Black Jack Jetty: Michael Carestio
Dealing with the loss of a parent or sibling can be more than a young child can handle. Even adults have to cope with the empty space and hollow feeling in their heart when someone so dear passes. Jack and his mom are still dealing with the death of his father who died in Afghanistan. Going to visit and get to know his father’s family is his mother’s way of helping him heal. But, Jack does not see it that way and wants to remain in Colorado and not go off to some island in New Jersey to meet a whole bunch of people he doesn’t know. As his mother shares her excitement and tells him about the many cousins, aunts and uncles he’s about to meet and the run she had riding the waves in the Atlantic, Jack’s mind drifts off in many other directions. Remembering that his father came to school with him just before leaving for his tour in Afghanistan and belonging to the Colorado National Guard, he remembers how proud he was to have his Dad with him on this special day and introducing him to his classmates and teacher explaining his career and his job to everyone. But, Jack seems caught with a feeling of guilt and feels as he states later on that if he never asked him to come along that day he might still be alive.
Black Jack Jetty: at story that will help children, young adults, teens and adults learn how to celebrate the life of someone who has passed, embrace family and live life to the fullest. From the moment he meets his family Jack feels a connection but overwhelmed. Meeting so many cousins, Aunt Jane who is amazing and keeps the family together, helps him get situated to a point. Keeping his attitude as guarded, not really wanting to be in Black Jack Jetty Jack needs to understand why his family is so happy, how that helps them mourn his father’s death and yet find a way to move ahead. Explaining Black Jack Jetty, how he got his name and the significance about Nazi Point brings things into focus for Jack and eventually he might understand. Meeting Riley, Willie, Nick and his many uncles he gets many different perspectives about his father. But, one-thing rings true is that he was special, loved and will always be in their hearts and minds forever.
Living in Colorado Jack never really had the fun experience of riding the waves and when Allie, AKA the Cellar Princess, offers to teach him wait an see what happens. Author Michael Carestio takes readers down to the ocean, the stores and allows us to enjoy Udder Delight and its great yogurt treats. The weather might be hot but the treats are refreshing and the memorabilia on the walls will bring his father and uncle’s memories to light as the author relates just how special everyone felt about them. Chapter 5 relates the entire story about Black Jack Jetty, his workshop and his greatest characters traits: honest and compassion and my favorite : curiosity which fits Jack to a T!
But, secrets are still way beneath the surface as the family talks about a hidden treasure room that Black Jack Jetty had and has yet to be uncovered. Overwhelmed but starting to feel somewhat part of this huge family in Chapter 6 we meet the family and get to know them individually. Talking about his day Aunt Jane explains helps the family deal with the loss. Talking about “someone who’s gone doesn’t mean I’m not sad.” Happy memories are great and sometimes make you sad but at other times sad needs happy. Playing sports was not Jack but finding out the answers to problems, science and computers held his attention and you can see like his father and uncle he was curious which led him to decide that maybe there was a real treasure room but maybe not where everyone thinks it is.
Chapter 8 leads to a Treasure Hunt and you won’t believe who uncovers where it might be. But, something happens during a storm that frightens Jack and he begins to yell, scream and use his father’s whistle but why? The end result you will have to read on your own and why his cousin calls him a stranger you have to figure out for yourself as you read Waves with Attitude where things change for Jack, come into perspective and hopefully will unite him with his family in a different way.
Will he ever feel he belongs in Black Jack Jetty? Will he email or texted his friends with what happened? Will he want to remain or just hope to go home? Families are precious and keeping them together when a loved one passes is the best way to help everyone deal with the loss. I would know this since losing my sister it has not been the same and sometimes families, unlike Jacks, separate, lose touch and forget that you are all still one family and go their separate ways.
A story that you can read over and over again and learn new things each time. Grief is hard to deal with but after reading this outstanding book I would recommend that young children, parents, grief counselors, church groups, teachers, adults, young adults and just about everyone read this outstanding story and resource plus the added Note to Readers at the end which provides answers to many questions we all have to deal with when it comes to losing someone we love. This is one book that has a permanent place on my bookshelf.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer