A teenage boy awakes from a deep sleep to find himself at Penn Station in New York City, with no memory of who he is, or where he came from. His only possession is a book at his side: Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. He decides to take the name Henry David, shortened to “Hank” by Jack, a street kid who befriends him. Shortly after they meet, Jack and Hank are involved in a crime with a kid-exploiting criminal called Magpie. Afraid to approach the authorities for help, Hank flees to Concord, Massachusetts, hoping that Walden–both the book and the location–will offer clues to his identity. That first night, Hank sleeps outdoors at the site of Thoreau’s cabin, then seeks shelter in the local high school and the public library. A tattooed, motorcycle-riding librarian/Thoreau historian named Thomas takes Hank under his wing, and guides him on the painful path to discovering his true identity. When Hank can run no further from the truth, will he confront the tragedy of his life or seek the ultimate escape?
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AWARDS, REVIEWS AND NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS FOR BEING HENRY DAVID:Awards/Recognition:– 2014 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People – Grades 7-12– Bank Street College of Education – Best Children’s Books of the Year – 2014 Edition– Best Teen Books of 2013, Kirkus Reviews– Illinois Reads 2014 – Under the auspices of the Illinois Reading Council, ILLINOISREADS is a yearly statewide project to promote reading for all Illinois citizens. BHDwas one of 36 books chosen, one of six Young Adult titles.Social Media Recognition:– BuzzFeed (Jun. 24, 2014) – 15 YA Books That You Haven’t Read (ButTotally Should)– BuzzFeed (Dec. 26, 2013) – The 21 Best YA Books of 2013– Mashable (Dec. 18, 2013) – 11 Best YA Books of 2013– Sparklife (Nov 20, 2012) – 17 Upcoming YA Novels to Get Excited AboutSelected Reviews:The Boston Globe – “Cal Armistead’s story of Hank is not only an English teacher’sdream, (if “Walden” is on your required reading list, this makes a nice companion piece), it’s also a clever look at identity and who we are without our baggage.”Kirkus Starred Review – “This compelling, suspenseful debut, a tough-love riff on guilt, forgiveness and redemption, asks hard questions to which there are no easy answers.”The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books – Recommendation – “Even those with Little interest in Thoreau will find this a solid psychological mystery about a teen who’s made a mistake that he can’t keep running from.”VOYA – “Believable and nicely crafted, this story has much to recommend it. Pacing and Suspense are just right as the mystery of Hank’s identity begins to unravel and he faces the terrible event that stole his memory.”School Library Journal – “Introspective high schoolers will appreciate this enigmaticcoming-of-age story.”Publishers Weekly Online – “. . .Hank’s personal tragedies are touching, as are hisinteractions with everyone from street kids Jack and Nessa to the more sedate citizens of Concord. His quests for answers and redemption should easily engage readers.”School Curriculum Partnerships:
A large number of junior high and high schools across the country have added Being Henry David to their curriculums, as all-school, all-grade, all-class reads, and to supplement units on Thoreau, Walden and the transcendentalists.Teachers have also identified BHD as being a good choice for reluctant readers and male readers.