Clayton feels most alive when he’s with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, and the band of Bluesmen—he can’t wait to join them, just as soon as he has a blues song of his own. But then the unthinkable happens. Cool Papa Byrd dies, and Clayton’s mother forbids Clayton from playing the blues. And Clayton knows that’s no way to live.
Armed with his grandfather’s brown porkpie hat and his harmonica, he runs away from home in search of the Bluesmen, hoping he can join them on the road. But on the journey that takes him through the New York City subways and to Washington Square Park, Clayton learns some things that surprise him.
National Book Award Finalist * Kirkus Best Books of 2017 * Horn Book Best Books of 2017 * Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017 * School Library Journal Best Books of 2017 * NAACP Image Awards Youth/Teens Winner * Chicago Public Library Best Books * Boston Globe Best Books of 2017
"This slim novel strikes a strong chord."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This complex tale of family and forgiveness has heart.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
"Strong characterizations and vivid musical scenes add layers to this warm family story.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An appealing, realistic story with frequent elegant turns of phrase." —The Horn Book (starred review)
"Garcia-Williams skillfully finds melody in words.” —Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Frank Morrison is the award-winning illustrator of many books for young readers, including Jazzy Miz Mozetta by Brenda C. Roberts, winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; Katheryn Russell-Brown's Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book; and Gene Barretta's Muhammad Ali. Before becoming a children's book illustrator and fine artist, Morrison toured the globe as a break-dancer. He lives in Georgia with his family. You can visit him online at www.morrisongraphics.com.