I chose Last Stop on Market Street* to kick off the Peacemaker’s Book Club because as a mother I have learned (or re-learned) that children’s books can be as meaningful and insightful for adults as they are for children.
Reading with my kids at bedtime is something I have treasured doing since they were born. But in May 2020, two months into working from home and homeschooling (something I never thought I would do), that special reading time felt like a responsibility. Thankfully, Dolly Parton and her sweet YouTube series “Goodnight with Dolly” saved the day. One night a week I was allowed to become one of the kids myself and listen to the book being read to me. That is where I was introduced to Last Stop on Market Street.
I had actually learned of the author, Matt de la Peña, after hearing him interviewed about 10 years ago. He was a YA author writing stories for “reluctant readers,” stories that featured people of different races and classes. His interview stayed with me because I had not heard of other successful authors that were telling stories with these kinds of characters.
He has since gone on to write award-winning children’s books, including Love, a book that doesn’t shy away from complex topics. That’s one of the things I most admire about his work, his ability to write about delicate issues and show different perspectives. He did this beautifully in Last Stop on Market Street with Nana and CJ’s rapport.
“He wondered how his nana always found beautiful where he never thought to look.”
My (and my children’s) favorite part of the book is when a man starts playing his guitar on the bus and the blind man encourages them to close their eyes to really feel it.
“And in the darkness, the rhythm lifted CJ out of the bus, out of the busy city. He saw sunset colors swirling over crashing waves. Saw a family of hawks slicing through the sky. Saw the old woman’s butterflies dancing free in the light of the moon. CJ’s chest grew full and he was lost in the sound and the sound gave him the feeling of magic.”
Sometimes that is what it takes to feel connected to people unlike ourselves, sharing the magic of music, a poem, a story, or a dream, the way that we see it. Sometimes it takes a guide like Nana to give us perspective to see that opportunity for connection as a gift.
What makes you feel connected? Who are the guides in your life? What other books have made you see things differently? Leave a comment or send me a note!
*Peña, Matt de la, & Robinson, Christian (2017). Last Stop on Market Street. Puffin.
This is the first selection of the Peacemaker’s Book Club. I encourage you to read along with me! Next month’s book is It’s About Damn Time, How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage by Arlan Hamilton.