I read Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson last month, and next week I will have the privilege to see her live in Fairfield, CT. A group of us “Slicers” are going! I thought I would “slice” a bit about this book in order to prepare to hear this amazing author speak.
Harbors. We all need harbors….safe harbors…..places where we know we will be protected, at least for a while….places where the storms are kept at a distance…..places where we can be ourselves….places where we know people will love and care for us whether we are at our best or at our worst.
It is this kind of environment that the six high school students in Woodson’s novel yearn for, need, and begin to create for themselves after they are thrown together by an incredibly rare and very perceptive teacher. A teacher who creates space and time and then gets out of the way. A teacher who believes in the power of talk. A teacher who trusts her students to navigate life (with just a little bit of adult help).
As I reread the novel in order to think more and write about it, I find this line:
“Once there were six of us. Once we circled around each other, and listened. Or maybe what matters most is that we were heard.”
I think that’s it. A harbor is a place where we can feel heard.