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Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita…

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

by Rita Williams-Garcia

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1158153,801 (3.75)5



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I found this novel to be delightful, with plenty of meaty subjects to engage kids in discussions. A great choice for classroom libraries! ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Oct 26, 2018 |
At a slim 176 pages, “Clayton” makes for a quick but emotional read. Clayton Byrd is a jazz boy in a hip-hop world. He jams on his Blues Harp (harmonica) while Cool Papa Byrd makes Wah-Wah-Nita (guitar) cry. Mama, or Ms. Byrd, doesn’t approve but Clayton and his grandfather are inseparable. When Cool Papa passes away, Ms. Byrd sells all his things, infuriating the grieving Clayton. When Clayton skips school to find The Bluesmen, Cool Papa’s band, the experience is much different than he had expected. Rita Williams-Garcia shines in her ability to create so much depth and emotion in her characters in so few words. Not a syllable is wasted in this slim tome packed with feeling. Clayton’s anger is palpable as he acts out, enraged at his mother and focused on his own hurt. Meanwhile, Ms. Byrd’s story steadily reveals as the story progresses. The juxtaposition of jazz and hip-hop perfectly reflects both the love and friction in the Byrd family, while providing a window into both musical worlds. Teachers and parents looking for a discussion-fueling title will appreciate depth, emotion, and history of this approachable novel. When combined with its focus on African American music and family, “Clayton Byrd Goes Underground” is a sure win. ( )
  ThatOneLibrarian | Aug 18, 2018 |
Rather realistic, but it just kind of ends, like it needed to be tied up really fast. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Feb 20, 2018 |
Clayton and his grandfather Cool Papa share a love of music and in particular, the blues. His mother, Cool Papa's daughter, does not approve of the blues. Clayton is devastated when his grandfather dies unexpectedly but his mother's reaction makes matters worse. His mother's reaction seemed so cruel to me, I actually had to pause reading the book. An interesting cast of characters populate this book, something I enjoy with Williams-Garcia's works. ( )
  geraldinefm | Dec 19, 2017 |
An award winner, but it didn't work for me. ( )
  ChristianR | Dec 7, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062215914, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 01 Mar 2017 13:01:59 -0500)

Feeling most alive when he's playing the blues with his grandfather, Clayton is devastated when his grandfather dies and his mother forbids him from playing music, losses that compel him to run away and join bluesmen on the road.

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