Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Summary:  CJ and his nana have a Sunday morning routine.  After church they walk to the bus stop, board the bus, and take a ride.  The book follows them on their bus ride one Sunday.  CJ wishes he didn’t have to go.  He’s envious of his friends who have cars, and who get to go home after church.  But every time he complains, his nana points out all the good parts of their day.  The rain is giving the thirsty trees a drink.  The bus breathes fire and the friendly bus driver can pull a coin out of CJ’s ear.  The dirty city just makes the rainbow in the sky seem more beautiful.  By the time they climb off the bus, CJ is glad to be going to the soup kitchen with Nana to help serve the friends who look forward to seeing them every week.

Pros:  The text is brief, but the writing is beautifully descriptive (“The outside air smelled like freedom, but it also smelled like rain, which freckled CJ’s shirt and dripped down his nose.”).  Nana is an inspiring character who gently points out the good in everything without being annoying.

Cons:  The guy with the tattoos really should give up his seat on the bus to Nana.

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