cover image MIRACLE'S BOYS


Jacqueline Woodson, , read by Dule Hill. . Listening Library, $18 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8072-0437-5

Currently riding high with a role in TV's The West Wing, actor Hill's hip reputation and powerful performance here are a perfect match for Woodson's affecting novel about three orphaned African-American brothers struggling to stay together and survive on their own in contemporary New York City. Hill narrates as sensitive, 13-year-old Lafayette, youngest of the three siblings, who is trying to cope with the stresses that often overwhelm him. He's still haunted by the memories of finding his mother Milagro, or Miracle, dead from illness, and confused by the evil actions of middle brother Charlie, recently released from a juvenile detention center. As a stabilizing, caring force, oldest brother Ty'ree works hard to hold the family together in the face of great personal sacrifice. Woodson's realistic situations and dialogue are given even more resonance via Hill's comfortable delivery. And her message of love and hope winning out shines through loud and clear when Hill rises to the emotional, but never sappy, conclusion. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)