CLAYTON BYRD GOES UNDERGROUND by Rita Williams-Garcia. New York: HarperCollins, 2017. 166p. ISBN 978-006221591-8 hc. $16.99 Gr. 4-6 JUV FIC
Clayton loves to play the blues harp with his grandfather, Cool Papa. He's practicing until he can play a solo with the Bluesmen, Cool Papa's group. Before he reaches that goal, Cool Papa dies and Clayton's mother makes an executive decision to sell all his grandfather's music, guitars, and signature hat at a yard sale....things that should have been given to Clayton. She had issues growing up with her father, and doesn't understand how important he was to Clayton. In desperation to pay tribute to his grandfather, Clayton re-traces the train ride to the city they used to take together to play with the Bluesmen. The adventure leads to trouble when Clayton runs into a street gang that dances on the subway for money. When the law gets involved, Clayton is forced to talk to his mother and find the words that express his grief over losing Cool Papa. Sometimes grownups forget how much children are affected by family events.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI