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Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground


Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

ratings:
4/5 (10 ratings)
Length:
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
May 9, 2017
ISBN:
9780062682581
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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.

Publisher:
Released:
May 9, 2017
ISBN:
9780062682581
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Rita Williams-Garcia's Newbery Honor Book, 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. Her novel Clayton Byrd Goes Underground was a National Book Award finalist and winner of the NAACP Image Award for Youth/Teen Literature. Rita is also the author of five other 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); and Blue Tights. Rita Williams-Garcia lives in Jamaica, New York, with her husband and has two adult daughters. You can visit her online at www.ritawg.com.


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Reviews

What people think about Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

4.2
10 ratings / 7 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I found this novel to be delightful, with plenty of meaty subjects to engage kids in discussions. A great choice for classroom libraries!
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    Rather realistic, but it just kind of ends, like it needed to be tied up really fast.
  • (4/5)
    An award winner, but it didn't work for me.
  • (4/5)
    There's nothing Clayton likes more than to play the blues with his grandpa, Cool Papa and the guys. When his grandfather dies suddenly, Clayton's mama gets rid of all his belongings in a yard sale- even his guitars that were promised to Clayton. Clayton smashes his mom's angel salt shaker and runs away to meet up with his grandfather's band before they go south for the winter. On the subway he meets up with some wild boys and has to decide what he is going to do- try to get the only thing of Cool Papa's back or catch up with the band? What will heal his grief? This 166 page book is a good one for someone suffering a loss in their life, grades 4-6.
  • (4/5)
    Clayton Byrd’s favorite thing is playing his harmonica, or “blues harp,” with his grandpa, Cool Papa Byrd, and the other blues men. He really wants a solo, but Cool Papa says he’s not ready yet. Then, after the unexpected happens, Clayton sets out on his own — but is he ready for this kind of solo?Another good book by Williams-Garcia. This one is slim, but tackles some big issues. The audiobook is likewise high-quality. Recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Clayton Byrd grieves the death of Cool Papa Byrd, his grandfather, as his mother tries to take the blues out of his life. Clayton Byrd Goes Underground immediately establishes Cool Papa Byrd’s “look sharp, be cool” attitude which Clayton tries to invoke at various points. The grief and anger present in this book will pull at readers and is made possible by excellent characterizations. A few chapters focusing on Ms. Byrd’s perspective provides further insight into a complicated character that is sometimes difficult to like. Otherwise this is Clayton’s story, although a few of the boys he meets on the subway could easily have their own story too. There isn't a superfluous page in Clayton Byrd Goes Underground and the plot takes readers on a journey with a satisfying resolution. This story makes strong use of its New York City setting with its descriptions of the subway system and various music scenes. A truly distinguished tale of family and grief, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground is very highly recommended for readers ages nine through twelve.