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Author: Nelson, Marilyn
Sixteen-year-old Connor tries to help his severely depressed father, who learned upon his mother's death that Nonno was not his biological father, by doing research that reveals Dad's father was probably a Tuskegee Airman.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 183729
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 68195
Kirkus Reviews (+) (10/01/15)
School Library Journal (12/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/16)
The Hornbook (00/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2015 Gr 8 Up—When she dies, Nonna Lucia leaves a letter to Connor's father, her oldest son, which reveals that he is not the biological son of her husband but rather of an American who died during World War II. It is as if Connor's father has lost himself as well as his beloved mother; he is devastated. The confusion and questions emerging from the discovery propel Connor to explore who this mysterious grandfather might have been. It emerges that he was one of the storied, heroic Tuskegee Airmen. Through 45 poems in Connor's voice, Nelson considers such matters as identity, heredity, nurture, race, and family. Connor and his father, who is teaching him to drive, have ample opportunity to probe tentatively and delicately into their feelings about such things while they're on the road. Connor's research takes on urgency after his father suffers a stroke, and his gradual recovery is deftly linked to Connor's increasing pride about their newfound heritage. VERDICT Nelson packs a good deal into these verses, and though the subject matter is weighty, she leavens it with humor and deep family affection.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/01/2015 Inspired by her father’s remarkable experiences as a Tuskegee Airman, esteemed historian-poet Nelson has aced it again. Through Connor, a young Italian American who discovers a mysterious WWII past connected to HBCU Wilberforce University, Nelson invites readers to unravel these secrets along with him. Based on facts surrounding “a ring, a pilot’s wings, and a letter,” but lyrically fictionalized, Nelson’s narrative verse moves the saga smoothly through brief sections and page-long chapters. Nelson compellingly uses Connor’s required 40 hours of supervised driving instruction to force him into conversations with his depressed father, through which readers learn of Connor’s grandfather, one of the Tuskegee Airmen. The meaning of heritage and legacy are expanded, just as the hearts of father and son expand to reach new understandings. Nelson openly shares the thought processes that went into this unique project in generous back matter titled “How This Book Came to Be.” This slice of history has been told before, but not like this. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.