February 2021: Jacqueline Woodson’s “Red at the Bone”

Calling all book nerds! Are you looking for a place where your book-loving heart can flourish? Join us at jenhatmakerbookclub.com, and become one of our sisters in nerdiness. For February 2021, the Jen Hatmaker Book Club read the novel Red at the Bone by four-time National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson, and whew, what a story. Jacqueline is a master storyteller who explores all kinds of topics—sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood—with the grace and nuance that each deserves. Red at the Bone is a fascinating novel that looks at the ways young people often make long-lasting decisions about their lives—even before they’ve begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

Episode Transcript

Hey, guys. Welcome back to the Jen Hatmaker Book Club podcast. And if you’re listening to this on our regular For the Love Podcast feed, welcome. Today, you are getting a little sneak peak into all the incredible fun we have behind the scenes at the Jen Hatmaker Book Club, which we would love to have you join. We’ve got a chair just for you. Your seat is reserved. Come join us, you will not regret it. You can find out more at JenHatmakerBookClub.com. It’s incredible.

This interview is so fun. I think I developed a crush today. Well, I did. You’ll see it in real time. You will in real time watch my crush develop over the course of the hour. Of course, Book Club, I’ve been watching you blow up the Facebook group on this one, and I know you’ve been dying to hear from our author this month, Jacqueline Woodson. Oh, you guys. Please tell me later if I overdid it, but I was just finding her so smart and interesting and funny, and I think I just got a little swoony over her. I really do. So if I embarrassed us, I am sorry, but I got smitten.

Okay, so let me tell you a little bit about her. Jacqueline Woodson, well, she’s a powerhouse. Of course you already know this. She is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. She’s written more than two dozen books. In 2014, she won the National Book Award for young people’s literature for her memoir, which she mentions in our interview, Brown Girl Dreaming.

She’s doing all right, as you can see. She was born in Columbus, Ohio, and she split her growing up years between Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn. She graduated from college with a BA in English, and she’s been a writer her entire life, according to her, since age seven. And thank God. Honestly, thank God. Thank God she didn’t try something weird like being an accountant when she’s supposed to be an incredible writer. She knew where to go, and she was right.

Her most recent book, Red at the Bone, is our February selection in the Jen Hatmaker Book Club, and it touches on just really light topics like race, class, sexual orientation, motherhood, white supremacy. It’s easy. Right? Easy things to weave through. And yet she did it with such finesse and even subtlety. She’s an incredible writer.

So you’re going to enjoy her as much as I did, if that’s possible today. I am delighted to share this conversation with just an extraordinary author and person, Jacqueline Woodson.


Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

The African Lookbook by Catherine E. McKinley 

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates


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