Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson was a pleasant surprise from next year’s Nutmeg nominee list, reminiscent of The Freedom Writers with a twist of The Breakfast Club.
Haley is about to begin seventh grade, yet the story follows her memories of sixth grade. She was part of a small specialized class with only five other students: Amari, Holly, Ashton, Esteban, Tiago and their teacher Ms. Laverne. Their teacher decided to give their class time alone in an unused Art classroom every Friday to build connections with one another. This was a very successful experiment. Haley brought in her recorder and each student took turns sharing his/her stories.
Students share their experiences with racism, police brutality, jail and immigration. The students support each other and forge an unbreakable bond. Harmonic convergence is defined in the book as “when people come together and they all care about the same things…all that energy together can shift a whole planet” (140-1). This feeling is a powerful entity in the story, promising what we can accomplish with time, care and attention to others.