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HarperCollins (2017-04)
Aktuelles Material
MS: Final Edited
Books for very young children, children’s picture books & activity books


by Williams-Garcia, Rita

In this new novel from Newbery Honor and New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia, aspiring bluesman Clayton Byrd will not be stopped from playing his music, which ties his family together more than he ever thought.

When, Cool Papa, When? That is what Clayton Byrd is always asking his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd. When does he get a solo to show off how well he plays the blues harp? Clayton feels most alive when he is playing with Cool Papa Byrd and the Bluesmen, playing the music he feels in his bones.

But then the unthinkable happens. Cool Papa Byrd dies, and Clayton’s mother gives away all his instruments and forbids Clayton from playing the blues. And Clayton knows that is 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 on the New York City subway, Clayton learns some things that surprise him.

Powerful, compelling, and heartbreaking, this book by the award-winning author of One Crazy Summer, P.S. Be Eleven, and Gone Crazy in Alabama is a new masterpiece by one of today's most beloved children's book authors.

Rita Williams-Garcia’s Newbery Honor-winning novel, One Crazy Summer, was a winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award, a National Book Award Finalist, the recipient of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and a New York Times bestseller. The two sequels, P.S. Be Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama were both Coretta Scott King Author Award winners and ALA Notable Children’s Books. She is also the author of six distinguished novels for young adults: Jumped, a National Book Award finalist; No Laughter Here, Every Time a Rainbow Dies (a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book), Fast Talk on a Slow Track (all ALA Best Books for Young Adults); Blue Tights; and Like Sisters on the Homefront, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Rita Williams-Garcia lives in Jamaica, New York, and has two adult daughters, Stephanie and Michelle, and a son-in- law, Adam.

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An appealing, realistic story with frequent elegant turns of phrase.

Review: The Horn Book, starred review

This complex tale of family and forgiveness has heart. A first purchase.

Review: School Library Journal, starred review

It’s a holistic portrait of a family in pain, a realistic portrait of grief and reconciliation, and a reminder that sadness and loss are wrapped up in the blues.

Review: Publishers Weekly, starred review

Strong characterizations and vivid musical scenes add layers to this warm family story.

Review: Kirkus, starred review

With the precision of a surgeon, Garcia-Williams lifts and examines layers of Clayton’s hurt and anger: the loss, but also the inability of his dismissive mother to understand. Yet the book also smartly looks at Ms. Byrd’s anger toward a father whose affection for music outdid his affection for her. The book’s through line, though, is the music, and Garcia-Williams skillfully finds melody in words.

Review: Booklist, starred review

Top Pick in Children’s Books for May at Book Page

Quote: BookPage

book trailer

Quote: YouTube

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