Award: Coretta Scott King Award
Brendan Buckley is a character you don’t want to miss. He is a ten year old Tae Kwon Do blue belt with a penchant for rocks and science. He keeps a list of confidential, top-secret questions and scientific discoveries in a notebook he carries with him so he doesn’t forget to write things down.
Having recently lost his grandfather, Brendan becomes curious about the other grandfather he’s never seen. All he knows is what his mother told him: he’s not dead, but he’s gone. Then one day, on a boring trip to the mall with his witty grandmother, he meets Ed DeBose: mineral expert, president of the area’s rock club…and Brendan’s grandfather! He is forbidden to speak of the incident, but Brendan disobeys and tries to establish a relationship with his estranged grandfather.
He is a curious, loving, highly intelligent boy that had never struggled with his biracial identity until he meets Ed DeBose. Brendan writes new questions in his notebook, such as: “What makes white people be mean to black people?” and slowly comes to realize that there are some questions in life that cannot be answered scientifically.
Though the author addresses serious topics such as racism, prejudice and discrimination, the tone is light and she delivers the message without sending the reader into an emotional tailspin (though I must admit I cried in the end, but I can’t say why! Read it. Trust me, it’s worth it). There is a good dose of humor to keep the reader interested and turning the pages to see what new discoveries await Brendan.
This book deserves a 5/5 rating for its balance of serious topics and humor, complex characters, and realistic ending. It should be on every teacher’s bookshelf.
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