Read to him at night and gazes at a lizard clearly a life of crime is ahead of him The mom and I use the term loosely has obviously been jealous of the love the grandpa and Clayton shared his whole life If she resented her father so much for his time away when she was growing up why let him live with them Plus she was an adult now She should have gotten over most of her resentment or at least went into some much needed therapy Mom is cruel and abusive under the guise of love She sells everything her dad loved for next to nothing Guitars he had for decades albums items promised to her son ou name it she put it in her garage sale She also takes away her son s much loved prized possession his harmonica Clayton plays hooky Hai nhà you don t blame him for a moment to go after his grandfather s blues band He takes the subway hence the title Clayton Byrd Goes Underground I am not even going to get into theoung ppl he meets on the train and all the following nonsense Reading Rita Williams Garcia is usually like being wrapped in a down comforter by the fireplace with a cat on our lap a dog by our side and drinking hot cocoa Complete with the miniature marshmallows I would like to think the book had bad editing and she got way off the mark writing advice The cover art is beautiful I still remain a fan and look forward to her next offering dang i liked this book so much the audio is really superb is this what kids read nowadays cuz this is chock full with super duper themes dealt with delicacy but also ou know head on foremost grief also when a bad ass parent becomes a good grandparent where do the middle generation loyalties lie also kids and art and the much underacknowledged place of black music in america and the world also fuck this country s police culture Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel From Beginning to Bookend Clayton Byrd delights in playing music with his grandfather Cool Papa Byrd and his band of Bluesmen Though he s occasionally permitted to join in on his blues harp Clayton longs for his own twelve bar solo and to be a true bluesman among bluesmen When tragedy strikes Clayton s family his ability to play music is threatened Burdened by grief and determined to keep the blues in his life Clayton sets off on a journey to be reunited with music and his band of Bluesmen Music is the heart and soul of this story Williams Garcia s cadent descriptions of musicians instruments and the harmonies they create are as rhythmic as the blues themselves Whether it s the slow burning funk accompanying Cool Papa Byrd as he sings in a voice deep and high raspy and smooth or the wail of a guitar perfect for the soft midnight jams whose strings produce the purest sound with a sweet echo on the end the beat of Clayton Byrd s story will make readers want to boogie But what are the blues without heartache Cool Papa Byrd says a bluesman ain t a bluesman without that deep down cry When death touches Clatyon s family old hurts that have haunted his family for ears surface and music particularly the blues is blamed as the cause of that pain Clayton suddenly finds that his connection to music to the blues and to his grandfather is fading Worried the connection will be severed forever he finds the courage to set off on his own His journey is fraught with challenges that force him to examine his identity as a musician Williams Garcia makes readers privy to the emotional struggles of both Clayton and his family such that messages on forgiveness and the importance of being empathetic to the perspective of others find their way into the narrative However the crucial scene in which Clayton must confront his family to ask for and offer forgiveness is absent from the book Without that emotionally pivotal scene the conclusion of Clayton s story feels clipped and rushed Clayton Byrd Goes Underground is a melodic exploration of a boy navigating grief loss and family drama. 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 liveArmed 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 Suare Park Clayton learns some things that surprise
REVIEW Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
M a bit worried that the 1980s style cover is going to make this one a hard book to encourage children to pick up I love Williams Garcia s work but the sadness and bad choices in this one were a bit much This book puts The Art of Acquiring your heart through the wringer Reminds me a bit of Jason Reynolds GHOST but not near as authentic in voice as that title was And like that title I didn t really get much out of this one I did not care for the first half of this novel Cool Papa passes away just after we re introduced to him and the plot of the first half merely consists of Clayton struggling to stay awake in school While Clayton running away from home in the second act and getting caught up in the wrong crowd sounds exciting it really wasn t I found myself very frustrated with Clayton s unreasonable mother but that was probably intentional I did think Clayton s grief over losing his grandfather was handled appropriately but felt the resolution was a little rushed and tidy Young African American Clayton Byrdearns to be a true bluesman among bluesmen playing blues harp alongside his grandfather Cool Papa Byrd and his band When Cool Papa dies suddenly in his sleep Clayton grieves deeply his loss amplified by his mother s anger toward her father s blues playing days away from the family Adam Lazarre Whites narration resonates deeply bringing depth and emotion to this touching storyRight from the first page Rita Williams Garcia weaves the power of blues through each fiber of her story writing with the same rhythm and slow burning funk cooked into the blues that she describes She riffs on the lyrics of blues but keeps it focused on oung Clayton s story Beautifully written but not very satisfying I m torn I did feel very strongly about one thing Clayton s mother was so frustrating You can tell she s trying to be a perfect mother but to me it seemed like she did everything wrong She didn t respect Clayton s relationship with Cool Papa It was like she was trying to make Clayton s grieving process difficult And then she treated Clayton s falling asleep in school problem like a flaw in Clayton s character The woman drove me crazy I wanted to feel sympathy for her because we know her backstory We know Cool Papa was not a great father to her We know she works long hours as a nurse and doesn t accept much help from Clayton s dad Still There were opportunities for her to figure out what was really going on with Clayton and she never took them One thing I caught was that Clayton s mom calls him Angel and he plays the blues harp Maybe we re meant to see Clayton as an angelic kid who is driven underground by Cool Papa s death and the aftermath A good kid who almost goes really wrong Because Clayton goes underground he meets the Beat boys and sees what it would be like to not have his hardworking well meaning mother Even with her flaws To me the story ended a bit too soon It felt unfinished But there s a lot of good stuff about family dynamics and what not to do when a kid loses someone close to them I m looking at ou Ms Byrd Clayton is an excellent main character He is grieving the death of his grandfather and trying to navigate all those emotions while his mom is dealing with it in exactly the opposite way he needs The inter generational struggles here and how we carry the baggage of disappointing relationships into new ones is explored in a way that the target audience can take in I think this could have been a truly extraordinary book but and I can t believe I m saying this it was too short The last uarter of the book is packed with too much action and emotion with a rushed resolution that fives the reader no time to process it This book breaks my heart There was so much potential I loved every moment of this title until Clayton s grandfather dies Clayton gets in trouble for his incredibly poor behavior in school he falls asleep during reuired class reading of a book his grandfather used to. Y in words” Booklist starred reviewFrom 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 AlexanderClayton 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.
Clayton and his grandfather share a close bond and a love of the blues When Clayton s grandfather passes away suddenly he is lost in his grief His mother isn t processing her grief in a similar fashion she is selling his grandfather s prized possessions which feels like she s trying to erase his existence to Clayton who is having a difficult time expressing the depths of his loss to his mother This puts the two at odds and Clayton s behavior is treated as acting out which is punished by taking away beloved possessions and privilegesFed up and frustrated with issues at school Clayton decides to pack up his things and seek out a life on the road playing blues with his grandfather s band mates Along the way he runs into a group of oung people making their living by performing hip hop on the streets and in the subway Clayton learns uickly that he s not nearly as tough or smart as he thought he was and before long he s in pretty big troublewith the law When at last Clayton faces all of his issues at home and school head on he finds that his support system is stronger than he expected and with his father s help and a solid plan he begins to put his life back together even while grieving the loss of his grandfatherBack matter includes some insight on how blues music is related to hip hop music and the author s inspiration in writing this story The celebration of music is at the heart of this book The language with which the author describes why music specifically blues music is so important to Clayton is beautiful and nearly poetic The writing is lushly detailed and really helps the reader get into the mindset of a musician helps them grasp what music does to their minds bodies and souls The conflicts are layered and realistic and help the reader to invest in the story as well as keeps the pages turning I really appreciated how grief was explored and processed through different relationships This added to the authenticity of the story The ending was a bit rushed for my liking but I d still recommend this for grades 5 8 ARC from Publisher at ALAClayton loves to hang out with his grandfather Cool Papa and play the blues at Washington Suare Park with his grandfather s band Clayton desperately wants to have a solo but Cool Papa tells him he s not uite ready The two do this whenever Clayton s mother has a long nursing shift since she is not thrilled with Clayton taking part in these activities Since Cool Papa freuenly was on the road when she was growing up Clayton s mother is very bitter about the music When Cool Papa passes away unexpectedly she acts on this bitterness by selling or giving away every last possession of his although Clayton manages to keep a blues harp and a hat his grandfather favored Since he was so close to his grandfather Clayton takes his death very hard even though his father visits and tries to distract him Eventually he becomes so angry at his mother that he runs away from home and falls in with a street gang that performs on the subway The boys in the gang are not nice to him and do a lot of vaguely criminal things so hanging around with them eventually land him in jail When his mother has to pick him up there she is sure that it is the result of his grandfather s influence but his father points out that he needs help to get over the death of his grandfather Strengths Cool Papa is right up there with my favorite fictional grandfathers Not only do the two make music together but Cool Papa makes fish sticks and spaghetti reads to Clayton at night and is generally a loving and supportive presence in his life I also liked that his father plays a prominent role even though he doesn t live with Clayton This is a great length for middle grade and moves very uickly Weaknesses This is not only very sad but the way that Clayton s mother deals with the death is very dysfunctional and Clayton makes dangerous choices What I really think I m debating this one 5 Starred ReviewsThis slim novel strikes a strong chord Publishers Weekly starred reviewThis complex tale of family and forgiveness has heart” School Library Journal starred reviewStrong characterizations and vivid musical scenes add layers to this warm family story” Kirkus Reviews starred review“An appealing realistic story with freuent elegant turns of phrase The Horn Book starred reviewGarcia Williams skillfully finds melod.
ONLINE BOOKS Clayton Byrd Goes Underground Author Rita Williams–Garcia – chernov–art.com
I was born in ueens NY on April 13 1957 My mother Miss Essie named me 'NoMo' immediately after my birth Although I was her last child I took my time making my appearance I like to believe I was dreaming up a good story and wouldn’t budge until I was finished Even now my daughters call me 'Pokey Mom' because I slow poke around when they want to go go go I learned to read early and