NBA winner Jacqueline Woodson releases excerpt from new book, “Harbor Me”
National Book Award winning author and four-time Newberry Award winner Jacqueline Woodson has just released an excerpt and cover art from her new book, Harbor Me. Another new book, The Day You Begin is set to release alongside Harbor Me on August 28, four years after her National Book Award winning effort, Brown Girl Dreaming, was released.
Harbor Me centers around the experience of being marginalized and targeted in America, following a group of special education children who form a bond while discussing issues such as deportation, racial profiling, skin color, parental lineage and being judged by their accents.
Woodson tells Entertainment Weekly, “In this chapter of Harbor Me, the children in a combined fifth-sixth grade special education classroom are brought to an empty classroom where their teacher hopes they will begin to open up to each other in a way young people don’t do when adults are present. The six children, Haley, Tiago, Esteban, Amari, Holly, and Ashton, are coming from very different lives but in this room, they begin to see the way in which their connections to each other create a harbor against everything that threatens their daily existences.”
A short piece of the excerpt reads:
I just don’t really understand why we’re going into another room, Ashton said, by ourselves. I think, looking back on that day now, that’s the line that will always stay with me—another room, by ourselves. How many other rooms by ourselves have we walked into since that day—even if they weren’t real rooms and we didn’t know that’s what we were doing?
I stood there thinking about my father. In six months or a year—I didn’t know exactly when—I’d be walking into another room, the one where my father lived with me. And as I stood there, Esteban was inside the room where he didn’t know where his dad was. He glanced at me. That day, no one but Holly knew that my dad was in prison. I felt like I was betraying Esteban. Like I should have been standing next to him, saying, Hey, it’s gonna be okay. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t tell the truth about my dad to help him. So I looked down at my skirt and thought about rooms. I wondered about Tiago, Holly, Amari and Ashton—what were the rooms for them? What did they hide inside those rooms? Another room, I thought. We are always entering another room.
That day, Ms. Laverne pushed us out—from the Familiar to the Unfamiliar.
We can’t wait to dive into this read!