A small group of scholars gathers twice a week to read Brown Girl Dreaming by author Jacqueline Woodson. During the book club, held in partnership with Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, scholars take turns reading aloud from the novel. Christy Stuber leads the group on Thursdays. She sits on the board for Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, an organization that presents literary evenings by nationally-known writers, as well as an afternoon series for Kids and Teens. Since Stuber also sits on the Advisory Board of Higher Achievement Pittsburgh, this project seemed like a perfect fit! An avid reader herself, she was excited to share her love for reading with the scholars.
Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir written in verse that is based on Woodson’s childhood growing up in South Carolina and New York, and what it felt like to be black during the 60s and 70s. Stuber says, “The story is important because it is about recognizing that everyone has a gift.” The book resonates with scholars. They look forward to their book club meetings each week. Homewood’s Center Director, Gabrielle Dibonge, has noticed a spike in participation. “Many of the scholars who avoid reading out loud,” she said, “perk up during the meetings. Some students were uncomfortable reading out loud at first, but here they are engaged in a large group setting. They come up to me really excited, reminding me that book club is today.” On February 28, Woodson will visit Pittsburgh at The Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Oakland. The scholars who have been participating in the book club will have the opportunity to attend the event.
Every child has a special gift that they want to share with the world. For author Jaqueline Woodson, that gift was writing. At Higher Achievement, scholars are encouraged to explore and find their talents. This month, many scholars have been writing their own love-themed poems, getting ready to showcase their literary talents on stage at Love Out Loud, on March 16, at the Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium, Kaufmann Center of the Hill House Association.