cover image Yolonda's Genius

Yolonda's Genius

Carol Fenner. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $18.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80001-6

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. (May)