Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

A harbor is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as a place of security and comfort or a part of a body of water protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage.

Chad and I in Friday Harbor, Washington

In the story, Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson, a teacher provides six, fifth grade students with an opportunity to meet unsupervised for the last hour of every school week. Throughout the book, the reader begins to understand the purpose behind the special meeting place for the students as each one shares a portion of their story. Each student has a weakness that is in need of a safe place yet, they each have a strength in which provides a comfort to another. 

I strongly believe in the power of storytelling. If I openly share my story with someone, without saying anything, without asking; I have given the other person permission to openly share their story. Maybe not right away and maybe not even to me; but at sometime that other person will often share. In this sharing, we find out we are not alone in this world and we are not the only one who has experienced something difficult in our lives.

In this timely published masterpiece, Jacqueline Woodson models how to create a harbor in our homes, in our classrooms, and in our community. She provides a recipe for creating a culture in which our children, students, and citizens so desperately need right now. 

From the publisher: Jacqueline Woodson’s first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a group of students share their stories. It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives. 

I would like to thank, First to Read and Penguin Random House for the advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Until next time – a latte of sparkles & giggles,

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