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Jacqueline Woodson

Middle Grade/Young Adult

book cover of Lena


When things get too bad at home, twelve-year-old Lena and her eight-year-old sister, Dion, run away. Dressed as boys to make it easier for them on the road, they travel from Ohio to Kentucky looking for a safe place to call “home”.

Where it takes place:

West Virginia and Kentucky.

Where I wrote it:

In the Park Slope section of Brooklyn and in Peterborough, New Hampshire at the MacDowell Colony.

Why I wrote it:

I wrote Lena because I got so many letters asking me about the end of I Hadn’t Meant To Tell You This. I hadn’t planned to write a sequel but I’m glad I did.

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is an American writer of books for adults, children, and adolescents. She is best known for her National Book Award-Winning memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, and her Newbery Honor-winning titles After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way. Her picture books The Day You Begin and The Year We Learned to Fly were NY Times Bestsellers. After serving as the Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017, she was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress for 2018–19. She was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2020. Later that same year, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.