If You Come Softly (Paperback)
Penguin Books, 9780142415221, 224pp.
Publication Date: January 7, 2010
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A lyrical story of star-crossed love perfect for readers of The Hate U Give, by National Ambassador for Children’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he's going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock, and after that they know they fit together--even though she's Jewish and he's black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that's not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way.
Jacqueline Woodson's work has been called “moving and resonant” (Wall Street Journal) and “gorgeous” (Vanity Fair). Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, and including a new preface by the author, If You Come Softly is a powerful story of interracial love that leaves readers wondering "why" and "if only . . ."
About the Author
Jacqueline Woodson (www.jacquelinewoodson.com) is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and she received the 2018 Children's Literature Legacy Award. She is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DREAMING, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Her recent adult book, Another Brooklyn, was a National Book Award finalist. Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her books include THE OTHER SIDE, EACH KINDNESS, Caldecott Honor Book COMING ON HOME SOON; Newbery Honor winners FEATHERS, SHOW WAY, and AFTER TUPAC AND D FOSTER, and MIRACLE'S BOYS—which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award and was adapted into a miniseries directed by Spike Lee. Jacqueline is also the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature, the winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and was the 2013 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
Praise For If You Come Softly…
* "Once again, Woodson handles delicate, even explosive subject matter with exceptional clarity, surety and depth. In this contemporary story about an interracial romance, she seems to slip effortlessly into the skins of both her main characters. . . . Both voices convincingly describe the couple's love-at-first-sight meeting and the gradual building of their trust. The intensity of their emotions will make hearts flutter, then ache as evidence mounts that Ellie's and Jeremiah's 'perfect' love exists in a deeply flawed society. Even as Woodson's lyrical prose draws the audience into the tenderness of young love, her perceptive comments about race and racism will strike a chord with black readers and open the eyes of white readers."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Woodson offers readers a poetically conceived novel of young love, permeated with complications of family dynamics, racism, and violence. . . . Woodson unerringly limns the delicate intensity and passionate innocence of first love. . . . The two points of view effectively communicate the loneliness of the two sensitive teenagers and their breathless delight in discovering one another. Characterization is solid and well-developed as both parents and frirends focus into reality through the eyes of Miah and Ellie. Their conversations ever so gently open up issues of racism, self-awareness, and moral consciousness."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Woodson perceptively explores varieties of love, trust, and friendship, as she develops well-articulated histories for both families. . . . A tale as rich in social and personal insight as any of Woodson's previous books."--Kirkus Reviews
"Lyrical narrative. . . . This fine author once again shows her gift for penning a novel that will ring true with young adults as it makes subtle comments on social situations."--School Library Journal
"As in all her fiction, Woodson confronts prejudice head-on."--Booklist