by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Daniel Miyares
North South Books, 2016
When I read that this book was already changing non-reader’s opinion about reading, I had to find out why. I was even more curious when I saw that Newbery Medal award winner, Kwame Alexander, wrote it. He gives voice to inside tensions, and, in a playful, appealing way, he does that with Surf’s Up.
The story opens with laid-back slang and the promise of surfing, but one character exclaims, “Not yet, Dude,” as he sits riveted to a book. His friend can’t believe a book has captured his buddy, and he drags his buddy—with his book—towards the beach. His buddy cries out his excitement as the story’s tension mounts and the friend must ask, “What happened?” As his buddy draws him into a story of whales and pirates and storms and dangers, the friend, too, becomes excited about the story. He asks how the story ends, but his buddy says, “Not telling.” Lured into the story, the friend opens the book, while his buddy surfs the waves.