Fostering a Listening Culture through Storytelling

New York Times-bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson uses her powerful storytelling as a conduit for workplaces to have crucial but difficult, discussions around the vast impact of grief, trauma, and history—especially when you are living through it.
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TED Talk | In a lyrical talk, Jacqueline invites us to slow down and appreciate stories that take us places we never thought we’d go and introduce us to people we never thought we’d meet.

Program Topics

  • Empowering Silenced Voices

    The often unseen effects of systematic racism, sexism, and bigotry can all too easily create an echo chamber in the workplace. People with the most influence feel free to speak up, while other employees don’t feel empowered to share a new idea or call out problems, leading to stunted innovation, growth, and psychological safety. Many organizations may try to pin this as an issue of individual confidence, but in reality, employees’ silence can be indicative of much wider systemic issues within a team. Jacqueline Woodson has dedicated her career to writing compelling, emotional books that spotlight the very people who so often feel silenced in the workplace. In her talks, she uses her stories as a gateway to creating space to listen to those who have long been ignored or silenced, leading to a stronger, more inclusive corporate culture.

  • Helping Employees Work Through Collective Grief

    As employees return to work in-person, we are tempted to proclaim that “everything is back to normal.” But there is an elephant in the room as we regather: our collective state of grief. As companies bring employees back, onboard new ones, and mourn the loss of dear colleagues that will never come back, it is important to bring teams together and unpack collective grief.  As a writer, activist, and mother, Jacqueline Woodson talks to employees about how she has written, worked, and parented her way through this moment in history. She addresses, specifically, the isolation and struggles that working parents confronted, and leaves teams with a sense of hope and resilience to re-enter and re-emerge.

Red at the Bone

Red at the Bone

A Novel

An unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes and explores their histories – reaching back to the Tulsa race massacre of 1921 – and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming

Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody’s family – reaching back to the Tulsa race massacre in 1921 – to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

Available in hardcover, paperback, eBook, and audiobook
Published Sep 17, 2019 | 208 pages

Red at the Bone

Red at the Bone is a narrative steeped in truth…Thank you, Ms. Woodson, for leading me home.”

The Washington Post

“In less than 200 sparsely filled pages, this book manages to encompass issues of class, education, ambition, racial prejudice, sexual desire and orientation, identity, mother-daughter relationships, parenthood and loss….With Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson has indeed risen — even further into the ranks of great literature.”


“An exquisite tale of family legacy….The power and poetry of Woodson’s writing conjures up Toni Morrison.”

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