Brendan Buckley's Guide to the Universe by Sundee Frazier has been a book I have recommended to students for a few years. I feel like some of my students could really relate to Brendan, who has a white mother and African American father. Brendan's mom has no relationship with her parents because of her decision to marry a colored person, and although Brendan doesn't really know any different, there is a relationship with his maternal grandparents that he is missing out on.
Although Frazier never meant to write a sequel to this novel, Brendan Buckley is back in Brendan Buckley's Sixth Grade Experiment. In this novel, due out in January, Brendan meets a girl who is just as interested in science as he is.The two team up to enter a science competition and find a very smelly idea to explore. Although Frazier did resolve some of the issues with Brendan's maternal grandparents in the first book, this installment has Brendan wondering if he and his father can ever have a close relationship. He feels as though his dad doesn't "get" him and the two clash about a variety of things. And, Brendan is growing up. As a sixth grader he is a bit more mature than he was in the first book and starting to think about girls.
I like Brendan as a male role model, and I feel like he is a great character for my boy readers who enjoy school and are more academically inclined. Brendan is a boy much like them.
Frazier included a lot of scientific information she wanted to highlight at book's end. Since Brendan is a scientist, I am sure that Frazier either enjoys the subject herself, and/or also did a great deal of research for this novel.
While Frazier initially stated that she had never planned to write a sequel about Brendan, I am glad she has, and would be happy if future novels about this intelligent boy were to be written.