Fifth grader Yolonda determines to prove that her younger brother is not a slow learner but a true musical genius in this Newberry Honor Book from Carol Fenner.
Yolanda is smart, tough, and big for her age. Back in Chicago where they used to live, everyone knew better than to mess with her or her little brother, Andrew. Andrew doesn’t talk very much and he can’t read, but he can create unbelievable music on the old harmonica their father left him.
When Yolanda reads the definition of “genius” in the dictionary, she knows it describes Andrew, and she’s determined to convince the world, especially their mother, of Andrew’s gift. Then one day when Yolanda’s back is turned, the unthinkable happens, and the music stops. Now Yolanda’s mission is more important than ever. How can she open people’s eyes to Andrew’s talent and help him find the music again?
When their widowed mother decides that Chicago is no place to raise 11-year-old Yolonda and six-year-old Andrew, the African American family moves to a Michigan suburb. If Yolonda's adjustment is difficult, her schoolwork is still outstanding; her teachers' reactions prompt her to see if she matches the dictionary definition of a genius. This little exercise yields a startling realization-musically gifted Andrew may be having trouble in school, but he could be a real genius. Yolonda is determined to have her brother's ability acknowledged, and it ultimately is-by legendary blues artist B.B. King. Fenner's (Randall's Wall) pace is sometimes too leisurely, but her heartwarming story merits acclaim for its fresh premise and forceful characterizations. Ages 9-up.