Citation: Woodson, J. (1998). If you come softly. New York: Putnam's.
Annotation: Both Elisha (Ellie) and Jeremiah (Miah) attend Percy Academy, a private school where neither quite fits in. Ellie is wrestling with family demons, and Miah is one of the few African American students. The two of them find each other, and fall in love -- but they are hesitant to share their newfound happiness with their friends and families, who will not understand. At the end, life makes the brutal choice for them: Jeremiah is shot and killed, and Ellie now has to cope with the consequences..
Jacqueline Woodson is the author of numerous award-winning books for young adults, including Last Summer With Maizon, I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun, and Miracle's Boys. She started writing when she was young, but her fiction for kids didn't really click until she got older. That's when she realized that she could actually help the younger generation simply through her words.
That's why Woodson chooses subjects that she thinks kids should be able to read about — even if they're topics that are hard to explain or uncomfortable to talk about. For example, If You Come Softly is about an interracial romance; Hush tells the story of a family placed under the witness protection program; and Sweet, Sweet Memory depicts the way a young girl copes with her grandfather's death. Visiting Day is a picture book about a little girl's trips to see her father in prison. It's not every day you see a children's book about this topic, but Woodson believes that it is an important subject because lots of people have family members in prison, and she wants them to know that it's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, Woodson says that Visiting Day is about the same thing that all her other books are about: caring about one another. “In Visiting Day, the people really love each other, miss each other when they're apart, and care a great deal about each other. This is what's most important to me — to show love in all its many forms.”
Woodson currently lives in Brooklyn, where she writes full-time and can be found in the mornings hanging out in Prospect Park with her dog, Maus.
Awards: ALA Popular Paperback lists, Maryland State Winner, Virginia State Winner
Level: 9-12 grade
Genre: General Fiction