Evelyn is both aghast and fascinated when a new boy comes to grade five and tells everyone his name is Queen. Queen wears shiny gym shorts and wants to organize a chess/environment club. His father plays weird loud music and has tattoos.
How will the class react? How will Evelyn?
Evelyn is an only child with a strict routine and an even stricter mother. And yet in her quiet way she notices things. She takes particular notice of this boy named Queen. The way the bullies don’t seem to faze him. The way he seems to live by his own rules. When it turns out that they take the same route home from school, Evelyn and Queen become friends, almost against Evelyn’s better judgment. She even finds Queen irritating at times. Why doesn’t he just shut up and stop attracting so much attention to himself?
Yet he is the most interesting person she has ever met. So when she receives a last-minute invitation to his birthday party, she knows she must somehow persuade her mother to let her go, even if it means ignoring the No Gifts request and shopping for what her mother considers to be an appropriate gift, appropriately wrapped with “boy” wrapping paper.
Her visit to Queen’s house opens Evelyn’s eyes to a whole new world, including an unconventional goody bag (leftover potato latkes wrapped in waxed paper and a pair of barely used red sneakers). And when it comes time for her to take something to school for Hype and Share, Evelyn suddenly looks at her chosen offering — her mother’s antique cream jug — and sees new and marvelous possibilities.
Sara Cassidy is a journalist and editor and the author of ten novels for young readers, including A Boy Named Queen. Her books have been selected for the Junior Library Guild, and she has been a finalist for the Chocolate Lily Award, the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the Diamond Willow Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award and the Silver Birch Express Award. Recently, Sara authored the picture book Helen’s Birds, illustrated by Sophie Casson. She has also won a National Magazine Award (Gold) for a piece in Today’s Parent. She lives in Victoria.
Praise for Sara Cassidy and A Boy Named Queen:
"A small, eloquent book with a powerful message." — Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
"Cassidy does a lovely job of letting the lessons of embracing individuality, confidence, acceptance, and tolerance clearly and cleverly reveal themselves in this short but punchy novel." — Quill and Quire
"This is a book of gentle nudges that could open some minds as well as some possibility for discussion." — The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Cassidy's novella is a little gem … a lovely book with which to begin the school year, not only for the message of tolerance it conveys, but also for the beautiful language in which it has been delivered. " — Canadian Children's Book News
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