Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What I liked most about this book was the relationship between Clayton and his grandfather. Cool Papa Byrd was Clayton’s best friend, “even with nearly six decades between the two Byrds, Clayton and Cool Papa had what Cool Papa called “harmony.” The two could be found in Washington Square Park playing the blues with the Bluesmen. And when they weren’t making music, his grandfather would read to him at night when his mother worked double shifts.
While Clayton had a strong bond with his grandfather, his mother did not. When she was a child, he put traveling and playing the blues with the Bluesmen above being there for his family. He’d be gone for months at a time. She never forgave him for that and she never really had the chance to reconcile with him before he passes away at the very beginning of the story. If she didn’t like the blues before, she really didn’t like it now because, in some way, she felt its pull would get a hold of her son and maybe she’d lose him too.
When asked, Clayton told everyone he was cool. But he wasn’t. He decides to run away and finds himself caught up in the middle of some trouble. What will it take to get him back home to his family? To break the cycle of holding grudges and not forgiving loved ones?
Rita Williams-Garcia is an award-winning author that I can count on to write the stories that our children need to read.
“I wasn’t born cool like this…before I was cool, I was hot.” ~ Cool Papa
Rita Williams-Garcia | https://rita-williamsgarcia.squarespace.com/
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