Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson

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“When they came for me, I lifted my hands to them, let them wrap the cuffs around my wrists. I did not fight, I did not yell.When they pressed me into the van, there were others who spoke our language—a language of sun and ocean and beauty, a language of birds and merengue. We leaned across the van toward each other and knew the same people back home. Always remember, when you are with your people you are home.”

This book is a an absolute gem. Jacqueline Woodson lyrically tells the stories of six middle schoolers and demonstrates through the diverse set of characters how by sharing our story, and opening our hearts to the stories of others, we not only find healing, but quite possibly a harboring love.

I loved the characters so much! From Amari’s wisdom and insight on white privilege, to Haley’s confusion about her own biracial identity and the lingering longing for her incarcerated father. 

This middle grade novel would make for a great read aloud and is sure to spark meaningful conversations amongst students. It’s so much more than a friendship book, it’s a book about America through the eyes of eleven year olds, and their perspectives are worth reading.

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