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Before the Ever After
“Jacqueline Woodson tackles the aftermath of concussions on a boy and his family. The only son of a pro-football player sees his dad change before his eyes, and must alter his own participation in the rough-housing team games he loves, in this middle-grade novel. It's great for 9-12 year olds, full of play action and admiration, personal growth and acceptance. Perfect for active kids and a well-narrated audio book for a short road trip, too!”Nicole,
Bookworm of Edwards
“Jacqueline Woodson’s practiced hand gracefully pens the story of a son watching his father change with the seasons. A beloved professional football player, ZJ’s dad is sidelined when he suddenly begins to experience serious neurological issues. It’s hard for ZJ to understand why his dad’s excruciating headaches won’t let up, what he’s thinking as he stares out the window for hours, how he could possibly be unable to recognize his own son. ZJ hangs onto the memory of his dad by the strings of his guitar—when they sing or rap together, it’s just like it was before the ever after. A stunning story of the consequences of an American obsession, beautifully read by Guy Lockard.”Mary,
Raven Book Store
“"Before the Ever After" is yet another beautifully poignant and heart breaking story by Jacqueline Woodson. The audio version of this books is well paced, the narrator is amazing, and this book breaks your heart while simultaneously filling it with love and compassion. Son ZJ must navigate his dad's struggle with and diagnosis of CTE before CTE was even on anyone's radar and watching old Dad become new Dad is an emotional and heart rending journey. ”Rebecca,
“Powerful story written in verse form which explores the damaging effect of football-related brain injuries on not only the players, but their families and communities. Paints an honest and difficult picture of grappling with loss and change, while also providing hope and a model of resiliency.”Tina,
Leaves Book and Tea Shop
WINNER OF THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD
WINNER OF THE CORETTA SCOTT KING AUTHOR AWARD
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson's stirring novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when their glory days have passed and the cost of professional sports on Black bodies.
Cover may vary.
For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone's hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he's as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ's house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ's mom explains it's because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that--but it doesn't make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can't remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?