Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Kwame Mbalia • Folktales

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself). It’s geared toward children ages 11–12 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

This guide contains the following features:

  • 4 Passages (one per week) for copywork/dictation
  • Notes about punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, and literary devices
  • 3 Grammar or Punctuation Spotlights 
  • Literary Device: Folktales
  • Writing Activity: Create your own folktale journal!
  • 9 discussion questions
  • Book Club Party Ideas
  • 48 pages
  • Publication Date: June 2021*

How does the Arrow fit into the Brave Writer complete language arts program? Learn more on our Getting Started page.

About the book 

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? –Amazon

Purchase the Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky novel here (affiliate link).



*This Arrow is a Special Issue! For more Arrows, check out the year-long Arrow program or our Literature Singles collection. 




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