CLAYTON BYRD GOES UNDERGROUND -- a powerful and heartfelt novel about loss, family, love, and playing the blues
layton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (2017, HarperCollins Publishers; 181 pages)
If you are up to reading a powerful novel about loss, family, and love, and you are not afraid to find a heartfelt book that both middle graders and adults can enjoy, this is the book for you. It has been written by beloved Newbery Honor winner and three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia, who is always able to bring to life incredibly interesting characters. The title of the book tells us the name of one of them. Clayton Byrd loves to play the blues on his "blues harp," or harmonica, with his grandfather, the great Cool Papa Byrd. But when the unthinkable happens and Cool Papa Byrd dies, Clayton's mother makes clear that the pain she feels won't ever heal if she hears any of the instruments that her dad played, so she forbids Clayton from playing the blues and she gives away all his instruments.
For Clayton, playing blues made him feel alive. He needs to find a solution, and he thinks he does when he decides to run away armed with his grandfather's brown porkpie hat and his blues harps. His mind is set in finding the Bluesmen, hoping he can join them on the road. And then his journey begins, and while he searches, he is going to find more than he thought he would, learn about himself, about his family, and also about what it takes to really play the blues.
Fantastic reading. Adorable. Powerful. Go get the book.
Find this title in our catalog: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
Recommended by: Maite
LOLA: A GHOST STORY -- a great ghost story about a boy who sees dead people, monsters, goblins, demons, and more
Lola, a Ghost Story by J. Torres & Elbert Or (2011, Oni Press)
Lola is an extraordinary graphic novel about a boy named Jesse who can see dead people, monsters, demons, and lots of other things, things that no one else can see. No one, that is, except his ailing grandmother. His grandmother used her visions to help those living in her small town, a rural community in the Philippines that has been the setting of all the scary stories that Jesse has heard as a child, stories about man-eating ogres in trees, farmhouses haunted by wraiths and even pigs possessed by the devil.
The story starts when his grandma passes. Jesse has no choice but to face his demons and all that may be awaiting him at Lola's house. Lola is the tagalog word for grandmother. J. Torres and Elbert Or are the authors of this brilliant book. Or writes and illustrates comic books in Manila, Philippines. Torres is the Eisner Award-nominated creator of Days Like This, one of the Young Adult Library Services Association’s “Great Graphic Novels”.
Lola, a novel with a fascinating ending, could also be added to the basket of great graphic novels. Recommended for tweens and teens looking for ghosts stories with a cultural touch or for those in search of a great narrative plot and illustrations.
Find this title in our catalog: Lola: A Ghost Story
Recommended by: Maite