pdf Harbor Me By Jacqueline Woodson – Vansonphu.com

Harbor Me This book has EVERYTHING love, family, friends, middle school transitions, and the devastating realities faced by so many of our children in this country It brought me tears, goosebumps, and gratitude that I m alive in a world with people like Jackie Woodson.Seriously buy copies for your libraries and every family you know 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 storiesIt 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 ready for the rest of their lives Listened to this one on audio from my library and REALLY enjoyed it I particularly liked the interview section at the end For a middle grade novel that is less than 200 pages, this story manages to cram in quite a few serious subjects including race, imprisonment, deportation, and the death of a parent The ARTT Room short for A Room to Talk , is a place where 6 students in a special learning class get to meet every Friday unsupervised for an hour They are allowed to talk about whatever is on their minds and throughout the course of the school year they share some of their deepest thoughts and fears There was For a middle grade novel that is less than 200 pages, this story manages to cram in quite a few serious subjects including race, imprisonment, deportation, and the death of a parent The ARTT Room short for A Room to Talk , is a place where 6 students in a special learning class get to meet every Friday unsupervised for an hour They are allowed to talk about whatever is on their minds and throughout the course of the school year they share some of their deepest thoughts and fears There was a little bit of a Breakfast Club type vibe going on in terms of a group of kids who by the end of their time together share this bond and really opened themselves up to one another Some really touching moments in the book Would definitely recommend if you are looking to support books with diversity that explore important and timely topics Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion Six kids A room to talk For a whole school year six kids go into a room where they are to talk to each other Throughout the course of this book they reveal stories about their diverse backgrounds Harbor me was great I flew through this book, it is quite short but I loved every bit about it This is the first book of Jacqueline Wood son s that I have readI know right She s such a great well known author and I hope to readfrom her in the future Harbor me stood out to me specificall Six kids A room to talk For a whole school year six kids go into a room where they are to talk to each other Throughout the course of this book they reveal stories about their diverse backgrounds Harbor me was great I flew through this book, it is quite short but I loved every bit about it This is the first book of Jacqueline Wood son s that I have readI know right She s such a great well known author and I hope to readfrom her in the future Harbor me stood out to me specifically because of the diverse cast of characters and seeing the characters open up to each other throughout the meetings was so interesting and seeing these characters with different backgrounds connect with each other because of their stories was truly beautiful While Harbor me was a short book, just shy of 200 pages, it included a lot about race, deportation, death and bullying Each of these topics were well represented in realistic ways throughout this book I didn t enjoy Harbor Me as much as I wanted to but I still really liked the story and all he characters I wish it was a longer book and that we could have goneinto Holly s character and maybe explored a bitAge rating Nothing inappropriate butof a ya interest level Ages 12 upHarbor me was a beautiful story about friendship that stole my heart 4.5 stars Thanks to a Kid Lit Exchange reviewer for sharing her free review copy from NerdCampMI with us.There are some books that I label teaching books and this is most certainly one of them Of course it s one I want kids to pick up on their own as well, but it s one I want read out loud to every 5th and 6th grade class in the US this school year It s one that might seem so so familiar to many students, but it s also a story that may need a bit or a lot of adult led discussion to truly get the m Thanks to a Kid Lit Exchange reviewer for sharing her free review copy from NerdCampMI with us.There are some books that I label teaching books and this is most certainly one of them Of course it s one I want kids to pick up on their own as well, but it s one I want read out loud to every 5th and 6th grade class in the US this school year It s one that might seem so so familiar to many students, but it s also a story that may need a bit or a lot of adult led discussion to truly get the messages across to students in areas not as familiar with the issues of parent incarceration, deportation, and city life I ll be honest, this is true of my tiny rural school district in Wisconsin Kids will or should have lots of questions about the content, and it would be such a rich class discussion novel Loved the poetry included and the kid led discussions An incredibly short fast read..I d say the sweet spot for this book is 5th and 6th grade, up through middle school if students are willing to read about characters several years younger than them Fine for 4th grade, but there may be a lotquestions about police brutality the younger the readers are, and depending on the location of the readers..again with my suggestion for whole class read aloud A good book, whether it s written for a nine year old, a nineteen year old, or a ninety year old can tilt your perspective, if only momentarily Consider the concept of the happy ending and what it s supposed to resemble What does a real happy ending actually entail in real life In children s books, many times the ending of a given story is happy when day is done In real life, something happy may happen to a child but where s the ending in all that As an author, Jacqueline Woodson doesn A good book, whether it s written for a nine year old, a nineteen year old, or a ninety year old can tilt your perspective, if only momentarily Consider the concept of the happy ending and what it s supposed to resemble What does a real happy ending actually entail in real life In children s books, many times the ending of a given story is happy when day is done In real life, something happy may happen to a child but where s the ending in all that As an author, Jacqueline Woodson doesn t eschew a sense of completion when you get to the end of her books Kids could spend a long time debating whether some of her endings could be so simplified as to call them happy or not Harbor Me falls into that category The satisfaction a reader feels upon its completion is intrinsically tied to its writing, but to call this a happy book is to diminish it Shooting for the moon, Ms Woodson manages to fill this svelte title with a host of different ideas, lessons, and teachable moments And while I don t think it knocks it out of the park with every swing, it still manages to be one of the most interesting and well written books of this or any other year.It sounds like a social experimentthan anything else Six kids are removed from their classmates and placed in their own room for a weekly discussion Their teacher s rules are clear Every Fridaythe six of you will leave my classroom at two p.m and come into Room 501 You ll sit in this circle and you ll talk When the bell rings at three, you re free to go home Putting kids in a separate space together can end with either a Breakfast Club situation or a Lord of the Flies conundrum Predictably, at first the kids don t want to say a word, but when Haley starts bringing in a hand recorder, something cracks open Esteban is able to talk about his dad, recently taken by the police and sent back to another country Amari about the restrictions put on black boys in America Ashton on being one of the few white kids in their Brooklyn school But it s Haley herself that has the hardest time talking About her mom s death Her dad s incarceration As the room comes together and bonds, people listen to one another and everyone gets and ending Happy or not Now every children s book that strives to imbue its pages with weight and meaning must contend with a danger that I like to call the rogue cute The rogue cute is that moment where the author s writing tips from meaningful into faux meaningful From something that is honestly moving into something that feels like it s trying too hard All children s books novelists contend with this issue to varying degrees of success Ms Woodson is no different, and there are times when she issuccessful than others For example, to read this book is to accept that it is, to a certain extent, an idealized situation Six kids, mostly strangers to one another, are placed in a room where they may argue, disagree, or even tease but who are, in the end, devoid of cruelty That s the premise, but fortunately there s a lotgoing on here than just that As with many children s books, Ms Woodson is conveying a message, but where she may seem to be painting with too broad a brush in some places, at other times she s quite circumspect For example, many novels for kids stress the need for us to empathize with one another Woodson actually turns the concept of active listening into a whole book without hitting the reader over the head with the message Each time a kid in the classroom wants to speak, everyone lets them, with a minimal amount of interruptions or interjections Equity and diversity trainings often include a portion of the training where people are taught this very skill Leave it Ms Woodson to model this behavior for the next generation.As for the six characters, some are better delineated than others I found myself thinking that single character points being bullied, moving, etc are rarely proper stand ins for personality traits So I do wish just a smidgenwork had gone into showing precisely why this group has bonded as tightly as it has I understand that much of it has to do with being able to talk honestly in a safe space I guess I just wish there d been 215 pages rather than 192, to allow for someof those connections That said, Ms Woodson has somehow managed to write a handsome novel at less than 200 pages If she stopped and thoroughly examined in depth every character to the same extent that she follows Haley, you d be looking at a book that was at least twice the length of the one here And while I wish I d been able to knowthan just one thing about some of these characters, I can t help but admire the almost Hemingway esque succinctness of the narrative After a while, it got me to thinking about how we meet characters in books and how we meet them in real life When you meet someone new, your brain essentially reduces that person to their most essential parts This is in large part because we have to find a way to consolidate and organize the information about that person as quickly as possible Authors, in turn, have to mimic that process on the page AND for a younger readership that s been reliant on compartmentalization for years It takes a certain amount of talent to accomplish this Talent Ms Woodson has in droves.When Ms Woodson does delve deep into a character, the story ends up in some interesting places Four of the kids in the room are described pretty darn well Esteban is hard to separate from his own headspace, but I liked how you got glimpses of his life away from the page His nails were bitten so deep, there was a ring of pink skin at the top of his fingers It looked painful Haley, meanwhile, was of interest to me because she highlighted something I ve noticed in my own 7 year old daughter For children, memory can be shockingly short I ll read a book repeatedly for months when my kid is four only to find she has no memory of it at all at six Haley is old enough to wantof her own forgotten memories As she says at one point, I d lock every moment of memory inside a room in my brain and hope they d multiply like cells in our bodies, until I was a grown up all filled with memories Maybe that s what made us free Maybe it was our memories The stuff we survived, the good stuff and the bad stuff And it s thoughts like this that push this book out of the ordinary into the distinguished In some ways, the author is working a lot of themes into a single novel She touches on everything from the Lenape, to the reasons why black boys have to get a talk from their dads about why they can t play with Nerf or water guns in public any, to the death of a dog that manages to be heartbreaking in a shockingly short amount of time Sometimes these elements land with the reader and sometimes they don t but you cheer on the effort Plus, you get a lot of really good lines along the way Lines like, I think this is what the world is stories on top of stories, all the way back to the beginning of time This sentiment is echoed later when Haley remembers a moment when a familiar painting was taken off the wall, leaving a pale green square behind This disturbs the girl immeasurably I didn t want to believe that was all there was That when one thing went away, just the pale ghost of it remained I wanted to believe in stories on top of stories Always something else Always oneending Esteban s dad s poems are a clever inclusion too Essentially, they enable Ms Woodson to slip some poetry in there that would be too mature for the kids to be able to write, but that remains simple enough for them to parse themselves A friend of mine mentioned to me recently that in some ways, Jacqueline Woodson s two books for children out in 2018, Harbor Me and The Day You Begin contain similar themes Of the two they preferred the picture book, and I do see why For a lot of people Woodson manages an emotional resonance in those scant 32 pages that can be elusive in novels like this one Harbor Me has strong emotional beats in the usual places, even as it doesn t go for the jugular as often as I wanted, personally For example, when it becomes clear that Esteban and his father are gone, I wantedof a kick to my heart Other choices didn t appeal to me personally, like the fact that most of the book is a flashback from present day, right at the beginning For the first fifteen pages I was confused and felt that the book had some difficulty finding its feet Once it did, however, it continued forward cool and collected That pretty much summarizes a lot of how I felt about the book I didn t always agree with the author s choices, but I couldn t argue with the results At one point I wrote in my notes, Oh, man It s good It is I don t think it s perfect but perfection is kind of beside the point I ve only touched on a few of the myriad elements spotted throughout this book Ripe for discussion, this is the book that will get kids thinking and talking and maybe most importantly for some listening for decades to come For ages 9 12 The hardest part of telling a story is finding the beginning Where do we start the dialogue in this country about acceptance and respect for others It seems as if the collective has lost their minds Each side is focused on rhetoric, everyone consumed by a war of Us versus Them We have forgotten that WE the people are the country that we are supposed toindivisibleand what we are supposed to stand for isjustice and liberty for ALL.Harbor Me is Jacqueline Woodson s first middle gradThe hardest part of telling a story is finding the beginning Where do we start the dialogue in this country about acceptance and respect for others It seems as if the collective has lost their minds Each side is focused on rhetoric, everyone consumed by a war of Us versus Them We have forgotten that WE the people are the country that we are supposed toindivisibleand what we are supposed to stand for isjustice and liberty for ALL.Harbor Me is Jacqueline Woodson s first middle grade novel since her moving autobiographical novel Brown Girl Dreaming which earned her the National Book Award for Young People s Literature and a nomination for the Newberry Medal The protagonists are Esteban, Tiago, Holly, Amari, Ashton and Haley are six students assigned to a special education class Their teacher understands the need for them to have their voices heard, to have someone understand where they are coming from She creates a safe space for them to talk free from adult oversight As their walls come down the group realizes that they can turn to each other in dealing with problems like bullying, racial profiling, deportation and parental incarceration They gain comfort in being each other s harbor from the storm Harbor Me is a wonderful book that serves as a testament of the power and beauty at the heart of the human spiritIf the worst thing in the world happened, would I help protect someone else Would I let myself be a harbor for someone who needs it Then she said, I want each of you to say to the other I will harbor you I will harbor you There is a tiny bit of story around the edges with the main character, but the overall plot of the book is 6 kids sit around in a room and talk often monologue about Issues That is not a story It might work OK in verse although a plot would still be a good thing to have , but it s in prose And it s prose that keeps the impressionistic style and psychic distance of poetry, so it winds up being the worst of both worlds It s a girl reminiscing about people sitting around a room talking, whi There is a tiny bit of story around the edges with the main character, but the overall plot of the book is 6 kids sit around in a room and talk often monologue about Issues That is not a story It might work OK in verse although a plot would still be a good thing to have , but it s in prose And it s prose that keeps the impressionistic style and psychic distance of poetry, so it winds up being the worst of both worlds It s a girl reminiscing about people sitting around a room talking, which is distance upon distance upon distance I always felt like I was watching them talk, not even experiencing it from inside the room, much less experiencing anything they were talking about The breakfast club but for middle schoolers I love how this teacher brings together I group of kids from all different nationalities and background to hang out and get to know each other I love how in this 200 or so page book the Kids learn to care about each other and are able to talk to each other as family A great book


About the Author: Jacqueline Woodson

I used to say I d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.I wrote on everything and everywhere I remember my uncle catching me writing my name in graffiti on the side of a building It was not pretty for me when my mother found out I wrote on paper bags and my shoes and denim binders I chalked stories across sidewalks and penciled tiny tales in notebook margins I loved and still love watching words flower into sentences and sentences blossom into stories.I also told a lot of stories as a child Not Once upon a time stories but basically, outright lies I loved lying and getting away with it There was something about telling the lie story and seeing your friends eyes grow wide with wonder Of course I got in trouble for lying but I didn t stop until fifth grade.That year, I wrote a story and my teacher said This is really good Before that I had written a poem about Martin Luther King that was, I guess, so good no one believed I wrote it After lots of brouhaha, it was believed finally that I had indeed penned the poem which went on to win me a Scrabble game and local acclaim So by the time the story rolled around and the words This is really good came out of the otherwise down turned lips of my fifth grade teacher, I was well on my way to understanding that a lie on the page was a whole different animal one that won you prizes and got surly teachers to smile A lie on the page meant lots of independent time to create your stories and the freedom to sit hunched over the pages of your notebook without people thinking you were strange.Lots and lots of books later, I am still surprised when I walk into a bookstore and see my name on a book s binder Sometimes, when I m sitting at my desk for long hours and nothing s coming to me, I remember my fifth grade teacher, the way her eyes lit up when she said This is really good The way, I the skinny girl in the back of the classroom who was always getting into trouble for talking or missed homework assignments sat up a little straighter, folded my hands on the desks, smiled and began to believe in me.


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