Last stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena; illustrated by Christian Robinson (2015)

[Published by P.G Putnam’s Sons]

last stopMarket Street and I have a slightly strained relationship, entirely of my own making. I stopped briefly in San Francisco last year on my way from New Zealand to Las Vegas. It seemed like a great idea to catch up with a friend who lives there rather than sit at the airport. It wasn’t a great idea, it was a terrible idea. I won’t go into boring detail, but let’s just say dodgy internet, my terrible sense of direction and slightly vague plans, had me dashing all over Market Street in a mad panic, certain I was going to miss my connecting flight. So thank you lovely picture book for allowing me to put this crazy memory to rest. Market Street and I can be friends again.

CJ and his grandma hop on a bus after church. CJ is less than enthusiastic about both the journey and the destination, “Nana, how come we don’t got a car?” “Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire, and old Mr. Dennis, who always has a trick for you.”IMG_1509

CJ’s grandma is a legend, she has such wonderful answers to all his questions, and eventually he sees this too, “CJ saw the perfect rainbow arcing over their soup kitchen. He wondered how his nana always found beautiful where he never even thought to look.” As they finally enter the soup kitchen ready to work, CJ announces, “I’m glad we came.”

I’ve hardly scratched the surface of this powerful book, I haven’t even mentioned the beautiful poetic language or the evocative illustrations. As always I’m flying from one thing to the next with no chance to stop and smell the roses. CJ’s grandma has a lot to teach me! I’m adding this to my “must take to school” pile so I get a chance to really explore some of the ideas shared in Last stop… with an audience of kids.

Check out Last stop on Market Street at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Last stop on Market Street from Fishpond.


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