Monday, August 29, 2016

Book of the Week: As Brave As You

As Brave As You

by Jason Reynolds
A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book / Atheneum, 2016
410 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4814-1590-3
Ages 8-12

Eleven-year-old Genie and his older brother, Ernie, are staying with their Virginia grandparents while their parents go on vacation. It’s Genie’s first time meeting his grandfather, who’s never visited Brooklyn. Genie is fascinated to discover the older man is blind, although so capable in the house that Genie doesn’t realize it at first. A story full of small dramatic arcs and ongoing mysteries—of the door the boys aren’t supposed to open but that Genie does only to find a room full of swallows; of the yellow house in the woods; of the unexplained tension between his father and grandfather; of the effect of the girl down the hill on his brother—has an essential, understated storyline as Genie, a quiet, curious observer, deepens his understanding of himself, his grandfather, and the joy and pain and love that is family. Genie, so keen in his wondering, with a notebook full of questions; his grandfather, full of poignant regret, fierce pride, and barely acknowledged fear of moving beyond the predictable world contained within the four walls of the house; his grandmother, all bustling efficiency and loving control; Ernie’s alternating confidence and caution are exquisite characterizations gracing a story both funny and tender (poop patrol in the yard; their grandfather and a friend teaching Ernie to shoot; Ernie not wanting to fire a gun). It also beautifully captures the way summer days can feel shapeless, while forming themselves into a season of growth and discovery through living and loving, hurting and healing. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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