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Last Stop on Market Street

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  16,133 ratings  ·  3,066 reviews
"Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ, you're a better witness for what's beautiful."

CJ begins his weekly bus journey around the city with disappointment and dissatisfaction, wondering why he and his family can't drive a car like his friends. Through energy and encouragement, CJ's nana helps him see the beauty and fun in their routine.

This beautifully illustrated,
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 8th 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (first published January 2015)
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Kristina According to the Newbery Award website, this award is given "to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.…moreAccording to the Newbery Award website, this award is given "to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." It is usually given to the author of a novel, but that is not a requirement. When we think of awards for picture books, we might think of the Caldecott Award, but that is for the illustrator.(less)
Melinda Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, it may. It be exactly the theme you're looking for, but I think it's close and a great read.…moreWalk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, it may. It be exactly the theme you're looking for, but I think it's close and a great read.(less)

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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,133 ratings  ·  3,066 reviews

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Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
So--I should be honest and say that this review isn't really about this book as much as it is about my disappointment in the Newbery committee's decision. This is a nice picture book, and it represents all of the underrepresented groups that we're all looking to see in literature for kids. It's a sweet, earnest thing. Maybe a little didactic for my taste. The book takes on a big, difficult idea. And it handles it pretty nicely. For a picture book. For four-year-olds. Up to eight, if you go by th ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kids; Parents
Recommended to Carmen by: New York Times Book Review
"Nana, how come we don't got a car?"

"Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire, and old Mr. Dennis, who always has a trick for you."

This book is about a black little boy and his grandmother who live in The City.


- A children's book with a black MC that isn't all *puts on a serious voice* "This is an important message."

- A boy and his grandmother spending time together as if this is a normal, everyday thing. That's sweet. You don't get the idea that grandma is
Things I love about this book
1) So many wonderful child friendly moments (raindrops on your nose, older kids with nicer stuff than you)
2) It is set in a diverse neighborhood and city that could be ANY city
3) It is sweet, slow and poetic
4) Vibrant, saturated Keats-like illustrations
5) An awesome grandmother - stylish, thoughtful, and full of love.
6) This would be a great book for a religious setting, since it could be seen that it is Grandmother is motivated by her faith to help other in her com
Michael Fitzgerald
Jul 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
A lame, ridiculous tale of rose-colored glasses. Look, kid, you are absolutely right. You do live in a dump. If you want to get out of there and find something better, you can. Start by not listening to the platitudes. Go out and find the truth. Hang out with people who will correct your double negatives and your "how come we don't got a car" kind of talk. Pick up some of that trash that is lying on the ground instead of just walking on by. ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A bit to didactic for my taste, but it is undeniably a great tool to encourage many conversations with your child about how diverse people are. My son was endlessly fascinated by the guy covered in tattoos.
I have indeed much enjoyed the back and forth dialogue between young CJ and his grandmother. And unlike readers who have been faulting Matt de la Pena for penning their conversations in a non standard American vernacular, as a linguist, I do much appreciate the representation of language as primarily oral and thus and yes not as universally standardised, as this does not only add both colour and authenticity to the narrative of Last Stop on Market Street, but more importantly, it also underlines ...more
La Coccinelle
Sep 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Nope. This was a definite miss for me. I can't believe it won the Newbery!

I have a feeling that much of this book's premise and intent would go right over kids' heads. Especially when it starts waxing poetic about sunsets and colours and the kid having some sort of eargasm from listening to music on the bus. He's little enough to have to hold his grandmother's hand; the sophistication of his reaction to music probably extends to, "I liked it."

I also couldn't stand Nana. She's basically a virtue-
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Beautiful. Profound. Colorful. And Alive!

This book…this book is poetry! I loved it!

Last Stop on Market Street tells the story of a little boy, CJ, and his Nana riding the bus. We meet and experience personalities, sounds, and smells right along with CJ and his grandmother. We see the world out the window, on the bus, and in the people we meet. From raindrops to music to butterflies to graffiti, CJ asks and wonders about it all as he makes his way through the city. “Why” this? and “How come” that
Lu Benke
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
It no longer surprises me when I am not excited by the books that receive the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Awards. I am not excited by Last Stop on Market Street--the 2016 Newbery Winner and Caldecott Honor book as well. The illustrations are interesting but I found them predictable. The storyline is sweet and with a great message--you don't have to be rich with money to be rich in other ways. We can use more titles that show how being poor isn't only about pain and suffering, but can be ab ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this after seeing the book featured in World magazine. Enjoyed the illustrations, the relationship between grandmother and grandson as well as the varied characters they meet on the bus. Sweet story!
In the two weeks since the ALA Awards were announced, one very special picture book has suddenly found itself showered with accolades and thrust in the center of attention. This book, which was somewhat overshadowed in the past year, received not only a Caldecott Honor, but - much to the surprise and even shock of many kid lit enthusiasts - the highly coveted 2016 Newbery Medal as well. The book to cause such a stir is Last Stop on Market Street. Written by Matt De La Pena and illustrated by Ch ...more
Dione Basseri
This book won multiple awards from the American Library Association this year, and some of them I just really don't get. Mostly it's the Newbery Medal, which has pretty much always gone to a book of at least more than 50 mostly-text pages. This is just a standard 32 page picture book, with a few lines of text per page. Not a compelling and fully-developed story like past winners, such as "The Graveyard Book" or "The Higher Power of Lucky." There's been criticism that Newbery books are too hard f ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
Tokenizing poor people, people of color, and people with disabilities is part of the problem, not the solution to a lack of diverse literature for young people. This just othered already marginalized populations and it doesn't help how painfully flat and stereotypical the characters all were too. Sad, I was so excited by all the hype... We have enough of an inspiration porn problem with adult lit, don't bring it to kid lit too.

Edit on 3/3/2021: Read it again, still h8 it. What's the message supp
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Enjoyed the bright colors and nice feeling of a young boy with his grandma, but very disappointed that it was chosen for the Newbery. This was not "distinguished" to me. I don't understand why they broke with the tradition of "chapter books"!!
The following quotes taken from the Newbery award page: "The Medal shall be awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published by an American publisher in the United States in English during
This is a newberry winning young children's book. I didn't know they covered this young literature. It is a good story with lessons in finding the beauty in simple things and being grateful for the present moment. Pretty powerful Grandmother this boy has. Give this a look ...more
donna backshall
"Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ, you're a better witness for what's beautiful."

I had literally no expectations for this book, but I'm confident it will rank among the best I'll read this year. If you need a healthy dose of appreciation for what you have, look no further than Nana's no-nonsense wisdom in Last Stop on Market Street.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Matt de la Pena is a literary genius. I pre-ordered this book because I knew it would be excellent, but the story and illustrations blew me away. CJ wonders why he doesn't have a car, and Nana reassures him that they are better off without one. They take an adventure on a bus to a soup kitchen. Nana sees the beauty in life, and her words are powerful. I highly recommend this title for all children. ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's a great picture book. However, I'm not happy it won the Newbery Award. There were so many deserving middle grade novels to choose from this year. I'm miffed. ...more
Rachel Aranda
Feb 11, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 rounded up to 4 stars

This book has a nice message about seeing the beauty in your surroundings and fellow humans while showcasing giving back to your community. It was a good talking point with kids about good deeds they’ve done to make others happy and when someone did something kind for them. The pictures are bright and eye catching so it definitely helped keep the kids’ attention that I read to in my public library. I hope to have this grandmother’s grace and quick wit too.
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I liked the life lesson in this one
I'm making it my mission to seek out all the books Christian Robinson has illustrated; I just love his use of color and light and the way he has of creating a world on the page that emphasizes the points being made by the author. That being said, I also love Matt de la Peña's story. Nana and CJ take the bus from church to serve a meal in their neighborhood soup kitchen, and as they travel, Nana encourages CJ to use his eyes and ears to celebrate the world around him: "Sometimes when you're surro ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I've been in a little bit of a reading slump and saw this cute little kids book and thought why not. It actually is quite profound and it's message I don't remember kids books being like this besides the velveteen rabbit quite sweet I like to this book. ...more
Sara the Librarian
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hearkening back to the work of the immortal Ezra Jack Keats Mr. de la Pena has painted a beautiful, gently gritty portrait of the day in the life of one young boy and his Nana in his well deserved Newberry Award winning Last Stop on Market Street.

This is a wonderful book that I read more than once with my son. de la Pena's style may be simple at first glance but the world he draws in wonderfully complex. CJ and Nana catch the local bus after school on route to a destination they know well but CJ
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Christian Robinson Fans / Readers Interested in Newbery Controversies
Unhappy that he and his Nana have to take the bus after church - why don't they have a car, he wonders? - young CJ delivers a litany of complaints, only to be answered time and again with his grandmother's wise observations about the beauty of the world around them. After a brief moment of epiphany while listening to a musician on the bus, CJ comes to himself and disembarks. He and Nana have arrived at their destination: a soup kitchen where they volunteer.

A much-discussed book, Last Stop On Mar
Kristin Linthicum
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Last Stop on Market Street is a fictional, though realistic, story about a young boy named CJ and the trip he takes every Sunday with his grandmother after church. The story tells of the many different types of people CJ meets on the bus, such as the old woman with curlers, the blind man and his dog, the young boys, and the man with the guitar. Each time CJ poses a complaint, such as the rain, the bus ride, or about his lack of music and headphones, his grandmother is able to spin the situat ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Blah. I don't really think this book makes sense. In the beginning Nana mentions the friends from the soup kitchen. They are never mentioned again until, after many pages and other interactions, including a (supposedly?) climactic musical dream sequence that has no effect on CJ whatsoever, they are once again introduced. With a pronoun. I thought I had accidentally missed a page because I had no idea to whom the "their" was referring to. Does this bug anyone else? Why did this win the Newbery?

Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have been excited to read this book simply for the fact that the cover reminded me of any Ezra Jack Keats book. I embrace that feeling of personal nostalgia that this book brought forth in me as an early reader in the 70s. The inside of the book didn't disappoint with more illustrations reminiscent of Keats...urban life, diversity, lots of color,(loved the tattooed guy on the bus), news print, etc. Kids ask a lot of questions and Matt de la Pena captures the heart of a child in the character o ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not a Newbery in my humble opinion...
Clay Davis
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed the online reading by Dolly Pardon.
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
On one hand, I am a bit of a purist when it comes to the Newbery award. My all-time professional goal is to be on the Newbery committee, and I remember checking off books on the Newbery poster in the school library when I was in 4th grade. And that's what I believe that the Newbery should be--an excellent narrative for middle grade readers. For some reason, I was much more inclined to accept a middle-grade book (The Invention of Hugo Cabret) winning the Caldecott award than I am a picture book w ...more
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My choice book 2 1 2 Nov 03, 2020 05:39PM  

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Matt de la Peña is the New York Times best-selling, Newbery-medal-winning author of six young adult novels and four picture books. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. He teaches creative writing and ...more

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