Tuesday, March 24, 2020

King and the Dragon Flies by Kacen Callender - ADVISABLE

King and the Dragon Flies by Kacen Callender, 272 pages Scholastic Press, 2020. $18.

Language: G (0 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG (signs of physical abuse).



12yo Kingston is grieving the death of his older brother Khalid who was his idol, and he wants to honor his memory, but one of the last things Khalid told King, was to stay away from Sandy - Kings best friend and son of the racist Louisiana Sheriff - you see, Sandy is gay. He's not out to everyone, but lots of kids at school know. When Sandy is missing, King needs to re-assess his loyalties and help his best friend if he can. King is also confused about his own sexuality and needs time to figure that out for himself. An insightful, yet sad, middle grade novel about friendship, grief, coming out, racism, homophobia and prejudice. 

I have read several books in the last few months about families grieving over the death of a sibling or parent, this one was especially poignant. The family dynamics are beautiful; they struggle with communicating, Kings father has told him a man can't be both black and gay, King has seen what happened to Sandy both socially and privately when he came out - what is better to be true to yourself or safe? While there is a lot going on for a middle grade story, all the piece fit together nicely and it doesn't feel like too much. 

Lisa Librarian

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