While we have been discussing our middle-read books a lot, it is time to switch gears and discuss our little read book for the year. This year the little read book is The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña.
Matt de la Peña is a New York Times bestselling author and the winner of the Newbery Medal for seven of his young adult books and five picture books, including The Last Stop on Market Street. He will also be visiting the lakeshore area, including Holland, Hope College, and Muskegon, during the 2022 NEA Big Read Lakeshore season.
According to Matt de la Peña, The Last Stop on Market Street is about a curious African American boy named CJ and his grandmother’s positive attitude: “Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.”
The lessons do not stop when CJ and his grandmother get off the bus. As CJ and his grandmother exit the bus, readers learn that they made this journey to go to the local soup kitchen and serve a meal as their weekly volunteer outing. They are not only productive members of the community, but they are also able to enjoy and appreciate the community they are surrounded by.
Ultimately, the NEA Big Read Lakeshore little read books are geared towards elementary-aged children. However, many of our past little read books and our current little read book can foster great discussions for elementary-aged students, middle school students, high school students, and even adults.
In the next blog post, we will discuss some of the themes that can help foster discussion for any age, but in the meantime, pick up a copy of The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and learn how to see the beauty in your community.
Written by Nancy Gately