Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong Graphic Novel #1)

by Kwame Mbalia (Author)

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong Graphic Novel #1)
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Series: Tristan Strong

The best-selling and awarding-winning novel about a Black boy who helps folk heroes and gods through storytelling is now a dynamic graphic novel! The talented team of Robert Venditti and Olivia Stephens brings to glorious full color the novel that best-selling author Jason Reynolds called, "A brilliant action adventure rooted in African American lore."

Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he's going to spend on his grandparents' farm in Alabama, where he's being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie's notebook. Tristan chases after it--is that a doll?--and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature's hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left Black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

Find out by diving into this stunning graphic novel adaptation of the original book.

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The original’s popularity will have readers queuing up for their turn with this version, and the graphic-novel space remains in desperate need of more Black representation.

School Library Journal

Gr 4-7-Tristan Strong is living with grief and guilt because he survived a bus accident that killed his best friend, Eddie. When he is sent down to stay at his grandparents' farm in Alabama, he brings Eddie's journal along, but he doesn't realize until it's too late that this journal makes him a target. Soon Tristan meets many of the characters from his grandmother's folktales, such as Brer Rabbit, John Henry, and Anansi the spider, and he finds himself in the middle of a battle that could destroy the world. This graphic adaptation of the children's novel that began the "Tristan Strong" trilogy will have plenty of appeal for readers who are interested in African and African American characters and folklore. The illustrations pop with energy and color, and the off-kilter panels will pull readers into the surreal story. The creative reimaginings of classic folktale characters will keep readers entertained, and may also inspire them to learn more about the originals. VERDICT For fans of Rick Riordan-style mythology stories, these feature plenty of action and diverse characters.-Andrea Lipinski

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Rick Riordan Presents
Publication date
August 20, 2022
Tristan Strong

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