Clayton Byrd Goes Underground Starred Reviews This slim novel strikes a strong chord Publishers Weekly starred review This complex tale of family and forgiveness has heart School Library Journal starred review Strong characteriz

  • Title: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
  • Author: Rita Williams-Garcia
  • ISBN: 9780062215918
  • Page: 465
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 5 Starred Reviews This slim novel strikes a strong chord Publishers Weekly starred review This complex tale of family and forgiveness has heart School Library Journal starred review Strong characterizations and vivid musical scenes add layers to this warm family story Kirkus Reviews starred review An appealing, realistic story with frequent elegant turns of p5 Starred Reviews This slim novel strikes a strong chord Publishers Weekly starred review This complex tale of family and forgiveness has heart School Library Journal starred review Strong characterizations and vivid musical scenes add layers to this warm family story Kirkus Reviews starred review An appealing, realistic story with frequent elegant turns of phrase The Horn Book starred review Garcia Williams skillfully finds melody in words Booklist starred review 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.

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      Published :2019-06-13T19:21:18+00:00

    About "Rita Williams-Garcia"

    1. Rita Williams-Garcia

      I was born in Queens, N.Y, 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 was aware of events going on as I grew up in the 60s In the midst of real events, I daydreamed and wrote stories Writing stories for young people is my passion and my mission Teens will read They hunger for stories that engage them and reflect their images and experiences Author of four award winning novels, Rita Williams Garcia continues to break new ground in young people s literature Known for their realistic portrayal of teens of color, Williams Garcia s works have been recognized by the Coretta Scott King Award Committee, PEN Norma Klein, American Library Association, and Parents Choice, among others She recently served on the National Book Award Committee for Young People s Literature and is on faculty at Vermont College MFA Writing for Children and Young People.

    462 thoughts on “Clayton Byrd Goes Underground”

    1. 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, Clayt [...]

    2. 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 required class reading of a book his grandfather used to 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 [...]

    3. 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 quarte [...]

    4. 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 more difficult. And then she treated Clayton's falling-asleep-in-school problem like a flaw in Clayton's character. The woman drove me crazy. [...]

    5. Young African-American Clayton Byrd yearns “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 story.Right from the first page, Rita Williams-Garcia weaves the power of [...]

    6. 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 m [...]

    7. ARC from Publisher at ALAClayton loves to hang out with his grandfather, Cool Papa, and play the blues at Washington Square Park with his grandfather's band. Clayton desperately wants to have a solo, but Cool Papa tells him he's not quite 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 frequenly was on the road when she was growing up, Clayton's mother is very bitter about the music [...]

    8. 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 ta [...]

    9. Clayton Bryd's Cool Papa Byrd, his grandfather who loves the Blues as much as he loves Clayton, passes away unexpectedly leaving Clayton heartbroken and his mother angrily selling all his possessions. While dealing with his grief, Clayton tries to bury himself in his music, while his mother forbids it. While both are grieving in their own way, it takes a secret trip "underground" for them to start to understand each other and heal together. Ugh! This book had so much promise and while I think it [...]

    10. I read "Clayton Byrd Goes Underground" on my Kindle while on my treadmill mostly and the last couple pages in my bed, under the covers (the best place to read). Rita Williams-Garcia books are so catchy. I have read almost all of them. I truly felt the music in "Clayton Byrd Goes Underground"--the blues, the tunes from Clayton's blues harp (his harmonica), and Cool Papa's guitar Wah-Wah-nita. This book took me on an emotional journey. It felt like one continuous thread as the reader follows one d [...]

    11. Clayton loves his grandfather and music. They share the love of blues. There is nothing more that Clayton wants than to be a musician with his grandpa's band. At what lengths will he go to achieve this goal?

    12. I love basically anything by Rita Williams-Garcia. Clayton Byrd is no exception -- funny, tender, philosophical, with a little adventure thrown in. On a more practical note, I love that Clayton's age is fairly ambiguous -- making it feel acceptable for a 6th grader. The fact that it is short is an added bonus.

    13. This perfectly pitched novel about a young black boy's musical journey out of grief after the death of his beloved Cool Papa is pure gold. Funny, smart and full of authentic middle school moments that made me nod in recognition on almost every page, it has the added personal bonus of being set in Queens and the neighborhood where I work in Manhattan. What a delightful, timely addition to RWG's already stupendous body of work.

    14. Clayton and his grandpa, Cool Papa, sneak away on nights Clayton's mom works a long shift. They go to play the blues at Washington Square Park with Cool Papa's band--grandpa on guitar and Clayton on the blues harp (harmonica). But then Cool Papa dies unexpectedly after reading a bedtime story to Clayton. Clayton's mom immediately starts getting rid of every trace of her father--from his guitars to his pork pie hat and she forbids Clayton to play the blues. Clayton wishes his mother could underst [...]

    15. The writing style was wonderful and I loved how Williams-Garcia described the sounds of the music. The story was interesting and drew me in and kept me until the end. I liked Clayton's idealization of Cool Papa and his inability to understand why his mom was so mad at Cool Papa. Cool Papa is always there for Clayton in a way he was never there for his own daughter, so Clayton misses the point entirely. It adds a very rich and a very real level of conflict I think a lot of us can relate to. It be [...]

    16. *I received an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*This is the first book I've read from Rita Williams-Garcia, but it was just lovely. Clayton idolizes his blues-playing grandpa, to the dismay of his mother. When his grandfather dies, Clayton's grief runs up against his mother's pain from her youth, when her father loved the road more than his family. As Clayton tries to cope with his loss, he turns to his harmonica (blues harp), upsetting his mother. Finall [...]

    17. This heart melting story tells us about a boy named Clayton Byrd and how he loved playing the blues as much as he loved his grandfather, which Clayton calls him Cool Papa. But when everything comes crashing down, his grandfather leaving Clayton's life,his mother taking his blues harp because she hates the blues, and Clayton's mom selling all of Cool papa's things. Unable to live his once happy life, Clayton decided to run away and live with the blues men. His plan didn't go too well. Forced to d [...]

    18. Clayton Byrd loves playing the blues with his Cool Papa. He is talented with the blues harp and doesn't like when people call it a harmonica. Cool Papa typically watches Clayton because his mom works long hours. Cool Papa and Clayton have a beautiful relationship, but Clayton's mom doesn't particularly like the influence the blues might have on her son. This book is a sweet story about love and acceptance. It is also a story about coping with loss and grief. Highly recommend.

    19. This white girl from small town/small city doesn't know blues and doesn't know subways, but I was pulled into the story of a boy grieving for his beloved grandfather. One of my fifth grade readers gulped it down in no time, and I read it the same way.

    20. Newbery-Honor winner Williams-Garcia returns with another book that is filled with love, loss and family. Clayton loves playing the blue with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, in the park. It’s something they do together when his mother works double shifts, since she doesn’t approve of the blues or his grandfather. Clayton knows he is ready for a solo on his blues harp, but Cool Papa wants him to wait a bit longer. Then one night, Cool Papa doesn’t wake up and Clayton is left with his mothe [...]

    21. Clayton Byrd is what one might call an "old soul". Despite the fact he's still in elementary school, Clayton has spent the better part of his years with his grandfather--Cool Papa Byrd, a blues musician who plays with a group of other musicians- The Bluesmen. Clayton has played with them on the blues harp (or harmonica), and longs for the time when his blues are "blue" enough to take on a solo. Clayton's life changes drastically when Cool Papa dies in his sleep one night. His mother has little p [...]

    22. There are some books that make you want to scream at the characters "what were you thinking?" or "just tell someone the truth!" This is one of those books. I wish I had listened to it on audio because I'm sure that a good audio version of it would have included the music that is important to the story. But I was content with hearing it in my head. I'm wondering if we will be hearing more about Clayton and his intractable mother in the future. I hope so. I like Clayton and was rooting for him all [...]

    23. Richie’s Picks: CLAYTON BYRD GOES UNDERGROUND by Rita Williams-Garcia, HarperCollins/Amistad, May 2017, 176p ISBN: 978-0-06-221591-8“When no one steps on my dreams there'll be days like thisWhen people understand what I mean there'll be days like thisWhen you ring out the changes of how everything isWell my mama told me there'll be days like this ”-- Van Morrison (1995)“It was seven forty-five and the plan was in action. Clayton avoided the main streets and began the three-quarter-mile h [...]

    24. A cool book about a boy and his desire to play the Blues with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd and other traveling Blues players. Things really take off after his grandfather passes and we see a child, struggling with grief, chase his dream . . .One review I read says this strikes a chord and it does, but it also tugs on the heartstrings. Have the tissues ready.By the way, there are some baseball references, and I know that Cool Papa Bell was a great ballplayer back in the day, so I wonder if the [...]

    25. Really solid and definitely affecting, just like the blues. Four stars instead of five because the writing felt more distant than Williams-Garcia's usually does for me, and that made it harder to get into. It's hard to explain quite what I mean, but I felt like I was at arm's length rather than right in the middle of the action, and I don't know what that is.

    26. 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 [...]

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