Cover Image: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

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Member Reviews

Very fantastical but overall a fun story with great African mythology influences. I just couldn’t finish it because it was too much fantasy for me. My students love it though
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Kwame Mbalia delivers a great story about Western African gods and heroes that will take kids on a wild ride. It doesn't stop there. This book is also filled with humor and heart. My only reason for the four stars is that for the intended age group the length of the book may be a little daunting to some readers.

Thank you NetGalley for this e-arc.
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Another great adventure in the Rick Riordan Presents line. This one focuses on both African and African-American folktales and mythology. Recommended for grades 4 & up.
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Wow. This book. There are not enough words in the English language to fully explain how excellent this book is! It is so, so good and so, so necessary. I want to hand it to every person on the planet!
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I thought this had a bit of a slow start, but was such an amazing book. I don't know many of these folktales but I definitely need to learn more! Great action, fantasy, and friendships.
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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

 Tristan Strong Punches, a Hole in the Sky penned by Kwame Mbalia, is an intriguing and enjoyable African American folklore for modern-day middle school readers. The story touches the readers' imagination, provides plenty of positive imaginary for all children but especially African American children. It paints strong strokes of color for overcoming failure to succeed.

I  think this is a must-read for all middle-grade children.
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This Rick Riordan imprint does not disappoint! It's great to see these stories of African American folklore brought to a larger audience as well.
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Mini Book Review Monday: We loved Percy Jackson, but Rick Riordan’s imprint has been hit-or-miss for us — a lot of books have felt too much like “Percy Jackson in xx mythology” and not as much like their own thing. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky is an awesome one, though — built around West African mythology and African-American folklore, it’s the story of an urban boy who accidentally breaks the world while visiting his grandparents in Alabama. Of course, then he has to go and save it, meeting all kinds of heroes (Brother Rabbit! John Henry!) and enemies and discovering his powers as a Storyteller along the way. I especially liked that Tristan is recovering from the death of his best friend, which gives him a more subtle and less stereotypically heroic view of the life-and-death decisions he has to make as a hero. And speaking of heroes, obviously I love the idea that stories are the ultimate power.
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This book is sure to be as big as any of the series that Rick Riordan wrote himself, though it did feel a bit unnecessarily forced to parallel with Riordan's mythology series in some ways. In others, it felt like a story modeled after The Neverending Story particularly with Tristan's role in the world of Midpass. In all, I really hope that this grabs the same audience as many of the other mythological fantasy series and maybe even attracts new readers to the genre. The ending certainly implies the idea of a sizable series to come. I look forward to the next entry in the series and hope that it brings back many of the characters from this first book, as they have grown on me, even Gum Baby.
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By FAR one of the strongest entries into the Rick Riordan Presents series. It's genuinely surprising that Kwame Mbalia isn't a veteran middle grade writer.
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K and I did not read this book together only because we were in the middle of book two in The Hero's of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. So I jumped on in and read it. 

I loved this book and this is one that I want to own in my school library. I really enjoyed the African  Folklore that was woven within the pages. We are introduced to Tristan who is going to stay with his grandparents to be able to heal and be okay after losing his best friend. The only thing he has left of him is a journal of stories that he cherishes until that is stolen. 

When Tristan is thrown into a magical world all he knows about folklore is a bit different. He will find himself deep in a battle to save not only his world but this magical world to keep others safe. 

He will learn who he is, he will learn to solve problems, he will learn to forgive himself. Each character within this book was unique and different. I found myself stopping at multiple times and researching where the author pulled that character from. My favorite character was Gum Baby....her snarkiness, her humor, the way she was not just going to let anyone push her around. She was perfect for me to like! 

This book is perfect! One that I highly recommend. I hope there is possibly a second book for us to read and enjoy!
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Another hit in the Rick Riordian presents imprint! It's so powerful to see this inclusive representation and have it to share with my students who will see themselves represented on this cover.
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Solid, good and interesting. But not knowing the myths and legends doesn't help. There's so much WTF to grapple with at once and I'm not interested, TBH.

I love Tristan and his family and am curious about finding things out but I don't think this journey is for me. At least not right now. I've been hitting a rough patch reading lately. This one is at least good(others not so much).

I'm here for this, I'm just tired and don't know what to read and can't get into anything and nothing is fitting right.

Shall try again later.
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I did not finish this title, though that does not reflect on the author nor the writing. I'm so pleased that African-American folklore is being given a voice, and that the Riordan name is being used to draw readers in.
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Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky was an action-packed, thrilling adventure of a book. It featured a fun cast of characters, including some famous (or infamous) legendary/mythological figures that brought the story to life and gave it a larger-than-life yet also believable vibe, along with plenty of humor. Throughout his journey, Tristan is also processing his feelings about losing his best friend and the suffocating pressures and expectations that others have projected onto him, and we see him come into himself as not only a fighter but also as a creator, a storyteller, and a hero. I can't wait to see where the sequel will take me next.
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“What if I told you that I went to war over my dead best friend’s glowing journal?

Tristan feels like a failure. For one thing, he isn’t the boxer is father wants him to be. But more importantly, his best friend Eddie died, and Tristan didn’t do anything to help him. His anger and guilt is boiling over, causing him to fight at school. So naturally, his folks decide to send Tristan to stay with his grandparents for the summer. Worse yet, his grandparents are driving him all the way to Alabama. “Sitting in an enclosed space with Granddad was like wiping your tears with sandpaper.”

Needless to say, it’s a long trip. But there’s also something really strange going on. You see, Eddie’s journal appears on the seat next to Tristan, even though Tristan was sure that he put it in his duffel bag, which is in the trunk. Stranger still, there’s something weird about the journal. “Before Eddie’s death, the cover of his brown leather journal had always been blank. Now, a weird symbol appeared to be stitched into it ...” Nana sees it and recognizes it right away. “It’s the spider’s web, an old African symbol for creativity and wisdom.”

There’s something strange about his grandparents’ farm, too. As Tristan walks around the grounds, he feels an uneasiness. Something or someone needs help. Tristan hears the words Find it in his head or does he? What is he supposed to find? Then, that night in Tristan’s bedroom, a creature appears, searching for Eddie’s journal. It says it’s name is Gum Baby, which is right out of the Anansi tales. Gum Baby is all of 10 inches tall but has the biggest mouth and the most incredibly belligerent attitude you have ever experienced. Now Gum Baby is about to lead Tristan into another place, where Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox are real and there is an evil presence trying to take over that world.

A challenging read with plenty of plot twists and high adventure. I love the voice of Gum Baby, sassy and rude. The writing it top notch! Tristan makes a journey of self discovery as well as a connection to his family’s roots.
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Incredible middle grade fantasy that not only does this tackle the difficult topic of grief, but weaves in African mythology and gives us a sympathetic and strong character to root for through all of his adventures.
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My boys loved this book! Such a great story and it’s nice to have different characters and cultures represented. We love mythology and are very well read in Greek mythology, so this was an awesome book that introduced us to different folklore and adventures. Great read!
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It's great to finally have a book similar to Percy Jackson with an African American main character. I have a lot of kids I know that will eat this book up. Great story that keeps you turning the page for more.
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This book was brilliant. The length is I think a bit long for a middle grade book but besides this I will be recommending it to every person that loves Percy Jackson.
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