Last Stop on Market Street
written by Matt De La Pena; illustrated by Christian Robinson
2014 (G.P. Putnam's Sons)
Source: Orange County Public Library
CJ bounced down the church steps and felt the rain beginning to fall. He and his Nana walked to the bus stop. CJ asks why they don't have a car and Nana explained that they had a bus that breathed fire and a friend, the bus driver, who always had a trick. Sure enough, the bus driver pulled a coin from behind CJ's ear. As the bus motored on, CJ wondered why they always had to travel to the same destination after church. He looked longingly at a group of boys playing on their bikes. Nana told him that she felt sorry for people who didn't get to meet the friends who were waiting for them. During the bus ride, a blind man and a guitar player opened another sensory world for CJ as he listened to the music and closed his eyes per the blind man's instructions. The last stop on Market Street brought CJ and Nana to their Sunday destination. He marveled how Nana could find the beauty among the sights of decay. When they arrived, familiar faces waved from inside. A line of people stood outside. CJ and Nana were there to provide what Nana called a "better witness for what's beautiful."
Last Stop on Market Street is a wonderful story about two people who are making the world a better place. It's also about noticing the beauty in your life and circumstance. Nana is a terrific role model for all of us.
This would be a good book to use with a unit on community helpers. It would also be good to use if you have a celebration for Grandparents Day or working on the definitions for urban, suburban and rural.