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Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky

Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky

Book - 2019
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Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he's going to spend on his grandparents' farm. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up and steals Eddie's notebook. Tristan chases after it, and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to get it away from the creature, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?
Publisher: Los Angeles ; New York : Disney-Hyperion, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781368039932
1368039936
9781544447889
Characteristics: 482 pages : map ; 22 cm

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From Library Staff

Gr 5-8 - Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he's going to spend on his grandparents' farm... Read More »

Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. But when he accidentally opens a portal to a mysterious other world he finds himself in the middle of a conflict between gods, heroes, and monsters and m... Read More »

2020 King Author Honor Book

"A wonderful children's book which weaves African American folklore into a modern exciting adventure." - Lauren. Recommended for: grades 4-8, especially fans of Percy Jackson.


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b
blue_dog_49063
May 01, 2021

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky is about the wild adventure that Tristan Strong goes on. Tristan Strong has recently lost his best friend, Eddie, and is blaming himself for not trying to save him. The only thing he has left to remember Eddie is his journal, and he is holding onto it for dear life. So, when he is at his grandparent’s farm in Alabama and something tries to steal it, he follows it and tries to stop it. This leads him to a world called the Midpass, where a great battle is in progress, and they need Tristan’s help to win. Will Tristan be able to save the Midpass? Find out by reading the book. I would recommend this book to anyone 9+.

a
AMB_4
Apr 22, 2021

I've got to be honest. I'm giving the book 5 stars, with the caveat that I had a really difficult time getting into it.

The main character, Tristan Strong, starts off with feelings of letting down his grandfather in his first boxing match. I struggled to connect with Tristan's concerns about letting down his grandfather in the ring. I felt like cheering for him to quit, instead. I also had really mixed emotions about him using those boxing "skills" later on to fight -- fetterlings, animated chains and manacles, but nonetheless, every swing, every punch represented a chance that Tristan was going to get hit in the head and ...it was difficult to read, until about half way through. By then, I was finally able to "get into" the story world of African-American folklore characters, such as Gum Baby, Brer Rabbit, John Henry (wonderful to read!) and Anansi, sufficiently to enjoy the story. I had to get far enough away from the boxing link and trust the author wasn't going to KO Tristan, for literary emotional impact, for me to be able to enjoy it.

It is also quite long -- 482 pages -- which we LOVED! My daughter and I read it. We love it when publishers take chances on long stories, because once we're into a story, the worst thing is to have to leave it -- leave the characters we've come to love, the setting we've lost ourselves in, as the whole thing comes to an end in a measly 289 pages. Sometimes it hardly seems worth it. We wish they'd let ALL authors indulge their characters / stories like this!

This was overall a great read. I'm looking forward to Tristan developing his story punches in future tales.

b
blue_cheetah_12434
Feb 11, 2021

Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky is a classic mythology book written by Kwame Mbalia. Tristan has been facing tough times recently with the guilt of not being strong enough to save his friend, Eddie, in the bus accident. When he is sent to spend time on his grandparent's farm, he discovers a sticky creature that is trying to steal his only memories left of Eddi, his journal. Tristan, trying to get it away, accidentally punches a hole in the tree, landing him in a place with iron monsters, burning seas, and haunted bone ships. There, he finds out he is in the middle of a war and has to help the exhausted American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit to entice the God Anansi, the weaver, to come out of hiding. This book is full of action and adventure and keeps you interested. Also, it has a nice twist with African mythology, and it's really different from most books. I would recommend it to anyone above 12 as it is a fantastic book to read.

t
Tutu_6
Jan 27, 2021

Tristan strong is an inspiring, interesting, and adventurous book. I really loved it and enjoyed it. I can't wait to read " Tristan strong destroy the world".

i
IntrovertReader
Jan 27, 2021

Tristan Strong is mourning the death of his best friend Eddie so his parents are sending him to visit his grandparents in Alabama for a few weeks. He wakes on his first night there to find that a sticky living doll, who calls herself Gum Baby, is stealing Eddie’s writing journal. Tristan tries to catch her and retrieve the stories but instead he accidentally punches a hole in the sky of a mythical land peopled by figures from African-American folktales and mythology.

What fun!

If you look closely at the cover, you’ll notice that it says “Rick Riordan Presents.” Riordan has a small imprint at Disney that he’s using to publish stories similar to his own works but about mythologies that he’s less familiar with. I understand this to mean that he’s promoting more of an #ownvoices version of modern mythology. I applaud him for using his success to promote others!

That said, the humor and adventure in Tristan Strong are sure to appeal to readers who enjoy Percy Jackson and all of Riordan’s other books. My inner 12-year-old giggled a lot.

I was surprised by the traces of darkness in these pages though. The first thing I noticed was Eddie’s death. So many kids do struggle with losing friends their age, it has to be good for them to read about characters who are also dealing with grief. This world’s monsters broke my heart but they might not be as noticeable to younger readers. Viewed through the lens of slavery, brand flies that rob you of your will, fetterlings (and the bigger bosslings) that chain you, and hullbeasts that trap branded and bound people and spread death and disease are terrifying and so much more than they appear to be on the surface. Well done, Mr. Mbalia.

I will never claim to know much about African mythology or African-American legends, but even I recognized a lot of these characters. Anansi, Brer Rabbit, John Henry, and more make larger-than-life appearances here.

Amir Abdullah’s narration was fabulous.

For humor, adventure, and an introduction to mythologies that are under-represented, I highly recommend this. It’s a fun story with a lot of heart.

RandomLibrarian Jun 13, 2020

This book is great for fans of Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson" series - it's promoted under Riordan's "Presents" line. The main character is a Black boy and the mythology is based upon aspects of West African and African American culture and beliefs.

CCPL_Teens Apr 09, 2020

Action, adventure, humor, mythology, a hero's quest, and an absolutely hilarious sidekick! Featuring characters from African American folklore and African mythology, this fantasy series-opener is not-to-be-missed for Rick Riordan fans and even better as an audiobook narrated by Amir Abdullah who delivers an unforgettable performance of Gum Baby. SAP ATTACK!

JCLTamiT Mar 21, 2020

Nerdy kid gets caught up in a world of myths and folklore centered around stories and storytellers -- I had to read this book! Though I only had a little knowledge of the African and African-American folktales and mythology in the book, the action-packed story kept me turning the pages and wanting to explore the land of Alke. Gum Baby was fantastically annoying, and in the end, completely endearing. I would definitely read this again (maybe after brushing up on the legendary characters), and look forward to future books in the series. Recommended for fans of Rick Riordan books and lovers of middle grade fantasy.

l
leawells
Jan 25, 2020

Sounds wonderful. I’ve placed a hold!

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jan 21, 2020

Fans of reading lengthy action sequences will rate this book higher than I did. What I loved about this one: the way in which the power of story was used in the magic...and the way that the West African and African American folk tales were interwoven.

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violet_gorilla_79
Oct 07, 2020

"What's Gum Baby doing here? Being insulted. How dare you leave on a mission without Gum Baby! That's like leaving the sand out of a sandwich. Or toes out of tomatoes. Or-" - Gum Baby

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