Two 10-year-old boys, both on journeys in the wake of loss, find themselves connected by a simple marble—and much more.
Zavion and his father evacuate to Baton Rouge after surviving Hurricane Katrina. Zavion, traumatized by the destruction and death he witnessed, is also heartbroken that he and his father had to steal candy bars from a local store to survive. Eventually, he is given a pair of donated blue jeans with a marble in the pocket. Henry is traveling from Vermont to New Orleans on the hunt for that very marble, accidentally given away by his mother. The marble was a magical talisman he shared with his best friend, who fell to his death as the two raced home from an overnight mountaintop adventure. In a bit of serendipity that feels like grace in this well-constructed storyline, the boys meet on the streets of New Orleans, Henry searching for his marble and Zavion returning to the market to pay for the candy bars. The two, who seem so different on the surface, come to understand all they have in common and begin to help each other confront their losses and their fears.
Elegant prose and emotional authenticity will make this title sing not only for those who have experienced tragedies, but for everyone who knows the magic that only true friendship can foster. (Historical fiction. 9-12)