Winner of the 2001 Coretta Scott King Award, in Miracle's Boys, three young outsiders struggle to make it through when their parents die and leave them to survive on their own. An ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
"Gr. 6^-10. Lafayette, 12, tells his family story in a voice that's funny, smart, and troubled. It's a story of poverty and grief, of family secrets and brotherly love. Lafayette's oldest brother, Ty'ree, has given up hope of college so that he can work and raise Lafayette and their middle brother, Charlie, who robbed a local candy store two years ago and has returned home from the correctional facility an angry stranger. Charlie is now in trouble again; this time it's a gang fight. With the boys always is the absence of their beloved mother and the guilt, blame, and sorrow they all feel and incite in one another. Mama is too saintly a figure, at least in her three sons' soft-glowing sorrowful memories, but the fast-paced narrative is physically immediate, and the dialogue is alive with anger and heartbreak, "brother to brother to brother." As in Walter Dean Myers' novel 145th Street [BKL D 15 99], the city block in the story is hard and dangerous--and it is home. --Hazel Rochman"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"HAccomplished singer and songwriter Harper (Rhythm in My Shoes) raises the bar for herself on this joyful and richly layered recording. Harper's clear voice has never sounded stronger or warmer than on these mostly original tunes celebrating various moods of childhood and the humorous and happy elements of family life. "Yonder Come Day/Shining over China," the combination of a Georgia Sea Islands folk song and Harper's own composition, kicks things off with African-flavored percussion and lyrics about believing in things we can't always see. In "I'm Already There," Mom imagines how exciting it would be to take a family trip, until she remembers all the preparation and packing (and choruses of "Are we there yet?") the voyage will involve. Jazz influences range from New Orleans-style on "A Little Brown Dog Named Joe" to the bluesy, boogie-woogie-inspired "Walk It While You Talk It." Other standouts include the Calyspo-sounding "Shout the Happiness," about appreciating the little things in life, and "The Band," a lilting, cumulative song about instruments. Children add their voices throughout, both singing and speaking, and Harper's daughter Nora performs sweet vocal accompaniment on "Down by the River/Bullfrog." Rhythms and musical styles from around the globe and fresh, jaunty lyrics help make this a swell choice for family listening. All ages. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved