Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

by Kwame Mbalia

Tristan is visiting his grandparents in Alabama when he falls into another dimension.... read more

Tristan is visiting his grandparents in Alabama when he falls into another dimension. In Alke, Brer Rabbit, John Henry, Anansi, and others from African and African American folklore and myth—stories his best friend Eddie, who recently died, loved to collect—are alive. The rise of the Maafa in their bone ships from the bottom of the sea, and the attack of fetterlings—living chains and shackles—is threatening life across Alke. Tristan just wants to get back home, but the hole he made falling through the sky is feeding the evil and he agrees to find Anansi, the weaver, to fix it. With Gum Baby—small of stature but full of confidence, and often hilarious opinions—two young women, Ayanna and Thandiwe, and Chestnutt, a young rabbit, Tristan embarks on a weaving mission of his own: get the various communities in Alke, suspicious of one another, to work together. The threats of the mythical world are aligned with the slave trade history of our own in this complex, satisfying tale driven by entertaining and resilient Black characters and plenty of action, while also exploring Tristan’s grief over the death of his best friend. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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