What It Is About: This is the prequel to The Crossover. This is the story of Josh and Jordan Bell's father Chuck (Charlie) Bell. It takes place over one summer when he was a young boy. Chuck is dealing with a major loss and isn't making life easy on his mother. After an incident with his buddy, Chuck is sent to spend the summer with his grandparents. At first he isn't thrilled because he has summer plans with two of his best friends. When he arrives at his grandparents, he finds a loving and soft grandmother and a rather tough and stern grandfather. His grandfather puts him to work and has high expectations of him. Chuck misses his mother, his friends, and the "freedom" he had back at home. He also begins to learn about his father's story and how that story impacts himself.
What I Thought Of It: The writing of Kwame always amazes me. I can't imagine how he is able to put words together like he does to tell a beautiful story. It was so enjoyable to revisit this family and learn more about the father and his childhood. The novel was in verse like most of his books, and worked incredibly well. There were so many important themes spread throughout the story. Through Chuck (Charlie's) story the reader learns about family, friendship, loss, and decision making. This is a great additional to my Kwame Alexander collection of books in my classroom.
Who Should Read It: This newest novel would be perfect for any fourth, fifth, and/or sixth grade classroom. Of course readers in middle-school will also enjoy this prequel. If you are a Kwame fan, then you need to read this novel. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars!