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Newbery Reading Project

newbery-medal“The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” (American Library Association)

I am endeavoring to read Newbery medal winners and honor books from at least 1981 (my birth year) to the present. Some of these I read as a child, but I’m classifying “recently” as beginning in 2008, the year I began my Masters in Library Science. Stay tuned for semi-regular updates and feel free to begin your own Newbery reading project!

2017

  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 
  • Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
  • The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

2016

  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (2016)
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
  • Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2017)

2015

  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (2017)
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell (2016)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2016)

2014

  • Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo (2014)
  • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
  • One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
  • Paperboy by Vince Vawter

2013

  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (2014)
  • Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
  • Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

2012

  • Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
  • Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  • Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin

2011

  • Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
  • Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
  • Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

2010

  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (2015)
  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

2009

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2017 in progress)
  • The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
  • The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law
  • After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

2008

  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schiltz
  • Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (2017)
  • Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

2007

  • The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
  • Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
  • Rules by Cynthia Lord (2009 – signed copy after hearing her speak live)

2006

  • Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
  • Whittington by Alan Armstrong
  • Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
  • Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson

2005

  • Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
  • Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (2009)
  • The Voice that Challenged a  Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman
  • Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

2004

  • The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (read pre-2008)
  • Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes (2009)
  • An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy

2003

  • Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin
  • Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan (2008)

2002

  • A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
  • Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
  • Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson

2001

  • A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
  • Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (2008)
  • Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos
  • The Wanderer by Sharon Creech

2000

  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (read pre-2008)
  • Getting Near to Baby by Audrey Couloumbis
  • Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
  • 26 Fairmont Avenue by Tomie dePaola

1999

  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

1998

  • Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (2009)
  • Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • Wringer by Jerry Spinelli

1997

  • The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
  • A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer
  • Moorchild by Eloise McGraw
  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White

1996

  • The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman
  • What Jamie Saw by Carolyn Coman
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Yolanda’s Genius by Carol Fenner
  • The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

1995

  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  • Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
  • The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

1994

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (read pre-2008)
  • Crazy Lady by Jane Leslie Conly
  • Dragon’s Gate by Laurence Yep
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery by Russell Freedman

1993

  • Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
  • What Hearts by Bruce Brooks
  • The Dark-thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia McKissack
  • Somewhere in the Darkness by Walter Dean Myers

1992

  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (read pre-2008, signed copy)
  • Nothing But The Truth: a Documentary Novel by Avi
  • The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman

1991

  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (read pre-2008)

1990

  •  Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (read pre-2008)
  • Afternoon of the Elves by Janet Taylor Lisle
  • Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
  • The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen

1989

  • Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
  • In The Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World by Virginia Hamilton (Harcourt)
  • Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers

1988

  • Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
  • After The Rain by Norma Fox Mazer
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

1987

  • The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
  • A Fine White Dust by Cynthia Rylant
  • On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  • Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens by Patricia Lauber

1986

  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (read pre-2008)
  • Commodore Perry In the Land of the Shogun by Rhoda Blumberg
  • Dogsong by Gary Paulsen

1985

  • The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  • Like Jake and Me by Mavis Jukes
  • The Moves Make the Man by Bruce Brooks
  • One-Eyed Cat by Paula Fox

1984

  • Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (read pre-2008)
  • The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
  • A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt
  • Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky
  • The Wish Giver: Three Tales of Coven Tree by Bill Brittain

1983

  • Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt
  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
  • Doctor DeSoto by William Steig
  • Graven Images by Paul Fleischman
  • Homesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz
  • Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush by Virginia Hamilton

1982

  • A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
  • Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944 by Aranka Siegal

1981

  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (read pre-2008)
  • The Fledgling by Jane Langton
  • A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle

 

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Book Review: Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle

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Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life by Melanie Shankle

Last July I Read The Antelope in the Living Room and so enjoyed Shankle’s style of writing, where you’re able to “hear” her voice as you do via her blog, Big Mama.

The book is comprised of independent vignettes of everyday life and relationships: marriage, motherhood, sisterhood, friendship, and obedience to Christ’s leadership. This theme of living simply and not overlooking the ordinary moments of life is popular right now, but her perspective is a unique and fresh one.

This quick read was filled with approachability, laugh out loud moments, and plenty of truthful opportunities to murmur yes, while highlighting meaningful passages.

My thanks to Edelweiss for access to the digital ARC. http://edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com/

Read: September 2017

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The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

For a long time I’ve been wanting to read something I enjoyed as much as The Help by Kathyrn Stockett. I finally realized I had enjoyed what is categorized as “southern fiction” and The Almost Sisters completely met this literary longing. I’m now interested in reading Ms. Jackson’s other works of fiction and am excited to have found a sub-genre that is comforting to me.

Featured in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide, from the Families are Complicated section, the premise sounded a bit scandalous, but when Anne Bogel described this as “The Help meets Comic Con,” I was intrigued and am glad I took a chance in reading this!

A theme that resonated with me was the “second south,” where protagonist Leia has grown up with sweet tea, hospitality, and a love for Jesus as the “first south,” but as she has grown older she recognizes hatred, close-mindedness, and bigotry still simmer beneath the surface as the “second south.”

This has reminded me that I often read within my comfort zone and haven’t consciously explored diversity as much as I should. Therefore, I’m compelled to now read Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Book read via: public library

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March. Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, & Nate Powell

While The Almost Sisters is contemporary fiction, the theme of segregation in the Deep South dovetailed into my choice to read the second non-fiction, graphic novel installment about the Civil Rights movement by Representative John Lewis. Book Two picks up where Book One ended, which I read in January.

Book read via: youth collection from my academic library

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Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

As I’ve said before, I believe the right book finds you at the right time, and I love how my “random” choices in books have all had intersecting themes of looking beyond cultural and race differences.

When Sarah Mackenzie of Read Aloud Revival recommend this via Audible, I was intrigued by her praise, so I bought it and it did not disappoint! This book was not simply narrated, it was performed by several talented voice actors and the narrated story was enhanced by gifted musicians.

Themes of intolerance, kindness, war, hope, and the transforming power of music are threaded throughout three intersecting plots and is one of the best children’s books I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot, let me tell you). Right now this has climbed to the top of my favorites read in 2017, thus I HIGHLY recommend this middle-grade story to readers of all ages!

Book read via: Audible

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March. Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, & Nate Powell

In light of this month’s reading theme, I was excited to see March. Book Three come into my office on a truck of new books shortly after reading Book Two. Representative Lewis’ Book Three is the grittiest and most difficult to read of this trilogy, especially his first-hand accounts of “Bloody Sunday” – the Civil Rights attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, for equal voting rights.

In my opinion, this series is suited to older readers who can best put Civil Rights into context and comprehend tragedies in our nation’s history. Incorporating these into a classroom discussion would be timely considering current headlines: take a knee, police brutality, immigration, DACA, etc.

Book read via: youth collection from my academic library

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The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Midway through the month I saw this on the New Books shelf in my local public library and was intrigued with the premise: loss, longing, and a secret with lasting consequences. Even though this has been listed on “read diverse books” lists, I felt like these themes and characters could have been of any race, from any location.

Book read via: public library


What have you read in September? Care to share any good recommendations?

My books on the nightstand that will likely be finished in October are Artemis by Andy Weir (releasing November 14) and Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore, plus hopefully a few more!

Saving My Life: Beginning of Fall Edition

As per the phrase by Barbara Brown Taylor, this is a look at the things saving my life as fall begins.

  1. Bath & Body Works Spiced Apple Bourbon hand soap with pumpkin butter

    During my last trip to Bath & Body Works, I discovered they didn’t have the Leaves scent in this year’s fall soaps, which is my all time favorite. I was so disappointed I didn’t take the time to try anything else new this season, but when a dear friend gave us this as a thank-you gift, I was excited to realize it is very reminiscent of Leaves. Washing my hands at the kitchen sink has been an extra special treat, thanks to this year’s new release!

    bbw

  2. Cross stitch

    Since mid-August I’ve been experiencing some consistent joint stiffness and occasional twinges of pain in my left pinkie finger. When you look at the sheer number of items I knit in July, it’s no wonder my joints and hands have needed a break! And while I know it’s in my body’s best interest to give my hands time to rest, it’s been so difficult to not reach for my needles and yarn (or sit down at my piano) during this stressful back-to-school time. But I’ve had to go through seasons of vocal rest in the past and have seen God bring about healing in His time, so I am making a concerted effort to trust His faithfulness once more.

    With this in mind, my patient mother-in-law recently gave me a refresher tutorial on how to cross-stitch. As a young girl I loved printed cross-stitch, but was always intimidated by counted cross-stitch. A few years ago I picked up this beginning kit from Cecilia’s Samplers in Branson, MO, determined to learn, so she showed me a few things, but after our visit I promptly went back to knitting. Now that I’m on the knitting DL, I figured this was the perfect time to devote my creative energies to a new craft, while not putting as much strain on my fingers. It’s been a fun, puzzle-like adventure to see take shape, X by X.

    This is “Simplicity” by Little House Needleworks.

  3. Adult coloring books

    As a child I wasn’t a huge fan of coloring. I loved activity books with word searches and dot-to-dot pictures, but the lack of precision of crayons was always frustrating to my small hands. Fast forward about 30 years and now that adult coloring books and colored pencils have arrived on the scene, this has been another way for me to decompress at the end of a long day. This is Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford, a past Christmas present from The Optometrist.

  4. Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan on Audible

    While coloring, I have frequently set my phone nearby and listened to this spectacularly performed (not just narrated) middle-grade story that spans continents and time frames, all connected to themes of hope and the power of music.

    It was highly reviewed by Sarah Mackenzie of Read Aloud Revival and it has lived up to her recommendation! Not only so, but it’s one of the best children’s books I’ve ever read and so far my favorite overall book of 2017.

    echo-cover

  5. NCIS 

    And when my brain has needed a vacation, it has often found itself escaping via Netflix to NCIS headquarters to hang out with Gibbs, Ziva, McGee, Abby, and company. The Optometrist and I are currently working our way through Season 10 and I realized the other day, the reason I watch isn’t for the mystery or murders they solve, it’s for the character development between cast members. (I consider them make-believe friends.)NCIS


What things are saving your life as fall finally arrives?

Learn: Summer 2017

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman and others, sharing the silly and sublime of what I’ve learned throughout this summer.

1. Vacations shouldn’t be divided in order to conquer

The Optometrist and I do a great deal of “dividing and conquering” in life: taking turns fixing meals, tackling different parts of the store as we grocery shop, and handling different household responsibilities and chores. But the decision to travel with each other to his optometry conference in St. Louis and my knitting retreat in Nashville did not ever allow us to feel like we truly took a “vacation” together. While this was just the way it worked out this summer, in the future I think we’ll be more diligent about planning a trip where neither of us is required to be somewhere else for hours each day and then trying to fit in time to explore together.

2. Amazon donation program

Recently one of my dear colleagues and friends shared how you can re-use your Amazon boxes, fill them with items you wish to donate, and mail them away for free! We haven’t tried this yet, but have a couple of Amazon boxes (after cleaning out some cat hair) that could definitely be used to benefit a good will effort.

3. James 4:8 in Practice

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8a – ESV)

Over the summer I continued with my daily Bible reading (current focus is to finish the Old Testament rather than the whole Bible this year) along with Margaret Feinberg‘s Overcomer Bible study of Philippians. Utilizing the color method, I was able to creatively study and analyze names, verbs, repeated phrases, etc. in Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, was guided with application principles of what I learned, and also participated in a weekly Facebook Live video series (free and still open to everyone!).

The more I’ve been in scripture, the more grounded and peaceful I’ve been and the more I’ve been aware of my need to check in with God throughout the day. It’s been a very sweet spiritual practice.

4. Put down your phone and read

Sarah Mackenzie of Read Aloud Revival, posted on Instagram several months ago saying, “I’ve been surprised by how much time I’ve had for reading since I’ve committed to picking up a book (rather than my phone) when I have a few minutes throughout the day.”

I’ve taken her advice to heart (not every time, but making a more concerted effort) to said no to the sleek white baby and yes to the old fashioned monograph awaiting my attention.

5. Have a giant stack of books ready to read

With that in mind, in June and July I read several books from the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide, all of which I requested either from our public library or my academic library’s InterLibrary Loan service.  As always seems to be the case, they all started arriving about the same time, which created piles of books around the house. (a.k.a. the best problem to have)

My trick for not feeling overwhelmed by all the books at my disposal was to write on my calendar the date it was due to give myself a visual cue on how much time was left before it needed to be returned, then alternated the types of stories I read to shift my mental focus – ex. a murder mystery followed by a light-hearted YA novel.

My final selection I chose from the MMD list, The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson, is one I started today and am loving it already!

6. When needing a reading break, have a solid queue of other media ready

Visual media – I tell you what, The Optometrist buying us a Google Chromecast has changed the way we “watch television” (Internet streaming since we don’t have cable). Our BluRay player had been our portal for streaming YouTube and Netflix, but when it no longer supported YouTube (even when it did work you had to still type out your search, one letter at a time) and was consistently cantankerous in connecting with Netflix, he ordered a Chromecast and voila, we’re now able to use our phones (both his Android and my iPhone) to “talk” to the device, immediately relaying what’s on your phone to the TV.

And our summer streaming pick from Netflix? Broadchurch. 

Audio media – I’ve been a podcast listener for over a decade, but discovering some new ones, or really good episodes of shows I’ve long appreciated, have been great ways to be informed, inspired, or entertained. Using the podcast app on my iPhone I rotate what the I’m listening to (like the order of books I choose to read) and use the “Up Next” feature to create a playlist so after one podcast is through, a different one will immediately follow.

Podcasts saving my life this summer:

Shauna Niequist

Making Oprah

Fresh Air

Up First

And after hearing rave reviews about the Audible version of Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan, I bought it on sale, and am LOVING this middle-grade WWII novel about hope, kindness, and the power of music; all things I love, but in tandem? Perfection.


What things have been saving your life this summer?

Read: August 2017

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The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith

An embarrassingly long time ago The Optometrist gave me this book as a just-because gift, of which I proceeded to read about 99%. At the beginning of the month, a few minutes and a few pages later, I had finished this encouraging call to make your house a home based around your style and budget. While The Nester’s style is a bit more shabby chic than I prefer, her exhortation of it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful is a mantra I’m longing to embrace wholeheartedly in both my home and work spaces.

Book read via: home library

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Solo by Kwame Alexander

What Kwame Alexander did for basketball in The Crossover, he has now done for music and in Solo.  Check out my full book-review of Mr. Alexander’s recently published YA novel.

My thanks to Net Galley for access to the digital ARC. https://www.netgalley.com/

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Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

Adriana Trigiani is the queen of crafting memorable Italian American stories, and my love of her writing goes back to the early 2000s when my best friend and I discovered and fell in love with Big Stone Gap.

This, her newest novel, takes place in post WWII Philadelphia with a feuding family who own taxi cab businesses, their African American dispatcher who longs to find her passion, a fledgling but loyal local Shakespeare company, and an Italian ambassador with an American doppelganger in South Philly.

Of her work, I must say Very Valentine and The Shoemaker’s Wife have been my favorites, but Kiss Carlo was very memorable and included diverse characters and a firm sense of place.

My thanks to Edelweiss for access to the digital ARC copy. http://edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com/

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Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life by Melanie Shankle

Last July I read The Antelope in the Living Room and found it to be laugh-out-loud funny juxtaposed with moments to ponder the less-than-perfect, but still beautiful moments of marriage. So when I had an opportunity to request a digital ARC for the upcoming release of her new book (on October 3), I said, “Yes, please!”

If you are a fan of Melanie’s books and/or the Big Mama blog, I think you’ll also enjoy her newest offering that centers around finding God and appreciating the small, everyday moments of life.

“I’ve learned that the best way to live is to look for God in the church of small things. The church of small things is where God does his best work. The church of small things is where the majority of us live every single day.” 

Look for a more detailed review on October 3rd!

My thanks to Edelweiss for access to the digital ARC copy. http://edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com/

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The Brutal Telling by Louise Penney

I can’t help but think about what the statistical number of murders per capita would be if Three Pines were a real town. Probably similar to the statistics from Cabot Cove in Murder, She Wrote.

5th in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, the beloved Inspector has returned to Three Pines to investigate yet another murder, this time of a Hermit whose cabin is filled with world-renowned treasures, but whose identity and personal history remain elusive, except to a local resident.

Stories of fear and deception and secrets long preserved come to light when Armande Gamache is determined to find answers to these unknown questions and, of course, also find the killer.

Book read via: public library

Book Review: Solo by Kwame Alexander

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Solo by Kwame Alexander

What Kwame Alexander did for basketball in The Crossover (read in April), he has now done for music in Solo. And as in The Crossover, he subtly layers the title with various meanings and applications.

Blade Morrison is a guitarist and songwriter, whose father is a famous rock ‘n roll guitarist and musician. Having grown up amid opulence juxtaposed with perceived neglect, Blade is on the cusp of adulthood and anxious to strike out on his own; away from the limelight of his father’s career and drama of his substance abuse. If only the parents of his girlfriend wouldn’t be so determined to keep them apart, he could confidently move forward into the future, fueled by young love.

In the mean time a heated argument with Blade’s sister and father reveal unknown family secrets, which cause a shift in Blade’s priorities and motivations. These changes result in him taking a broadening journey, allowing him to realize neither his music nor his existence are solo endeavors.

This book trailer features a brief interview with Kwame Alexander about his personal interests and inspirations in writing Solo.

Alexander is the 2015 Newbery Medal and 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award recipient, but to learn more, please visit his website kwamealexander.com

My thanks to Net Galley for access to the digital ARC. https://www.netgalley.com/