Finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teens
Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature
Jacqueline Woodson's first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a group of students share their stories.
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.
Cast of Narrators: N’Jameh Camara, as Haley Jose Carrera, as Tiago Dean Flanagan, as Ashton
Angel Romero, as Esteban Toshi Widoff-Woodson, as Holly Mikelle Wright-Matos, as Amari and also featuring the author, Jacqueline Woodson, as Ms. Laverne
* "In her first middle-grade novel since her 2014 National Book Award winner, Brown Girl Dreaming, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jacqueline Woodson deftly alchemizes a sixth-grade classroom into an affecting metaphor for racial, political and socioeconomic challenges—enhanced by the transformative power of storytelling: ‘what matter[ed] most is that we were heard.’ . . . A powerful love letter to effective teachers, unexpected friendship and the healing magic of hearing, recording and sharing words. —Shelf Awareness, starred review
* “Woodson’s spare, lyrical, and evocative prose carries the story seamlessly, weaving in themes of justice and family, friendship and courage. This is a timely and beautifully written story that should be on library shelves everywhere. —School Library Journal, starred review
“Explore[s] deep issues of identity, community, family, change, and forgiveness. The power of remembrance is also an important theme. . . . Will speak to young people’s insecurities and fears while recognizing their courage in facing them, and [Woodson's] craft as a weaver of words and imagery is evident on every page. A timely tribute to the resilience of young people and to the power of human connection that often overrides our differences. —Horn Book
Takes readers on a journey during which young urban teenagers discover the satisfaction of a well-wrought conversation. Woodson's easygoing lyrical voice is the highlight. . . . Each likable young person tells an engaging story, and the others are quick to listen. . . . Many urban readers will hear their story in one of these six's narratives. . . . With alternatingly simple, realistic language and flashes of lyrical romanticism . . . will please teachers trying to coax personal revelations from their students. —Voice of Youth Advocates
Leaves readers of all ages asking, 'would I let myself be a harbor for someone who needs it?' —School Library Connection
* “The magic is in the writing. Woodson tells stories torn from headlines but personalizes them with poetry and memories, blunting their trauma with understanding and love. Haley’s history weaves in and out, drawing readers close. These children become each other's safe harbors and Woodson brilliantly shows readers how to find the connections we all need. —Booklist, starred review
* “Woodson delivers a powerful tale of community and mutual growth. The bond they develop is palpable. . . . The characters ring true as they discuss issues both personal and global. This story, told with exquisite language and clarity of narrative, is both heartbreaking and hopeful. An extraordinary and timely piece of writing. —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “Woodson celebrates all that is essential and good for humanity—compassion, understanding, security, and freedom—in this touching novel. . . . Woodson’s skills as poet and master storyteller shine brightly here as she economically uses language to express emotion and delve into the hearts of her characters. Showing how America’s political and social issues affect children on a daily basis, this novel will leave an indelible mark on readers’ minds. —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“N’Jameh Camara narrates the emotive narrative of biracial Haley, who describes increasingly honest conversations among six classmates along with her own undisclosed truths. In this unique audio, six narrators represent characters in shared dialogues…An interview between Woodson and her son, Jackson–Leroi, which serves as an afterword, is honest and powerful. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” —AudioFile
“A powerful tale of community and mutual growth. The bond they develop is palpable.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“The magic is in the writing. Woodson tells stories torn from headlines but personalizes them with poetry and memories.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Woodson celebrates all that is essential and good for humanity—compassion, understanding, security, and freedom—in this touching novel…Showing how America’s political and social issues affect children on a daily basis.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Spare, lyrical, and evocative prose carries the story seamlessly, weaving in themes of justice and family, friendship and courage…Should be on library shelves everywhere.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
Jacqueline Woodson, named national Young People’s Poet Laureate, is a multiple-award-winning author of more than two dozen acclaimed books for young adults, middle graders, and children. She
won the 2019 Indie Champion Award for advocacy of independent bookstores. Among her many other honors are the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, the NAACP Image Award, the Los
Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, among others. She is the 2018 winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for “substantial and lasting contribution to literature
for children.” She was the 2013 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
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