This book was chosen as one of Kalamazoo Public Library’s Global Reading Challenge titles for 2012. It is a Coretta Scott King Award winner. Brendan Buckley just completed fifth grade and he learned a lot from Mr. Hammond, his fifth grade teacher… how to do averages, notebook journaling, and rock collecting. Brendan digs rock collecting! He is a scientist and keeps a notebook of Big Questions About Life, the Universe, and Everything in It. He asks questions, no question is unimportant, and nothing in the universe is too small to ask about. The front part of his notebook is titled: “Questions” and the back section is titled: “What I found Out”. Here is a sampling of his questions:
How do they get the ripple in fudge ripple ice cream?
Do boys fart more than girls?
Is quartz the most common mineral in the earth’s crust?
Brendan and Khalfani, his best friend, practice Tae Kwon Do and try to live by the tenets of the discipline. They also hunt for rocks, er, minerals together. Brendan’s father is a detective and happens to be black, and his mother happens to be white. He is very close to his grandmother Gladys, his father’s mother, and he sorely misses his paternal grandfather who died a few months earlier. Brendan’s mother’s parents were never part of his family because they objected to their daughter’s interracial marriage. Soon after the story begins, Brendan quite unexpectedly meets his Grandfather Ed DeBose, President of a local rock club, at a rock club show at the mall. Quite naturally, any kid would be interested in finding out why his grandpa doesn’t like him. Brendan insists on meeting Ed, but his mother would be furious! Brendan wants to unearth Ed’s racism, after all, Brendan is a confident, well-adjusted kid and is very accepting of his skin color. Why won’t Ed be accepting of his only grandson and where will this new discovery lead?
Sundee T. Frazier, who is biracial, weaves a delicate story using geology as a metaphor for different skin colors. I highly recommend this book.
Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in it