Review of If You Come Softly audiobook

If You Come Softly
by Jacqueline Woodson; read by Jorjeana Marie, Guy Lockard, and Jacqueline Woodson
High School    Listening Library
3 CDs    3.72 hrs    978-0-525-63790-5    $45.00

The twentieth anniversary audiobook of Woodson’s novel opens with her heartfelt introduction about the persistent relevance of this tragic story about an interracial teen couple, Jeremiah (Miah) and Ellie. He’s black, she’s white, and when they meet at school they feel an immediate connection. That connection persists and deepens despite others’ objections and the racism they encounter. Readers Marie and Lockard’s alternating narrations live up to Woodson’s deft characterizations, and their sensitive evocation of young love will send listeners’ hearts aflutter. Although Woodson was inspired by Romeo and Juliet, the tragic conclusion here arrives not with suicides but with a police shooting. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t appear in the two-decade-old text, but the ending reverberates with its sentiment long after the final word is read.

From the November/December 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Megan Dowd Lambert
Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert is an instructor at Simmons University’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. For nearly ten years she also worked in the education department of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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