|King and the dragonflies|
Author: Callender, Kacen
In a small Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 507429
Coretta Scott King Author Honor, 2021
Kirkus Reviews (12/01/19)
School Library Journal (01/01/20)
Booklist (+) (01/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/01/20)
The Hornbook (+) (00/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2020 Gr 4–9—Although the bayou of Louisiana suggests something slow and gentle, 13-year-old King's contemporary story feels intense and pointed. His 16-year-old brother, Khalid, died unexpectedly of unexplained medical causes, leaving his small family reeling. Three months later, King's mom still isn't cooking and his typically stoic dad has stunned him to silence by offering a rare "I love you" while dropping him off at school. Friends and middle school romance are difficult enough but then his ex-friend Sandy goes missing. Despite a relatively simple set of events, the story delivers emotional depth via the conversations between both friends and family members. The memories of Khalid's dreamy sleep talk grippingly pluck at heartstrings, adding a romantic poetry to an already potent mix. Callender tackles some serious issues—racism, being gay, child abuse, grieving—with finesse and a heady sense of the passions and pangs of youth. On its own, this title solidifies Callender's merit as a powerful middle grade and YA author, even without following on the heels of the well-awarded Hurricane Child. VERDICT An intense, gripping tale of love, loss, and friendship featuring a black youth grappling with his dreams and his identity. Recommended for all middle grade collections.—Erin Reilly-Sanders, University of Wisconsin-Madison - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 01/01/2020 *Starred Review* This incredible middle-grade follow-up to Callender’s debut novel Hurricane Child (2018) delves into one boy’s journey to self-acceptance while wading through the profound grief that has engulfed his family. King, a Black child living by the bayous of Louisiana, is dealt the double blow of losing his beloved older brother while trying to contain an identity he is sure will cause his father to stop loving him. When his former best friend, the gay son of the local sheriff, runs away, the weight of expectations and secrets leads King to examine everything he thinks he knows about being brave, being a man, and being himself. Callender handles these threads with a dexterity that deftly weaves them all together into a cohesive whole and a dynamic tale that will resonate with children struggling to reconcile who they are with what they think society wants them to be. While the adults in this story struggle to adapt to their new reality, their ability to embrace love and assuage King’s doubts about his place in his family is wonderfully affirming for children of all identities. Strongly recommended for all children’s collections. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.