FULL DISCLOSURE TIME: I'm a crier. Yep. A total crier. Show me a You Tube clip of a disabled dog learning to use his new prosthetic leg, fireworks choreographed to our national anthem, that episode of the Golden Girls where Blanche's daughter gives birth to her first baby and learns to love her own mother more in the process, and watch me sob uncontrollably like a wet mess. Y'all, this book made me cry, but it was such a good cry. The kind that comes with the warm, happy hopefulness I felt while reading this book.
Last Stop on Market Street follows a young boy, CJ, and his Nana on a typical Sunday afternoon after church. CJ sees the other boys his age running about and enjoying all of the material trinkets that he can't afford. He feels envious until his grandmother teaches him to see the beauty in simple things - meeting new and different people, helping those with a greater need than your own. In a world where we are so very connected with our screens, Nana urges CJ and readers to put down the istuff and engage in what is around us.
So this book makes me hopeful - hopeful for the future of children's literature where we have writers like De La Pena producing work that in engaging and entertaining to young brains but also deals with more substantial topics like poverty, civic duty, and diversity, and hopeful for the future as a whole where books like this are published, read, and enjoyed.