Parents' Guide to

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky: Tristan Strong, Book 1

By Michael Berry, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Teen connects with African folklore in exciting fantasy.

Book Kwame Mbalia Fantasy 2019
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky: Tristan Strong, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

Amazing but hard to grasp

So I read rhis after my son did because 1. I love these kinds of books and 2. I wanted to make him do a book report on it. I thought the story was engaging and it taught me alot. However my son I don't think really understood the story. If your kid has good reading comprehension fhen I'd even go with a younger age however be advised that most of the book is an allegory about slavery so either they won't grasp it or they might be frightened.
age 9+

Good Book

Overall, I think this is a good book, but it's a little scary. A nine-year-old I know thought it was good but a little creepy. So. . . I recommend this book to people who enjoy a little mystery, fantasy, violence, and creepy stuff. As I said, this is an enjoyable book, but it has a tiny bit of creepy stuff. Thanks for reading this review. I hoped it helped you decide

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (4 ):

This innovative fantasy expertly incorporates African and African American folklore into a contemporary middle grade novel. Author Kwame Mbalia has created a highly likable main character in Tristan, who's at first reluctant to be enmeshed in the magical battles but gradually accepts that his help is crucial to the cause. There's plenty of action, lots of humor, and chapters that end with a twist or a cliffhanger. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky deserves praise for the ways it pays respect to African cultures, displaying their vitality and continuing relevance.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate