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One Book, One City for Kids

Read With Us!

 One Book, One City for Kids is a cool reading program that tries to get all the 5th graders in one city (Grand Rapids) to read the same book. The 2019 selection is Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson. 



Learn a little bit about the author

Jacqueline Woodson is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children. Among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Most recently, she was named the 2018 Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress. 

What happens in the book?

Six kids. One school year. A room to talk. It all starts
when six kids are sent to a room for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. At first they fear this new unfamiliar situation and wonder what on earth they’ll even talk about. But in the place they dub the ARTT room (“A Room To Talk”), they discover it’s safe to discuss topics they usually keep private.

A father has recently gone missing, and that starts a conversation about the things causing angst in their lives, from racial profiling and fears of deportation to a deep yearning for family history and a sense of belonging. When the six of them are together, they find they can express the feelings and fears they usually hide from the world. And together, they grow braver and more prepared for the rest of their lives.

With her always honest, lyrical writing, acclaimed author Jacqueline Woodson celebrates the power of friendship, open-minded dialogue, and empathy. Harbor Me digs in deep to show how so many of America’s social issues affect today’s kids—and how they creatively learn to forge their way in spite of them.


One Book, One City for Kids is funded by:

Community Partner