Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson

photo @jeanellnicolereads

#bookstagram @jeanellnicolereads

“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.

Follow @jeanellnicolereads on Instagram here

Say hi to Jeanell Marvin!

Mrs. Jeanell Marvin is a patron of the Charleston County Public Library and we are delighted to inform that now she is also part of our team, sharing thoughts about her readings.

“Wife, momma of four, elementary school teacher. Loves chips and queso. Reading since the age of four and finds libraries to be safe havens. Drawn to character driven novels that result in elevated empathy and the tugging of the heartstrings. I read daily and love getting my children and students excited about the power of books.”

To stay tuned with Mrs. Marvin has been reading, follow her Instagram page.

Lauren Reed :: TBR Black History Month 2019

Our February TBR with Black History Month in mind. We implement themes of Civil Rights, Black Lives Matter and social justice into our daily learning, so these books were intentionally chosen to both reflect and to celebrate! Anna @never_withouta_book said it best- “Black History Month began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Today and everyday we celebrate the contributions and legacy of African-Americans to the social fabric of the U.S.” 🙌

photo: @reedfamilyreads

A few of these are re-reads, and I’ll be stocking our morning basket with picture books by Black Authors, but I wanted to highlight a few.

“Born A Crime: Young Readers Edition”. This is the middle grade adaptation of Trevor Noah’s memoir we all loved. This is due out in April from @RandomHouseKids and the girls and I are really looking forward to it!
“What Color is My World” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar details the lost history of American American Inventors. What fun! 
I’m re-reading Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns” as part of a ginormous buddy read on @Goodreads with @spinesvines and @kate.olson.reads. Join in! I credit this magnificent book for my “wokeness” several years ago.
I’m reading “Americanah” in a buddy read hosted by @idleutopia_reads. I can’t wait. It’s been on my shelf far too long.
The classic “Invisible Man” is intimidating me a bit (because classics), but I’m also reading this with some Instagram buddies, @naomid1120 and @estoericareads, so I’m hopeful!

This is clearly an ambitious stack, but I’m a bit of a mood reader, so I like to have options. What do you have planned for #BlackHistoryMonth?

Follow Lauren Reed on Instagram here.

#BookReview by Lauren Reed: An American Marriage

photo Lauren Reed

I think I might be the last person on #bookstagram to read AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, but the buzz we all heard in early 2018 is true. (Plus, it was one of Pres. Obama’s top 2018 reads and I just had to give it a go!)

This is a love story that will break your heart; one that can be blamed on many things, but most of all, on a life stolen by the U.S. Government. 
Though “An American Marriage” is a work of fiction, the realities of being a #POC and either wrongly accused or unfairly sentenced, lead me to believe that the story line is representative of another sad statistic of the U.S. criminal justice system.

Through the three perspectives of Roy (wrongly accused and imprisoned), his wife, Celestial, an artist from an affluent family and wife of 1 1/2 years, and finally their life long friend, Andre, we get a unique look at the devastating effects of incarceration on a family. Roy’s Father-in-Law in speaking to his daughter’s new boyfriend says best how the tragedy cannot be blamed on one person, but instead on society. “I have one thing to say to you, as a black man: Roy is a hostage of the state. He is a victim of America.”

I’ve heard the ending was somewhat unpopular, but I found it a believable reality. People either grow together or they grow apart, and most are doing the best they can with what they’ve been given.

This is a beautifully written story of love, family, expectation and heartache, but it is so much more. 4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shout out to @chslibfriends where I got this beautiful hardcover for $5! 😃

~ Lauren Reed is a member of the Charleston Friends of the Library. Follow her personal Instagram account here.

Say hi to Lauren Reed!

Have you ever heard about the #bookstagram? Lauren Reed, member of The Charleston Friends of the Library, is also part of this online community on Instagram, and now she is our book reviewer. How awesome! Please, say hi to her and stay tuned for honest book reviews!

Lauren Reed @reedfamilyreads
photo Natasha Cavalcante

Hello friends!

My name is Lauren and I’m a passionate lover of books. Also, cats, puzzles and peoples’ stories. I’m from Northeastern Vermont, very near the Canadian border, but have lived in Charleston for almost eight years. I have three children, one in college and two that I home educate with a philosophy of “living books”. These are narrative style books that engage the reader and instill compassion, while delivering facts and events. This means many books pass through our house, leaving me so grateful for my local library and their fantastic book sales. Nothing makes me happier than encouraging or inspiring others to read, so I look forward to being a part of the CHS Friends of the Library volunteer team!