By Jason Reynolds.
Ages 10 to 14.
Genie Harris has about a million questions he needs answered. Maybe it’s only 500, but his list is growing quickly during the month he and his older brother, Ernie, are spending at their grandparents’ house in North Hill, Virginia.
The boys’ parents needed time to work on family problems, so they sent Genie and Ernie a world away from their New York City home. Genie had met Grandma once and knew Grandpop only from occasional phone conversations.
There are surprises from Day One of the visit.
Genie asks why Grandpop wears sunglasses inside, something the boy’s mom doesn’t allow. “She says it makes your eyes go bad, plus it makes you look crazy,” Genie says.
“Because I already can’t see a thing, and I been crazy for years,” the old man responds.
That bombshell leads the 11-year-old to wonder why no one told him Grandpop was blind.
“It’s something he likes to do himself after he’s met the person,” Genie’s dad says. “That way they don’t just come into his house thinking of him as, well, handicapped.”
Genie worries about spending a month in the middle of nowhere with someone who can’t see.
But Grandpop’s ability to make his way around the house — including pouring Genie a glass of sweet tea without spilling a drop — reassures the boy.
As the days pass, however, Genie realizes that Grandpop has odd habits and secrets. He spends hours each day in a room filled with plants, caged birds and lots of bird poop. He never ventures outside.
“I’on’t go outside because . . . well, I guess I’m a little . . . concerned,” Grandpop confides.
The old man enlists Genie in a secret plan to conquer some of his fear. Genie goes along with it but wonders what Grandpop is up to.
It’s the first of several secrets that lead Genie to worry that he’ll disappoint Grandpop and Grandma. Genie has to figure out whether the secrets are worth keeping or whether it’s more brave to come clean.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is the story of
Ada, a 10-year-old who is kept inside her family’s apartment in London, England, because the girl’s twisted foot is an embarrassment. The evacuation of children to the countryside during World War II provides an opportunity for her to escape her cruel mother. (Look for the sequel, “The War I Finally Won,” in October.) In Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, a girl in the 1920s and a boy in the 1970s — both of whom are deaf — journey to New York to find answers to questions about their families. The two stories, which are told partly in words and partly in illustrations, eventually intersect.
This is the last week to join the Summer Book Club. It’s open to kids ages 5 to 14.
Children may read some or all of the books on our list. (Find a blurb for each book on kidspost.com.) The first 500 kids registered will receive a drawstring book bag. To join the club, children must be registered by a parent or guardian. To register, that adult must fill out our form at wapo.st/kidspostbookclub2017 or send the child’s first and last names, age and address to KidsPost Summer Book Club, The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.