February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Audio Review

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redstarREYNOLDS, Jason. As Brave as You. 7 CDs. 7:02 hrs. S. & S. Audio. May 2016. $17.99. ISBN 9781508225089. digital download.

as-brave-as-youGr 5-8 –Reynolds makes his middle grade debut with a multigenerational story featuring two Brooklyn brothers sent to stay temporarily with grandparents in rural Virginia. While their parents take some time to salvage their fraying relationship, 11-year-old Genie and his almost 14-year-old brother, Ernie, are expected to spend a month obeying their strict grandmother, surviving without cellular service or the Internet, and helping with any chores that need doing. Genie, always asking questions, is especially curious about Grandpop, whose sunglasses initially hide his blindness. Nervous fear aside, Genie manages to learn surprising family stories and secrets—including the truth about a model fire truck that seemingly belongs to no one, what’s behind the “nunya bidness door,” and why Grandpop carries a gun. With compassion and humor, Reynolds deftly explores life lessons about family bonds, growing up, and the meaning of true courage. Narrator Guy Lockard embodies Genie’s curiosity, excitement, and well-earned wisdom with pitch-perfect accuracy. VERDICT Equal parts adventure, mystery, and comedy, this is an ideal choice to suggest to middle grade listeners. [“A richly realized story about life and loss, courage and grace, and what it takes to be a man”: SLJ 6/16 starred review of the S. & S. Atheneum book.]–­Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC

This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2016 issue.

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