Miracle's Boys (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Miracle's Boys (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

4.1 48
by Jacqueline Woodson

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Lafayette would do anything to have things back the way they used to be�back before their parents died and back before his brother Charlie changed so much. But things have changed and all he can do now is ask why.... Why did Mama have to die? Why does Charlie hate him so much? And how are the three brothers�Miracle�s boys�supposed to survive when so much seems to be… See more details below

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Lafayette would do anything to have things back the way they used to be�back before their parents died and back before his brother Charlie changed so much. But things have changed and all he can do now is ask why.... Why did Mama have to die? Why does Charlie hate him so much? And how are the three brothers�Miracle�s boys�supposed to survive when so much seems to be stacked against them?

Author Biography: Jacqueline Woodson lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Seventh-grader Lafayette fears that he will become separated from his two brothers after the death of their mother. "Viewing household tensions through Lafayette's eyes, readers will come to realize each character's internal conflicts and recognize their desperate need to cling together as a family," said PW. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) n Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Author Jacqueline Woodson's poignant novel I'd Hadn't Meant to Tell You This and its sequel Lena address child abuse; From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun tells the story of a teenage boy who must deal with his mother's coming out as lesbian; If You Come Softly addresses interracial romance. Each successive book, while issue-inspired, draws from the same lyrical, honest pool of her heart; none of these books seems clinical or forced. Woodson's most recent novel Miracle's Boys tells a contemporary urban tale of three brothers, the thirteen year old protagonist Lafayette, and his two older brothers Ty'ree and Charlie. Their father died rescuing a woman and her dog in Central Park; their mother has recently died from diabetes. The three boys are left to fend for themselves in the big city. Ty'ree the oldest and the most responsible works full time to pay the rent and take care of the entire family. Charlie, who has a knack for getting into trouble, has just gotten home from three years in a halfway house for boys, after being implicated in a robbery. Lafayette simply tries to live a normal life by going to school and hanging with this friends, but he still desperately misses his parents and the brother Charlie, whom he now calls Newcharlie, since he seems so changed from his semi-incarceration. In a novel that seems strongly cinematic (movie scouts, take notice), readers are shown the dynamic which makes this family of brothers hang together. Instead of saying the word love out loud, Lafayette and Ty'ree have a code, saying, "Brother to brother," for the unconditional love they feel for each other. Much of the novel is focused on Lafayette's sensations being the youngest child and hisruminations on why his parents had to die, why his brother Charlie has to be "bad" sometimes, why he and his brothers have to be poor. At the end of the novel, Lafayette helps turn Charlie around because he alone realizes that Charlie is carrying around, like "a monkey on his back," bad feelings of guilt and inadequacy. His simple words open the older brother's hardened heart, and in the end, readers know that while the way will be tough, this family won't crumble but will somehow endure. Unusual because it explores the feelings that boys, and specifically brothers, have for one another, Miracle's Boys has a lot of emotional resonance. Woodson's portrait of an inner-city family in a tough, contemporary world shows how much of a miracle it truly is when human beings are able to cobble together an existence with pride and all the love they can muster together, even when all the odds seem against them. 2000, Putnam, $15.99. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Stephen Fraser — The Five Owls, May/June 2000 (Vol. 14 No. 5)
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2000: This is a brief novel about three brothers, orphans, who are trying to get along without their parents. The narrator is the youngest brother, Lafayette, 12, who is furious with his next oldest brother, Charlie, who has returned from two years at a reform school bitter and angry. The two are looked after heroically by their older brother Ty'ree, who gave up a dream to go to college when their mother Milagro died. The boys are still recovering from the horror of their parents' deaths. Ty'ree eventually reveals to Lafayette how he feels responsible for the death of their father, who died of hypothermia after jumping in a freezing lake to save a lady and her dog from drowning. (Ty'ree, a small boy, had urged his father to save them.) Ty'ree is trying to comfort Laf for his guilt in not being able to keep their mother from dying when her diabetes put her in a coma. Laf was just a 9-year-old boy when this happened; he found her unconscious and he did the best he could in the emergency, but their mother died anyway. These life dramas are told well by Woodson, a fine writer, who makes the brothers quite real for her readers. In some ways, the main character is the middle brother, Charlie, who is close to being lost in a life of crime—it is his "return" emotionally to his brothers that signals the beginning of his healing and that becomes the spine of this story. The portrait of their mother that emerges from the boys' memories is one of a truly strong, loving woman, determined that her boys will be intelligent and whole. They are trying to fulfill her dreams. The cover art on the paperback is excellent. (Winner of the CorettaScott King Award.) Category: Paperback Fiction. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2000, Penguin, Puffin, 131p., $5.99. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; KLIATT SOURCE: KLIATT, March 2002 (Vol. 36, No. 2)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Jacqueline Woodson's Miracle's Boys is the story of three boys left alone after their mother's death. Lafayette, present when his mother, Miracle, died, feels like a snake with shed skin "but I hadn't grown new skin underneath...I was just blood and bones spreading all over the place." Laf's older brother Charlie has been sent to a juvenile correction center after breaking into a store and Laf thinks somebody "scooped out his heart and sent the empty bitter rind of him home." Oldest brother Ty'ree, nicknamed St. Ty'ree, has given up MIT to be their guardian, but if Charlie messes up, they'll be sent to an aunt. There is a lot of pain in this book, but Woodson delivers it like an ode, strung together from lyrical images that reach inside readers as if to remind them that there is a beauty in grief. Miracle is dead, but she's left pictures "chiseled into" her boys and won't be forgotten because "she's too deep inside of us." And in the end when they hang on to each other, the love she's created pulls them together. 2000, Putnam, Ages 11 up, $15.99. Reviewer: Susie Wilde
Children's Literature
Jacqueline Woodson's novels beautifully depict sensitive, topical issues. In her newest book, she introduces readers to three troubled brothers, struggling to cope with their mother's tragic death. Lafayette, the thirteen-year-old narrator, feels responsible for his mother's death and the impact it has had on his older brothers. His oldest brother, Ty'ree, turned down a college scholarship to work full-time to support the brothers so that social services will not separate the family. Charlie, once a loving, caring boy, has turned into a cold, hostile stranger, recently returned from a juvenile correctional facility. Lafayette struggles to handle his guilt and his increasing anger over Charlie's unpredictable behavior. The book lyrically relays Lafayette's evolving feelings, leading the reader to the surprising end. Once again, Woodson demonstrates her unique mixture of extraordinary writing and story. 2000, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Ages 11 up, $15.99. Reviewer: Rebecca Joseph
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-A compelling novel about three streetwise New York City brothers trying to help one another confront their personal demons. Thirteen-year-old Lafayette still grieves for his mother, who died of diabetes two years earlier. He blames himself for not being able to save her. Older brother Ty'ree is more mature and responsible but he, too, is tormented by the past. He witnessed his father rescue a drowning woman and later die of hypothermia before Lafayette was born, and he continues to feel guilty for not being able to help him. Lafayette and Ty'ree take comfort in school, work, and other routines of daily life to keep their lives focused and their minds off the past. All of this changes, however, when a middle brother named Charlie returns from a juvenile-detention facility where he served a three-year sentence for an armed robbery. Having this angry, sometimes hostile presence in their lives forces Lafayette and Ty'ree to depend upon one another even more to work through their grief and figure out how to help Charlie survive. As usual, Woodson's characterizations and dialogue are right on. The dynamics among the brothers are beautifully rendered. The narrative is told through dialogue and Lafayette's introspections so there is not a lot of action, but readers should find this story of tough, self-sufficient young men to be powerful and engaging.-Edward Sullivan, New York Public Library Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

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Product Details

Demco Media
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 7.25(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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