Sunshine: How One Camp Taught Me About Life, Death, and Hope

Scholastic Audio. Jun. 2023. 216p. $20.99. ISBN 9781338775204.
Gr 7 Up–Krosoczka has a Promethean task following up Hey, Kiddo—in print, sure, but even more so his 2020 Odyssey Award-winning audio. This title is another memoir, more companion than sequel, that again affectingly balances heartbreak and joy: at 16, Krosoczka spent a week at a summer camp for children with life-threatening illnesses, where he formed life-changing bonds with teen Diego and young Eric (and Eric’s family). Krosoczka narrates as part of a 47-person cast that presents another impressive family-and-friends ensemble performance. Notable Hey Kiddo returnees include Meltzer as teen Jarrett (previously tween Jarrett), writer buddy Birdsall (yes, Penderwicks!) as grandmother Shirley, Hanlan as Derek (previously young best friend Pat) who gets to flatulence. Krosoczka’s wife and three kids are aurally gathered here, most notably son Xavier as young Eric; listeners will cry listening to Eric’s memorial poem “From My Eyes.” Grab the tissues, too, for the singing performance of wrenching “Lullaby.” More upbeat are decades-later reunions—on the page and on audio—with Eric’s siblings Jason and Mary who voice their adult selves.
VERDICT Hey, Kiddo fans will likely flock to this title. Libraries should have ready access in all formats.

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