Keeping the Night Watchby Hope Anita Smith, E. B. Lewis (Illustrator)
So many unanswered questions weigh down thirteen-year-old C.J. as he struggles to understand why his father walked out. His father is back now, though C.J. is not as quick to forgive as the other members of his family. He still feels the weight of responsibility that fell on his shoulders when Daddy was gone, and he's not prepared to give that up. But C.J.'s anger
So many unanswered questions weigh down thirteen-year-old C.J. as he struggles to understand why his father walked out. His father is back now, though C.J. is not as quick to forgive as the other members of his family. He still feels the weight of responsibility that fell on his shoulders when Daddy was gone, and he's not prepared to give that up. But C.J.'s anger is making him a stranger in his own home, and instead of life seeming better now that Daddy has returned, it feels worse.
Through powerful poems, Hope Anita Smith chronicles the nuanced emotions of a family that is slowly learning to heal and put the pieces back together.
Keeping the Night Watch is a 2009 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book and a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
Gr 5-8- This book picks up where The Way a Door Closes (Holt, 2003) left off. Now that C.J.'s father, who had left the family, has returned, the teen notes that dinners are like "a roomful of strangers" and that he feels weighed down by "brick heavy" questions. Wise beyond his years, eldest son C.J. felt it was his role to "keep the night watch" during his father's absence. Now, he feels displaced in his own home and seethes with anger and resentment. Gradually, everyone starts to move on: C.J. experiences the awkward elation of first love, tries his hand at shaving, and argues and makes up with his best friend. His little sister sends love notes to each family member, and, at book's end, C.J. and his family come together: "We dance on our tears." As in the previous book, Smith masterfully brings her characters to life from the inside out in straightforward free verse. Lewis uses his brilliantly composed, watercolor-and-ink paintings to underscore the strong emotions of the text. This hopeful book celebrates the power of families to heal and overcome hard times. It will speak to the hearts of many readers.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
“* Beautiful.” Booklist, starred review
“A lovely melding of accesible beauty, hard truth, and aesthetic inspiration for young readers and budding writers.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“[An] affecting portrait of one family's rebirth.” The Horn Book
- Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.91(w) x 10.38(h) x 0.45(d)
- Age Range:
- 10 - 13 Years
Meet the Author
Hope Anita Smith is the author of The Way a Door Closes, the prequel to Keeping the Night Watch. A professional storyteller, Hope teaches poetry-writing workshops to all grade levels. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
E. B. Lewis has illustrated over 35 books for young readers, including Coming on Home Soon, for which he received a Caldecott honor, and His Talkin' About Bessie, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. He teaches illustration at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and lives in Folsom, New Jersey.
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