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Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
by Rita Williams-Garcia and Frank Morrison


Overview -

5 Starred Reviews

"This slim novel strikes a strong chord"-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This complex tale of family and forgiveness has heart." -- School Library Journal (starred review)

"Strong characterizations and vivid musical scenes add layers to this warm family story." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"An appealing, realistic story with frequent elegant turns of phrase." -- The Horn Book (starred review)

"Garcia-Williams skillfully finds melody in words." -- Booklist (starred review)

From beloved Newbery Honor winner and three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia comes a powerful and heartfelt novel about loss, family, and love that will appeal to fans of Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander.  Read more...


 
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More About Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia; Frank Morrison
 
 
 
Overview

5 Starred Reviews

"This slim novel strikes a strong chord"--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This complex tale of family and forgiveness has heart." --School Library Journal (starred review)

"Strong characterizations and vivid musical scenes add layers to this warm family story." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"An appealing, realistic story with frequent elegant turns of phrase." --The Horn Book (starred review)

"Garcia-Williams skillfully finds melody in words." --Booklist (starred review)

From beloved Newbery Honor winner and three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia comes a powerful and heartfelt novel about loss, family, and love that will appeal to fans of Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander.

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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062215918
  • ISBN-10: 0062215914
  • Publisher: Amistad Press
  • Publish Date: May 2017
  • Page Count: 176
  • Reading Level: Ages 8-11
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.5 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Family - Multigenerational
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Prejudice & Racism
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Girls & Women

 
BookPage Reviews

Got those feel-good blues

Clayton Byrd is a bluesman. Despite his young age—and the fact that he can’t quite get those blue notes to wail like his grandfather and best friend, Cool Papa Byrd, can—he knows he’s a bluesman. He can feel it deep down in the pit of his stomach.

And like a true bluesman, when his grandfather dies, Clayton turns to music for solace. One problem: His mother has hidden his harmonica because he keeps falling asleep in class. Faced with the loss of his grandfather and a mother whose pain blinds her to his needs, Clayton recovers his harmonica and takes a note out of Cool Papa’s songbook—he hits the road.

But on his way to join up with Cool Papa’s backing band, the Bluesmen, Clayton runs into a pack of wayward youths who spend their days on the subway, dodging the police and dancing for spare change. Drawn by the beat-boxed rhythms that accompany their dance, Clayton adds his harmonica melody to the mix and quickly finds himself embroiled in their less-than-sunny subterranean world.

When his plan to join the Bluesmen goes bust and he finds himself holed up in a police station, waiting for his mother to pick him up, Clayton begins to grasp the desperation and despondency that births the blues anew in each generation.

In Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, three-time Coretta Scott King Medal winner Rita Williams-Garcia has crafted an endearing family drama with all the wit, wisdom and resonance of the best blues songs.

This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews