Jacqueline Woodson

Episode 22

Jacqueline Woodson

The Fire Inside: Jacqueline Woodson Carries the Torch

Masthead Waves

About this episode

Jacqueline Woodson recognizes that our stories are part of an enduring legacy that stretches far beyond our own lifetimes. Embracing the concept of a continuum, she draws inspiration from preceding generations and carries their narratives forward in her writing. Woodson's impactful voice has left an indelible mark on the literary landscape, inspiring millions and advocating for progress and inclusivity.  


"For me, in the fiction, it is so much about keeping that continuum going, that someone's gonna come along after me and tell a story that's connected to the story that I've told. I'm telling the story that's connected to the writers and the relatives who came before me.” - Jacqueline Woodson


Jacqueline has witnessed the evolution of literary spaces over decades, along the way establishing herself as a legendary voice in the industry. She has become a guiding force, pushing publishers, readers, and writers toward a more inclusive future. Now, in addition to her own work, Woodson dedicates her time to providing resources and support to the next generation of voices through the Baldwin For the Arts initiative.

In this episode, she talks about the importance of acknowledging your space in the continuum, she reflects on the industry’s evolution throughout her career through the lens of a Black queer writer, and she talks about setting the next generation up to carry on our stories and the stories that came before us.


Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter.

Connect with Jacqueline on social @jacqueline_woodson.


For her reading challenge , Reading Black , Jacqueline has curated a list of books by Black authors, inviting us to contemplate the intricate influences and interconnections that shape narratives. You can find her list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.
Returning as this episode’s Beanstack featured librarian is Cicely Lewis, School Library Journal’s 2020 school librarian of the year, from Gwinnett County Public Schools. Cicely, aka the Read Woke librarian, talks about why read-alouds are so important even for high school students, and why she refuses to stop using the word “woke” to inspire young people to read important narratives.

  • Chapter 1 - Starting in the Middle
  • Chapter 2 - The Continuum
  • Chapter 3 - Ballad of the Sad Café
  • Chapter 4 - Jacqueline’s Beginning
  • Chapter 5 - Empowering the Future
  • Chapter 6 - A Different Story
  • Chapter 7 - 500 Questions
  • Chapter 8 - Reading Black
  • Chapter 9 - Beanstack Featured Librarian

Author Reading Challenge

Download the free reading challenge worksheet, or view the challenge materials on our helpdesk.

zoobean_podcast_challenge_2023_JacquelineWoodson__Worksheet P1 (1)   zoobean_podcast_challenge_2023_JacquelineWoodson__Worksheet P2



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