Parents' Guide to

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

By Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

The blues and forgiveness fuel emotional family grief tale.

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Strong, lyrical prose combines with an emotionally smart narrative to make this short novel soar from its first few words on the page. Author Rita Williams-Garcia quickly and solidly connects readers to the characters in Clayton Byrd Goes Underground and eloquently shows the struggles of a boy becoming a man, a family dealing with unresolved issues, and the helplessness that can overcome you when grief strikes. How do you express what you feel when there's so much going on inside? What do you do with those feelings that hurt deep where only the blues can find them?

Williams-Garcia takes us on Clayton's journey to answer those questions while effortlessly connecting readers to a music genre that is often lost on young people: the blues. The symbiotic and rooted relationship between hip-hop and the blues is also explored. Overall, readers are treated to a full-bodied, layered, rich, and emotionally satisfying story in a few short pages.

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