same time i was going around the country and i would go into classrooms where kids had never met a black person, the first one they were meeting and i would go into classroom and i started seeing the segregation around the country and as you know new york has the highest rate of segregated schools in the country and i wrote the other side and when i write the
2:52 pm
other side i get to pick illustrator and once i choose the illustrator i'm not allowed to talk to them at all. >> host: you did not? >> guest: no. hudson and i met and we were sharing photos and looking at sketches and everything but with the other side i saw the sketches and i was like little whack, i saw the whole book, he sent my book back in a pack and i was -- but i realized it took me a moment to realize that he had given me a gift because segregation is much easier for people to talk about as thing in the past and, you know, so i go into classrooms and with this book and they are like, yeah, that was in the 50's and martin luther king and rosa parks and now we have no segregation, okay, let's look at
2:53 pm
this classroom and so it opened the door for me to get in the classrooms and have the bigger conversations about, yeah, let's really look at it, has it changed, maybe this looks like the past but is it happening now and kids are astute, wait a minute, why are we all black and all teachers white, wait a minute. people would ask me if i thought the fence was down now in the other side because the fence separates the black side of town with the white side of town and i say if you go home, if you can remember the last time your family sat down to dinner, not lunch because lunch you sit down with coworkers or whatever, someone of a different race then the fence is down in your family and the kids would not be able to, you know, so many of them, nope, nope. >> host: black and white, right? >> guest: yeah, both black and white with black families it was less so because people had latino friends and people has
2:54 pm
asian friends. there was more mixing in neighborhoods that were more mixed with people of color, the white neighborhoods were white and, but kids they tried to pull in a babysitter and nanny, no, that person is working for you, that person is getting paid to have dinner with you. it was interesting because i think a lot of kids started realizing that what they were being taught by their parents about tolerance and equality and everybody getting along the parents weren't practicing, they didn't center friends of color, or they didn't know people who lived differently than they did and in the end i did appreciate eb and his i list raucións and then children for coming home soon which is set in the past and -- and worked out beautifully. >> host: all right, a few minutes minutes left with our guest natalia wood heaven, new york, go ahead. >> hi, good afternoon, i just
2:55 pm
want to shout jacqueline woodson and saying this is the first time seeing you ever after reading your work and i just want to say listening and hearing you, i am truly in love. i am in awe. i read your work another brooklyn and changed my whole life because i lost my mother at young age and your character and how she looked after her little brother and father being concerned with the streets of brooklyn and i was born in brooklyn and your book really changed my life and just to know that i'm not the only one that's getting impacted by your work, like i'm one of the few, it's amazing to be able to experience your work and i'm currently working as youth advocate at school in brooklyn myself right now so i can only hope to be able to impact the youth the way
2:56 pm
you're impacting the world in your own way, so blessings to you, jacqueline. >> thanks so much, natalia. can i ask where you're working in brooklyn? >> host: she's gone, i hung up on her, sorry. >> caller: hi, i have a question, how do we interweave empathy and the rule of law together so as to avoid swing towards feelings to the exclusion of sex? >> guest: can you repeat that question? call call combine it with the rule of law to as to avoid swing towards the feelings to the exclusion of facts especially in -- >> host: feelings and facts. >> guest: what do you mean by rule of law?
2:57 pm
i just want to make sure i follow the whole question and what do you mean by the exclusion of facts? >> caller: i see in the media at least, i can see some behaviors in some people that are criticized and then in saying conservative people they are criticized in general by the press but what i see those behaviors in liberals i don't see them criticized and i'm wondering how we can get back to applying a consistent standard for how behavior should be judged instead of based on the personal characteristics whether genetic or religions or political of the person with the feeling or the fact and that's the same thing in how rule is applied both civilly and criminally. >> guest: yeah, i understand what you're asking, i think, i
2:58 pm
think i'm a little confused as to how -- are you asking me as an author or asking that to have this platform on c-span? i'm not sure. >> host: she is gone. i'm pretty quick on the trigger. >> guest: okay, i was happy to answer it, i want to be clear on the questions, so -- >> host: you want to leave it there? >> guest: well, i think, i just want it to be clear on the question, i think the way we -- i think the core is empathy, having empathy and having empathy in your own home, i mean, there's only so much we can control in the world but we can -- we can teach our children, we can have these conversations with our family, we can have conversations with extended family, we can have conversations with friend and we can be open, i mean, the thing about harbor me is not so much about talking but people
2:59 pm
actually listening to each other, not listening to because they are waiting for their turn to talk, they are listening because they are open to hearing and understanding and i think that's -- that's a first step is being open to hearing others' ideas and thoughts and opinions. you know, i don't know, i think the issue of facts is a complicated one and it's a much longer conversation that i'm not going to have on book c-span but i think it's the beginning -- i stay we still have to start with empathy and hearing each other. >> host: jacqueline woodson has been our guest for the past 3 hours on book tv's in-depth program, most recent young adult tiet stl harbor me, we appreciate your time.
3:00 pm
>> guest: thank you, peter, it's been fun. >> this year book tv marks 20th year of bringing top nonfiction authors and latest book, finds us every weekend on c-span2 or online at >> now, it is my pleasure to introduce today's moderator scott adams, scott adams is the creator of the comic strip with estimated 150 million readers across the country, mr. adams has dozen offense book and print an daily video stream, coffee with scott adam, he has been a banker, tech guy, restaurant owner and cofounder of the start-up win-hub, he's a


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on