Ideas & Inspiration for Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Find this title at a library near you.

From the publisher’s website
From beloved Newbery Honor winner and three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia comes a powerful and heartfelt novel about loss, family, and love that will appeal to fans of Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander.

Clayton feels most alive when he’s with his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, and the band of Bluesmen—he can’t wait to join them, just as soon as he has a blues song of his own. But then the unthinkable happens. Cool Papa Byrd dies, and Clayton’s mother forbids Clayton from playing the blues. And Clayton knows that’s no way to live.

Armed with his grandfather’s brown porkpie hat and his harmonica, he runs away from home in search of the Bluesmen, hoping he can join them on the road. But on the journey that takes him through the New York City subways and to Washington Square Park, Clayton learns some things that surprise him.

Title-specific resources for your Book to Art Club:


  • National Book Award Finalist

  • Kirkus Best Books of 2017

  • Horn Book Best Books of 2017

  • Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017

  • School Library Journal Best Books of 2017

  • NAACP Image Awards Nominee

  • Chicago Public Library Best Books

  • Boston Globe Best Books of 2017

About the suggested projects:
Clayton Bird loves listening to and playing the blues. Make your own popsicle stick harmonica and play along to your favorite music. Create artwork that features musical influences.