Part IV

In a series of autobiographical poems, Jacqueline Woodson vividly brings her childhood and adolescence to life. This memoir in verse won the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Newbery Honor Award.

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, untie!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. temptation
    the desire to do something that you know you should avoid
    The holes in the wall are covered over and left unpainted, his bed pulled away from temptation, nothing for him to peel away.
  2. chant
    recite with musical intonation
    No more getting wet in the johnny pump or standing with two fisted hands out in front of me, a dime hidden in one, chanting,
    Dumb school, dumb school, which hand's it in?
  3. introduce
    cause to come to know personally
    The story wakes up and walks all over the room. Sits in a chair, crosses one leg over the other, says, Let me introduce myself.
  4. cursive
    handwriting in which letters are connected within words
    I want to say, No, my name is Jacqueline but I am scared of that cursive q, know I may never be able to connect it to c and u so I nod even though I am lying.
  5. brilliant
    having or marked by unusual and impressive intelligence
    You look so much like her and she is SO brilliant! then wait for my brilliance to light up the classroom.
  6. stumble
    make an error
    Wait for me to stand before class, easily reading words even high school students stumble over.
  7. memorize
    learn by heart
    Words come slow to me on the page until I memorize them, reading the same books over and over, copying lyrics to songs from records and TV commercials, the words settling into my brain, into my memory.
  8. imagine
    form a mental image of something that is not present
    And even though we've never seen an ice storm we've seen a birch tree, so we can imagine everything we need to imagine
  9. settle
    become resolved, fixed, established, or quiet
    But I don't want to read faster or older or any way else that might
    make the story disappear too quickly from where it's settling inside my brain, slowly becoming a part of me.
  10. fuss
    worry unnecessarily or excessively
    If someone had been fussing with me to read like my sister, I might have missed the picture book filled with brown people, more brown people than I'd ever seen in a book before.
  11. hobby
    an auxiliary activity
    They say,
    We hear you making up all those stories.
    We used to write poems.
    It's a good hobby, we see how quiet it keeps you.
  12. fare
    the sum charged for riding in a public conveyance
    We are people paying the same fare as other people.
  13. clasp
    hold firmly and tightly
    It's hard not to see the moment—
    my grandmother in her Sunday clothes, a hat
    with a flower pinned to it
    neatly on her head, her patent-leather purse,
    perfectly clasped
    between her gloved hands—waiting quietly long past her turn.
  14. fade
    become less clearly visible or distinguishable
    We wave again from the taxi that pulls out slow down the drive--watch our grandmother, still waving, grow small behind us and our grandfather, in the window, fade from sight.
  15. monarch
    butterfly with orange wings and black and white markings
    No one believes me when I tell them
    I am writing a book about butterflies,
    even though they see me with the Childcraft encyclopedia
    heavy on my lap opened to the pages where
    the monarch, painted lady, giant swallowtail and
    queen butterflies live.
  16. resurrection
    a revival from inactivity and disuse
    There are horses and cows in my story even though the main point is supposed to be the story of the resurrection.
  17. absolute
    expressing finality with no implication of possible change
    Did you know God's word is absolute?
  18. bodega
    small shop selling groceries, especially in a Hispanic area
    But some days, when it's raining and Mama won’t let me go outside, I see them on the block, their fingers laced together, heading around the corner to the bodega for candy.
  19. baptize
    administer a sacrament signifying spiritual rebirth
    When Maria's brother, Carlos, gets baptized he is just a tiny baby in a white lace gown with so many twenty-dollar bills folded into fans pinned all over it that he looks like a green-and-white angel.
  20. stoop
    small porch or set of steps at the front entrance of a house
    We take our food out to her stoop just as the grown-ups start dancing merengue, the women lifting their long dresses to show off their fast-moving feet, the men clapping and yelling, Baila! Baila! until the living room floor disappears.
  21. polite
    showing regard for others in manners, speech, behavior, etc.
    We are good kids,
    people tell my mother this all the time, say,
    You have the most polite children.
  22. allow
    permit without opposing or prohibiting
    At home, we aren't allowed words like stupid or dumb or jerk or darn.
    We aren't allowed to say I hate or I could die or You make me sick.
    We're not allowed to roll our eyes or
    look away when my mother is speaking to us.
  23. funk
    an earthy type of jazz combining it with blues and soul
    My mother lets us choose what music we want to listen to as long as the word funk doesn't appear anywhere in the song.
    But the summer I am ten, funk is in every single song that comes on the cool black radio stations.
  24. narrow
    not wide
    Witnesses believe there's a wide road and a narrow road. To be good in the eyes of God is to walk the narrow one, live a good clean life, pray, do what's right.
  25. casket
    box in which a corpse is buried or cremated
    Ashes to ashes, we say at the grave site with each handful of dirt we drop gently onto his lowering casket.
Created on December 2, 2015 (updated September 28, 2018)

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, sheffieldwind.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.