Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Guest Post: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The morning after Will’s brother, Shawn, is shot and killed, Will steps onto the elevator with a gun tucked into his pants, knowing what he has to do. Will is pretty sure a guy named Riggs killed Shawn, and he is definitely sure it is his responsibility to do the same to Riggs. But on the long ride down, Will is joined by unexpected visitors in the elevator, making him question whether killing Riggs is really what he owes Shawn. Reynolds’ latest book is written in verse, using brief and powerful free verse phrasing to detail Will’s struggle with carrying out the rules that have been instilled in him his whole life. The format should work well for both independent reading and for read-alouds, as well as for a unit on free verse forms and structure. While some readers may be frustrated by the book’s ending, it (and the nature of who Will meets on the elevator) provides ample opportunity for group discussion and creative writing activities. A good choice for readers who may find Reynolds’ previous work too literary.--Vikki Terrile

Expected release date: October 17th, 2017. The text reviewed was an Advanced Readers' Copy.

Reynolds, Jason. Long Way Down. Atheneum, 2017. Print

Vikki Terrile has been a public librarian for almost twenty years and is currently the Director of Children and Teen Programs and Services for the Queens Library.  Right now, she is reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (eight pages a day, so she should be finished by New Year’s) and Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peralta.  She dreams of one day owning an alpaca farm and cat rescue.

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