Where Do You Stay?by Andrea Cheng
Jerome is staying with his Aunt Geneva and her family, now that his mother has passed away. Aunt Geneva does her best to make Jerome feel welcome, but it just doesn't feel like home. He misses his mother, he misses his piano, and his cousins make it clear they're not happy about the new living arrangements. Then Jerome meets Mr. Willie, who lives in a ramshackle… See more details below
Jerome is staying with his Aunt Geneva and her family, now that his mother has passed away. Aunt Geneva does her best to make Jerome feel welcome, but it just doesn't feel like home. He misses his mother, he misses his piano, and his cousins make it clear they're not happy about the new living arrangements. Then Jerome meets Mr. Willie, who lives in a ramshackle carriage house nearby. Mr. Willie isn't like other people in Jerome's life: he doesn't ask a lot of questions; he just listens. He played the piano as a boy, just like Jerome. Maybe Jerome can find a home again with Mr. Willie. But when the carriage house is slated for demolition, Mr. Willie disappears. Jerome wonders where his friend will stay, and whether he will ever find a place to call home in this Society of School Librarians International Honor Book.
" Jerome's voice convinces and moves readers without falling into sentimentality. . . . Jerome himself makes a fully realized, deeply sympathetic protagonist." --Kirkus Reviews
"A moving tribute to a multigenerational community's ability to sustain and recreate itself in times of change through resilience, hard work, and a commitment to beauty and kindness." --Publishers Weekly
"Cheng captures a child’s uneven passage from the impossible shock of losing his mother to his gradual reentry into life without her." --Booklist
From the author ofWhere the Steps Were(2008) comes this story of loss and healing through friendship, family and music. After his mother's brief illness and death from cancer, Jerome Mason, 11, is taken in by her sister's family. Their inner-city neighborhood is located across Cincinnati from Jerome's old home, and Aunt Geneva has sold the piano—central to Jerome's life with Mama and that he misses desperately—to help pay for his upbringing. Rootless and lost, Jerome first resists Aunt Geneva's caring gestures and efforts to integrate him into her family. He finds his cousins Damon, 15, mean and Monte, 10, a needy nuisance. Only Mr. Willie, the elderly man who "stays" in the carriage house of a nearby derelict mansion and does odd jobs, reaches Jerome's heart. Like Mama and Jerome, he plays the piano; as a child he took lessons at the mansion. Perhaps the piano is still there, but before they can find out, Mr. Willie disappears and the house is sold. In spare, pared-down language that makes masterful use of elision, Jerome's voice convinces and moves readers without falling into sentimentality. While the rather abrupt ending leaves unanswered questions, especially about Damon and Mr. Willie, Jerome himself makes a fully realized, deeply sympathetic protagonist.(Fiction. 8-12)
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This book is heart warming and very moving. It is a tale that shows the pain and harsh world in soft words. Jerome is trying to bear the weight of this new world he is forced to enter by keeping his mother's sprit in his heart and reminding himself of all the wise words she ever said. Quickly, he acepts his new life and makes friends and finds a place for himself, finds his heart as a caring, green thumbed, pianist known as Jerome.