Monday, July 10, 2017

CLAYTON BYRD GOES UNDERGROUND by Rita Williams-Garcia for MMGM and Diversity Monday

No, I didn't fall off the face of the Earth, but I have been traveling a lot and also occasionally dealing with migraines. I thought these new glasses would help but instead I suspect they're making it worse. Hope to get back to regular blogging again by September.

Now onto today's Diversity Monday and MMGM review:






Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (May 2017, Amistad/HarperCollins, 176 pages, for ages 8 to 12)

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Clayton feels most alive when he's with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, and the band of Bluesmen--he can't wait to join them, just as soon as he has a blues song of his own. But then the unthinkable happens. Cool Papa Byrd dies, and Clayton's mother forbids Clayton from playing the blues. And Clayton knows that's no way to live.

Armed with his grandfather's brown porkpie hat and his harmonica, he runs away from home in search of the Bluesmen, hoping he can join them on the road. But on the journey that takes him through the New York City subways and to Washington Square Park, Clayton learns some things that surprise him.

Why I recommend it: Knowing up front that Cool Papa is going to die doesn't make it any less heartwrenching, but there are still many uplifting moments in this touching little gem of a novel. Short chapters and spare lyrical language make it a smooth and easy read. Clayton is a likable character and you'll find yourself pulled in as he goes underground, in both senses of the word.

Rita Williams-Garcia is the talented author of One Crazy Summer and other books.

Favorite lines: "Clayton stretched and opened his eyelids just as the violet of night turned pale blue and before white-yellow sun streams ran the pale blues out of the room." (from p.17 of the arc)

 

14 comments:

  1. It sounds like the writing in this is extra special. Thanks for the review.

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    1. You're welcome, Joanne. She's such a fine writer and I was impressed by the way she infused her writing with musical terms.

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  2. I've enjoyed Rita's other books and this one also sounds like a winner. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I haven't read all of her books, Greg, but I loved ONE CRAZY SUMMER and P.S. BE ELEVEN.

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  3. I like this book! Clayton sounds like one determined character who will pursue his dreams. Will check it out. I like books that involve talents.

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    1. Clayton is definitely talented, Patricia. But he does get into a bit of trouble from using that talent. It's a compelling story.

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  4. I love that favorite line, and I LOVE the cover, so I'll bet this will be an amazing read.

    I'm so sorry about your migraines, and hope you find a fix for them soon!

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I see my neurologist (for whom I keep a headache diary) in August.

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  5. We all take time out in the summer. I'm sorry some of yours has been because of headaches. That's lousy. Hope the doctors can find some answers for you. I will look for this book. It sounds lovely.

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  6. I really like the musical elements in this. It reminds me a little of Bud, Not Buddy in that way. I'm sorry to hear about your headaches. I hope you are getting some time to relax. I'll definitely keep an eye out for this one--thanks for featuring it!

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    1. Jenni, I also thought of Bud, Not Buddy, but this is definitely contemporary. And thanks for your kind words.

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  7. I was going to say it sounds like the plot has some things in common with Bud, Not Buddy as well. This one sounds like a good read. I always like short chapters!

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    1. I suspect a lot of kids like short chapters too, Susan.

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