Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff



Funny and sensitive story of friendship.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

A description of a fight. A minor character is shot and killed when he holds up a store. The father of a boy dies, the father of a girl abandons his family, and a minor character dies.


Kids talk about sex.


One minor off-color expression.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The main character stays out late at a party one night and drinks a can of beer. One character is a drug addict.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids of all races can identify with this funny and sensitive story of friendship. The characters ring true as they play, confront difficulties, discuss life, and try to grow up. There are some slightly mature situations as the kids deal with the allure of drugs and sex, and the death of a parent.

What's the story?

Stuff moves to 116th Street in Harlem and meets the boys and girls who will be his friends. They stir up plenty of humor just hanging with each other, but when tragedy strikes, the group decides to form a club called the Good People to help each other. Mostly funny, sometimes serious, this is a wonderful portrait of friendship.


Is it any good?


Plenty of humor and realistic dialogue make the characters in this story come alive. Walter Dean Myers has written numerous books about the gritty life in Harlem. In this book he concentrates on kids who deliberately do good for one another, stay away from drugs and sex, and have fun together. Meanwhile, they help each other cope with serious difficulties.

The episodic story progresses until readers have a bright portrait of these kids who grow up in a tough neighborhood, but who remain kids. They have the support of their families and each other, and learn the difference between being people and playing roles.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the role that friendship plays in each character's life. How do their friends help them overcome difficult situations?

Book details

Author:Walter Dean Myers
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1975
Number of pages:190
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous March 23, 2014

Very very good book.

Walter Dean Myers is awesome now, and was awesome way back when, as he demonstrates with this wonderful and powerful book about a young group of children getting a slice of life of Harlem. Beware of drug use and sex, however.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byTeacher1234 October 27, 2010

Great Discussion Starter

I am a teacher, reading this book aloud to my class. We have had some wonderful discussions, not only about how to be a friend, but how to be someone going through a tough time, as well. If you have never been through something hard, you may become confused, angry, quiet, or over-compensate with joy. We talked about how all reactions are okay. However you are feeling is how you are feeling, and that is okay. I think this discussion was really appropriate and helpful for my kids.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bymz.adorable April 8, 2009

Fast Sam,Cool Clyde, and Stuff

what wisdom do walter dean myers show in this book


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