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Miracle's Boys
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Miracle's Boys
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From a three-time Newbery Honor author, a novel that was awarded the 2001 Coretta Scott King award and the Los Angeles Times Book PrizeFor Lafayette and his brothers, the challenges of growing up in...
From a three-time Newbery Honor author, a novel that was awarded the 2001 Coretta Scott King award and the Los Angeles Times Book PrizeFor Lafayette and his brothers, the challenges of growing up in...
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  • From a three-time Newbery Honor author, a novel that was awarded the 2001 Coretta Scott King award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

    For Lafayette and his brothers, the challenges of growing up in New York City are compounded by the facts that they've lost their parents and it's up to eldest brother Ty'ree to support the boys, and middle brother Charlie has just returned home from a correctional facility.

    Lafayette loves his brothers and would do anything if they could face the world as a team. But even though Ty'ree cares, he's just so busy with work and responsibility. And Charlie's changed so much that his former affection for his little brother has turned to open hostility.

    Now, as Lafayette approaches 13, he needs the guidance and answers only his brothers can give him. The events of one dramatic weekend force the boys to make the choice to be there for each other—to really see each other—or to give in to the pain and problems of every day.

 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter One "Brothers is the baddest. Then comes Dominicans. Dominicans don't mess around. I'm cool with Dominicans though. They don't mess with me, I don't mess with them.
    I lay back on my bed and listened to my brother Newcharlie talking. We had shared this room since the day I was born. And I swear since the day I was born, he'd been going on about who was the baddest. Used to be Puerto Ricans were the second baddest, but somewhere along the road their status dropped. Brothers were always at the top or the next ones down.
    Newcharlie wasn't talking to me. Since he'd gotten home from Rahway Home for Boys a few months ago, he never talked to me. He was combing his hair and talking to Aaron. They'd known each other forever to say "W's up" and stuff, but they didn't start hanging till Newcharlie came home from Rahway. Seems once Newcharlie saw the inside of Rahway, most of the guys around here who cut school, hung out real late, and got into all kinds of stuff thought he was some kind of wonderful. Aaron acted like he wanted to kiss the heels of Newcharlie's shoes, hanging on to Newcharlie's words like they were something special. And Newcharlie was just as stupid over Aaron. Hanging out with him like Aaron was his brother. Like Aaron was me.
    Newcharlie and Aaron were the same height and walked the same way, and now they had the same meanness. Aaron's meanness had always been around him. Even when we were small, we'd walk past him and he'd say something negative. Like when Mama used to make us go to church on Sundays. We'd be all dressed up walking to the bus stop, and Aaron'd say something like "Mama's church boys going to meet their maker." Or the time our big brother, Ty'ree, stopped him from snatching this little kid's Halloween bag. Aaron didn't take the bag, but he kept glaring over his shoulder as me and Ty'ree and the kid walked away, saying, "That's all right, church boy. That's all right." Like he had something waiting for us later on. Newcharlie's meanness was as new as his name. He'd come back from Rahway with it, and the way he and Aaron hung so tight, you'd think he didn't remember those days when we crossed to the other side of the street when we saw Aaron and his boys hanging out.
    I watched Newcharlie part his hair on the side and comb it one way, then shake his head, part it on the other, and pull the comb through it again. His hair's curly, like our mama's was?jet-black curls that girls go crazy for. He's three years older than me but only a little bit taller, and at the rate he was going schoolwise, come this time next year, I'd be almost caught up with him. I'd just started seventh grade and Newcharlie was repeating ninth, but he didn't seem to care one way or the other.
    The old Charlie would have cared about me catching up to him. He would have sat down at the dining-room table and crammed, because he would have been embarrassed about me being in almost the same grade as him. See, the old Charlie had feelings. If Charlie saw a stray cat or dog, he'd start crying. Not out-and-out bawling, but he'd just see it and start tearing up.
    Sometimes, when we were out walking, he'd turn away real fast and I'd know it was because he saw the shadow of some stray animal and was wishing it wasn't out in the cold. Once he told me that some nights he lay in bed just praying for all the stray animals out there. There's a lot of them, you know, Charlie said. And probably not a whole lot of people praying for them. He told me about St. Francis of Assisi, how he was the guy who looked out for all the animals. He said him and St. Francis were the only two asking God to help those animals walking the cold streets not...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 3, 2001
    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.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 10, 2001
    Currently riding high with a role in TV's The West Wing, actor Hill's hip reputation and powerful performance here are a perfect match for Woodson's affecting novel about three orphaned African-American brothers struggling to stay together and survive on their own in contemporary New York City. Hill narrates as sensitive, 13-year-old Lafayette, youngest of the three siblings, who is trying to cope with the stresses that often overwhelm him. He's still haunted by the memories of finding his mother Milagro, or Miracle, dead from illness, and confused by the evil actions of middle brother Charlie, recently released from a juvenile detention center. As a stabilizing, caring force, oldest brother Ty'ree works hard to hold the family together in the face of great personal sacrifice. Woodson's realistic situations and dialogue are given even more resonance via Hill's comfortable delivery. And her message of love and hope winning out shines through loud and clear when Hill rises to the emotional, but never sappy, conclusion. Ages 10-14.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 24, 2000
    Once again, Woodson (If You Come Softly; From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun) reveals a keen understanding of the adolescent psyche via the narration of a winning seventh-grader. Lafayette, whose mother has recently died, is worried that some day he will be separated from his two older brothers: high-school-graduate Ty'ree, who gave up a scholarship to MIT to take care of his younger siblings; and Charlie, the rebellious middle boy, who, after spending more than two years in a correctional facility, has returned home cold and tough. (Lafayette calls him "Newcharlie," because his brother, with whom he was once so close, now seems unrecognizable to him.) Viewing household tensions and hardships 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. The boys' loyalties to one another are tested during a cathartic climax, though it is resolved a bit too easily, and Lafayette's visions of his mother aren't fully developed or integrated into the plot. Gang violence and urban poverty play an integral part in this novel, but what readers will remember most is the brothers' deep-rooted affection for one another. An intelligently wrought, thought-provoking story. Ages 10-up.

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