Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky*
Author: Kwame Mbalia
Seventh-grader Tristan Strong doesn’t think he’ll ever live up to his last name. How could he, having failed to save his best friend when they were in that bus accident together? Now, all he has left of Eddie is the journal in which his friend wrote down the stories he loved. When a strange creature breaks into his bedroom and steals Eddie’s journal, Tristan chases the creature into the forest of his grandmother’s mysterious Bottle Trees. In an attempt to wrest the journal from the creature, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally opening a hole in the sky above MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters hunting the inhabitants of this world. Luckily, in this new world Tristan discovers that the gods and legends of the tales Eddie wrote down are real -- John Henry, Brer Rabbit, and more. He’ll need their help to convince Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. However, bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price -- one Tristan isn’t sure he’ll be able to pay. Your young readers will be swept up by this epic adventure that weaves together West African and African-American history and myth to create an unforgettable world and an incredible new hero. Ages 8-12. 482pp.