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LM_NET  June 2018

LM_NET June 2018

Subject:

Richie’s Picks: HARBOR ME

From:

Richie Partington <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Richie Partington <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 10:02:20 +0200

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*Richie’s Picks: HARBOR ME by Jacqueline Woodson, Nancy Paulsen Books,
August 2018, 192p., ISBN: 978-0-399-25252-5“Such a situation could have
long-term, devastating effects on young children, who are likely to develop
what is called toxic stress in their brain once separated from caregivers
or parents they trusted. It disrupts a child’s brain development and
increases the levels of fight-or-flight hormones in their bodies, Kraft
said. This kind of emotional trauma could eventually lead to health
problems, such as heart disease and substance abuse disorders.”--
Washington Post, “‘America is better than this’: What a doctor saw in a
Texas shelter for migrant children,” by Kristine Phillips, June 16,
2018“All has seemed lost before only to give way, after decades of gloom,
to light. And this is in large measure because, in the battle between the
impulses of good and evil in the American soul, what Lincoln called ‘the
better angels of our nature’ have prevailed just often enough to keep the
national enterprise alive.”-- Jon Meacham, from THE SOUL OF AMERICA: THE
BATTLE FOR OUR BETTER ANGELS (2018)“We think they took my papi.”In HARBOR
ME, through the eyes of Haley, a motherless and father-imprisoned young
biracial woman, we come to know the lives and thoughts of six young
students who have been assigned to a 5th/6th grade special needs classroom.
These six tweens have been fortuitously blessed with a wise and innovative
teacher, Ms. Laverne.Ms. Laverne establishes a routine for the class: On
Friday afternoons, the students conclude the school week by moving to an
art room without the teacher to talk among themselves. In this venue, which
one student dubs “A Room to Talk,” they share their hopes and fears. Topics
that arise over the course of the story include racism, police brutality,
bullying, and wealth and privilege.Given today’s headlines, and the
shocking utterances of candidate-and-then-President Trump, it seems
appropriate that the first and foremost issue probed in HARBOR ME is
immigration.“Esteban had been absent for days, and when he finally
returned, Ms. Laverne asked him if he was up to doing some work and he
nodded.It helps me forget for a little while, he said.Forget what? Amari
asked.That nobody know where they took him. And now we’re packing up
everything, Esteban said. Because if they took him, maybe they’re going to
take us too.Immigration is where HARBOR ME starts and ends. Esteban reveals
that his father, an undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic, has
been apprehended by ICE. Through much of the book we don’t know the
whereabouts of Esteban’s father nor whether Estaban, who was born in the
US, will suddenly disappear from school.It’s particularly meaningful for me
to be writing about immigration at this point in time. I’m currently on my
first visit to southern Italy and Sicily. This is where my maternal
grandparents each emigrated from more than one hundred years ago, before
meeting and marrying in New York. I literally exist because of the past
generosity of America to welcome those looking for a better life. When I
read about ICE agents tearing toddlers from the breasts of their mothers
and putting them into detention camps, in an effort by the president to
negotiate a “better” deal on immigration “reform,” I am deeply disturbed,
as I’m sure you are. How can America speak with moral authority, when our
government behaves in this fashion? For the sake of these children, and for
the sake of our country’s future, we need to find our better angels right
now. Jacqueline Woodson, currently the National Ambassador for Young
People’s Literature, has crafted a middle school novel that is in equal
measure poetic and topical. And frequently heartbreaking. Through the
voices of these six characters--Haley, Holly, Esteban, Amari, Tiago, and
Ashton--HARBOR ME immerses young readers in peer discussions of issues
that, sadly, far too many of our children face on a daily basis.Richie
Partington, MLISRichie's Picks
<http://richiespicks.com/>http://richiespicks.pbworks.com
<http://richiespicks.pbworks.com>https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/
<https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/>[log in to unmask]
<[log in to unmask]> *

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