Tween Book Club – Take and Make

Tween Book Club - Tristan StrongSeptember 2021

This month we are reading Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
by Kwame Mbalia. From the publisher:

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?

Project & Materials

Explore the world of myths and folklore by taking inspiration from the stories referenced in Tristan Strong and writing your own story. Materials included are:

  • Notebook to write your own fable or story
  • Lists of similar books and additional books highlighting African and African American myths and folklore
  • Memory game to identify characters
  • Copy of book (yours to keep)


All kits have been claimed. Thank you to all who participated!