Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson


Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jacqueline Woodson's Harbor Me was recommended to me by a friend who works as a subsitute in a local school and noticed the kids reading it, so today's review is a bit unique in that my children have not read it yet.

Harbor Me is about a group of six middle schoolers who meet once a week at school to talk about whatever they want with no adults present. The teacher in charge of the group informs them of the plan and the children are a bit hesitant at first. Can they really talk about whatever they want?

We find that each child is going through their own stressful events at home - incarceration, deportation, financial insecurity, and police violence. The friends are a diverse group and they don't always agree on everything, but through their discussions, they develop empathy and concern for each other.

This was a quick read, and I really enjoyed listening to the children's stories as I imagined the difficulties of the world through their eyes. So often, we are presented stories about the most privileged, and it was beatiful to read a book about everyday tweens trying to make sense of the world. It's important for all children to see themselves in literature, and I think this book shines a light on that and allows all kids to see a piece of themselves in each of the characters. This would be a great book for kids who don't feel like the voices of people who look like them are often heard. It's also a great book for those who do often see themselves represented in the media so that they can gain a broader perspective of the world around them.

This was my first Jacqueline Woodson book, but it will not be the last!

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