Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

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Title: Harbor Me

Author: Jaqueline Woodson

Published: August 28, 2018

Theme:  Adversity and Bravery

Character Origin: Human

Book Type: Middle School | Pages: 192

Ages: 10-14 | Book Level: 4.1 | Lexile Measure: 630L

Synopsis: It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat–by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them–everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

My thoughts…

This story couldn’t be more timely and appropriate as it reflects the current national climate. I can’t imagine it not being on a middle school AR list (as required reading). There is much more that connects us than separates us and Woodson makes these connections in this poignant narrative. Sadly, the life experiences of the characters are not uncommon and can be disruptive in the classroom.

My son and I read this book aloud and had interesting conversations every day. The text was presented in a way that made my son think about a variety of topics currently being discussed on the national stage. Woodson delivers a masterful and distinct voice in Harbor Me. The story shines a light on how a perceptive teacher can change the trajectory of a student’s life. We need more stories like these that reflect the culture, diversity, and adversity that are in our schools today.  

My rating…

Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: Even Superheroes Make Mistakes by

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Title: Even Superheroes Make Mistakes

Author: Shelly Becker

Illustrator: Eda Kaban

Published: October 2, 2018

Theme:  Adversity

Character Origin: Human

Book Type: Picture Book | Pages: 40

Ages: 5-8 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure: 850L

Synopsis: What do young superheroes do when they’ve blundered and bungled? They don’t get mad; they get SMART! This fun follow-up to Even Superheroes Have Bad Days teaches kids another humorous lesson in overcoming adversity.

Even superheroes sometimes slip up and err. And when that happens, do they say, “It’s not FAIR?” or give up in despair? NO! “Ashamed Superheroes who goofed up somehow . . . First STOP . . . then CONSIDER what’s best to do now.”  Whether they’ve nabbed the wrong guy by mistake or bashed into a planet while zooming through space, all superheroes ‘fess up their mess-up, get on with their day, and keep on saving the world in the most super way!

My thoughts…

In an age that is saturated with DC and Marvel movies/comics, it’s nice to have a commonsense book about heroes having vulnerabilities. I enjoyed reading this book and even had a laugh or two. While the text is a little silly (on purpose), it also offers solutions for the superheroes to course correct their mistakes. This story allows kids to see that everyone makes mistakes and that’s ok.

I am amazed (while I shouldn’t be) that the illustrations were done digitally. Kaban made them fun and entertaining. This would be a great read aloud in a class setting or at bedtime. The highlighted text makes it easy to apply emphasis on certain words for little ears. This book is a great way for kids to learn how to overcome adversity.

My rating…