The Hula-Hoopin' Queen

By Shelf Awareness

Debut author Thelma Lynne Godin introduces irrepressible Kameeka Hayes, who feels "the itch" coming on and knows that this is the day she will defeat Jamara Johnson to become "the Hula-Hoopin' Queen of 139th Street."

Vanessa Brantley-Newton (We Shall Overcome) sets the scene with an inviting urban skyline and a heroine whose kinetic energy oozes from the pages. The trouble is, Mama wants Kameeka to help prepare for Miz Adeline's birthday party. Miz Adeline is more than their next-door neighbor: "She's like my very own grandmamma," according to Kameeka. But when the double-fudge chocolate cake falls flat (the preoccupied heroine set the oven for the wrong temperature), and she has to buy sugar for another cake, Kameeka gets caught up with Jamara, and it's too late to make cake. Author and artist depict a neighborly city block where everyone knows everyone, and plant a clue to the dilemma's solution. Best of all, Kameeka's confession about the reason there's no cake sparks Miz Adeline's own "itch" to demonstrate her prowess with a hula hoop. It's contagious: soon the whole block is on the street, swirling his or her hoop. Even Miss Evelyn in "her Sunday best" takes a twirl.

This story of a tightly knit community attests to the power of tradition and the treasures to be discovered among the generations that came before.