Power of Sharing Your Story

Today I have a book that shows readers the power of sharing your story.  Six students are put in a classroom at the end of the day, every Friday, and their only job is to talk.  What ends up being parceled out are bits and pieces of these kids lives, as they start to understand and sympathize with their struggles they form an indelible bond.

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Title: Harbor Mepower of sharing your story harbor me

Author: Jacqueline Woodson

Target: Grades 3-6

Series: No

What this book is about:

Six students in Ms. Laverne’s fifth-grade class are sent to a room every Friday where they can talk alone, about anything or nothing at all.  Each of the students has a story and as time goes by they realize they have found a safe space to share their experiences that they have been trying so hard to hide.  Whether it is Estaban whose father has been taken away to a detention facility for illegal immigrants, Ashton, whose finances have changed dramatically or Amari whose family has to educate him on racial profiling, they finally find a safe harbor with one another.  Haley narrates the story as her secret of an incarcerated father unfolds.

Why I love this book:

  • How many times do I have to tell anyone who will listen that empathy is the name of the game?  Until we as a society can feel what it is like to walk in the shoes of the powerless, we will continue to marginalize people.  Giving kids books like this provides them a chance to really understand experiences removed from their own.  And if you give this to a child who is experiencing these things, they will get the joy of seeing themselves represented in books.
  • Jacqueline Woodson is a master storyteller.  This book is not exactly fast-paced or full of action, but she will draw you into these characters.  Some of the six are more fleshed out than others, but each story will touch your heartstrings.
  • This is a great introduction to listening.  This book isn’t about fixing the world’s problems or even solving the challenges faced by these six children.  It is about hearing what others are telling you and creating a safe space for them to share their story.  

Who this book is for:

Shorter chapters make this book manageable for reluctant readers, but the substance makes it great for strong readers as well.  Fans of Because of Mr. Terupt or Refugee will like this one.

Final thoughts:

The one reason I didn’t give this one five stars is because it feels as though the message of the story came before the narrative.  Now Woodson is a fabulous writer and can pull it off, but I think that in fiction the story has to come first with the message almost an intended afterthought.  

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Harbor Me.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.