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The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
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The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is author Dan Gemeinhart's take on the classic All-American Road Trip tale. This one's seen through the eyes of a bright 12-year-old who's been crisscrossing the country in a converted school bus with her loving but strange dad ever since her mom and sisters were killed in a car crash five years earlier. Grief, loss, and running from them are among the hard things going on, and as Coyote and Rodeo pick up passengers along the way, there's more: a musician torn between his band and his girlfriend; a boy and his mom fleeing his violent father; a teen whose parents have thrown her out because she's gay. Also a bit of breaking and entering for a good cause. Etc. There's a lot of heart here, and also a lot of books, kindness, creative thinking, and learning to see things from other people's perspective.
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What's the story?
THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE finds the 12-year-old title character and her dad, who goes by Rodeo, on the run. From grief. In a school bus named Yager, it's been this way for five years, ever since Coyote's mom and two sisters were killed in a car crash. Not forming attachments, especially to anything you can lose, is a big rule. Which Coyote breaks the minute she sees a gray kitten at a truck stop, smuggles him onboard, and names him Ivan after the hero in her favorite book, The One and Only Ivan. Then she learns that back in the hometown they've been avoiding for five years, the park where she and her mom and sisters buried a memory box just before she lost them is about to be demolished. Now she's got to get back in time to save the box, and also keep her fragile dad in the dark about what she's up to. Along the way, they pick up assorted folks in need, form new connections, and have many adventures. Also setbacks.
Is it any good?
Dan Gemeinhart's heart-filled road-trip tale brings an irresistible 12-year-old narrator, an engaging cast of characters, and a lot of nail-biting, hilarious, poignant, and life-changing moments. There's a lot of heavy stuff going on as a kid tries to keep what's left of her family -- i.e., her strange, fragile, but loving father -- together in the wake of her mom and sisters' deaths years earlier. The new friends who join The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise are dealing with stuff of their own -- fleeing abusers, being thrown out of the house for being gay, and facing some hard relationship choices. But kindness helps.
"The girl sniffled and then took another bite and while she got to chewing, I got to thinking.
"Now, obviously I was thinking of giving this girl a ride. I don't care who you are, if you see some girl crying at a gas station at night, you can't help but feel like you oughta help 'em if you can. Just look at that nosy lady who called the cops on me when Rodeo left me behind the night I met Salvador. There is such things as good help and bad help, though, and I was more interested in seeing if I could give Val the good kind. Plus, that bit about Val's parents really got my fur up like Ivan's when he sees a dog. My very favorite aunt -- my mom's sister, Jen -- is gay, and her wife, Sofia, is my very favorite aunt-in-law, and the thought of someone hating on them just 'cause of who they love made me want to put on boxing gloves."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about road-trip stories like The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise. Why do you think journeys -- and the way they transform characters -- are such a popular storytelling theme? Do you have any favorites? How does this one compare with them?
Why do you think Coyote and Rodeo get hassled by police (and busybodies) so much? Do you think this is fair? Do you know anyone in a similar situation?
Do you think it would be fun to live on a bus and call the road your home? Or would you rather live in a regular house?
- Author: Dan Gemeinhart
- Genre: Family Life
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Henry Holt
- Publication date: January 8, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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