“Amidst all the pain intertwined with beauty, Driew finds his voice and place.”—Edith Wairimu, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Edith Wairimu for Readers’ Favorite

In the fascinating Kentucky Outback, Driew Qweepie’s world is filled with beauty, tranquility, and incredible ways of experiencing nature. Surrounded by his loyal mates, Cain, Able, and Gulia, Driew gets the opportunity to grow and discover his wild side. With incredible strength, agility, optimism, and charisma, Driew can withstand everything in his life, even the cruelty of Gayle and Payne, his older siblings, except for the heart-breaking condition of his mother, Nieve. The family tries to hold it together, especially Marq, Driew’s father, but even fortitude sometimes has limits. Amidst all the pain intertwined with beauty, Driew finds his voice and place. Remarkably, nature seems to listen to his voice too through his sing-song. G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams is a brilliant fusion of real life, amazing culture, and an incredible wild setting.

Every moment contained in G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams seems to be magical. The book is set in beautiful scenery which adds to the depth and uniqueness of the story. M.W. Adams does a great job presenting a story filled with simple yet breathtaking moments while still presenting Driew’s real-life situations. The youthful Driew is also very relatable and likable. With his kind, hardworking, and witty nature, he is a powerful key character. Overall, G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams is a rewarding and inspiring story. It helped me appreciate beauty and virtue even in the presence of distress. It is the kind of book that sticks with you long after you have read it. Reading it also helped me relive my youthful days and cherish the wonderful—even though simple—moments which surround me.

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“Beautifully written and well worth reading even more than once.”—Melinda Hill, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Melinda Hill for Readers’ Favorite

The youngest of five siblings, Driew feels like he doesn’t fit into his family in this coming of age story, G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams. Now with his mother failing quickly from her Caddywompus, a brain tumor, Driew has lots of feelings and emotions to process while he deals with his sinister and bother (sister and brother) who resent him for being born and go out of their way to make his life difficult. Driew’s best friend is the girl next door, Gulia, who is from Australia. She shares her experiences with the Outback and native traditions, and Adams blends them with small-town life and Dawson Springs history and lore to help Driew find his path. As a result of some special powers, Driew has a connection to nature that is extraordinary; he can ‘sing song’ natural items to make them move or even provide him with light. This phenomenon, along with Driew’s ability to see the Magic Man, convinces Gulia that he needs to take off on a Walkabout, a traditional aboriginal quest to find oneself.

G’DAY: Aints comes directly from the soul of Mark Wayne Adams and connects us all through his characters into the greater world around us. The story represents a beautiful acceptance of life, family, things we can’t control, and, most of all, the ability each of us has within to come to terms with the ups and downs of life. While some characters take longer to evolve than others, just as in real life, the process is shown to be difficult yet fulfilling as Driew tries really hard to accept his siblings and other relatives for who they are—looking at things from their perspective. Beautifully written and well worth reading even more than once for its deep insights and loving advice, G’DAY: Aints works as a stand-alone story even though it is the fifth in the Family Tree series of novels by Mark Wayne Adams. Just like a song line from the Outback, you can pick it up here or there and still appreciate the unique gift within.

“…fascinating and intriguing characters and a thread of humor runs through the plot.”—Mamta Madhavan, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

Set against the backdrop of Outback Australia, G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams takes readers along with Driew to explore life events and myriad chaotic journeys as he takes them through his story. Driew has secretly vowed to leave the Outback family and wants to heal his family relationships. His mother Nieve’s time is limited because the doctor cannot operate to remove the tumor resting upon her brain. Their home phone rang nonstop ever since Nieve collapsed in the town square. As the book progresses, readers get to see Driew’s progression from boyhood to manhood, and a move from Australia’s Outback to rural western Kentucky, an aint who helps him discover his past and find himself, and Gulia who encourages him to take control over his story and embrace the Magic Man’s purpose.

The story is adventurous and educational to a certain extent as it speaks about fun facts in the Outback and Dawson Springs, Kentucky. It is entertaining not only because of its story line, but also because of the interesting and informative facts the author has woven into it. The many layers in the plot make it a compelling read and readers are introduced to American, Australian, and Qweepie vernacular. Family bonding, the adventurous Outback world, and the Qweepie family moments make the book real and memorable to readers. The story line and the characters are fascinating and intriguing and a thread of humor runs through the plot and characters, making them tangible to readers. The story also stresses the importance of family, roots, and home, which sums up the daily lives of most readers.

“…leads a young man on a journey to become the man he was destined to be.”—Kathryn Bennett, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Kathryn Bennett for Readers’ Favorite

G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams introduces us to Driew and the adventures he finds himself in within the Australian outback. G’day might be the way to say hello in Australia, but for Driew it causes torment in the form of the Qweepie twins and oh so much more. When the girl next door gets involved, things become even more complex for Driew and, in the end, he must make the choice of exploring a love that is starting to blossom and going on a walkabout that traditionally leads a young man on a journey to become the man he was destined to be.

This book stood out to me as something that would be different and interesting to read when I looked at the description. I am happy to say I was right about that in many ways and, in other ways, it is a traditional coming of age story, making this book a great blend of familiar and unfamiliar. Once I got around some of the slang terms, I really got into the book and enjoyed the adventures. I have always been interested in the idea of a walkabout and the mysterious ways of the Aboriginal people of Australia. I feel that author Mark Wayne Adams has given us a peek inside of that mysterious world through the eyes of Driew in this book, and I love that! I don’t want to give away too much of the journey that Driew must take. Like so many of us, choosing between new love or a harder path that we aren’t sure where it will lead, this read is a solid, enjoyable one. It might be a YA story, but as an adult I enjoyed it and I know others will too. It is well written and has a flow to the story that is enjoyable. I didn’t like setting this one down to go and do adult things; I just wanted to read it straight through.

AR Reading Quiz for “G’DAY: Aints”

AR Reading Quiz for G’DAY: Aints

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1. Who are Driew’s tormentors in Moment One?

2. Which character is Driew’s “uncool” in this book?

3. Where did Driew learn Ida Mae’s fruit tree had grown?

4. What does Marq use as a trade for Jameson Junior’s mule, Kate?

5. What gift does Gulia receive from Momu?

6. What business does Chi and Mac start in Dawson Springs?

7. What event caused Nieve and Marq to leave their Florida home?

8. Which found object does Driew’s Magic Man use for the doll’s eyes?

9. What missing object did Killiope return to Driew at Nieve’s wake?

10. How does Gayle receive the money for her braces?

 

READING QUIZ KEY

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“G’DAY is a truly breathtaking story with a unique style.”—Liz Konkel, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite

G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams is a stunning coming of age journey following the life of Driew Qweepie. Driew’s life was fairly ordinary, dealing with bullies, siblings that don’t seem to want him around, and growing up. When his mom is diagnosed with a brain tumor, his life is flipped around and it seems like his siblings are keeping secrets from him. His best friends and his Tasmanian Tiger named Dingo are always there when he needs them. He finds solace in the woods and his tree house, using them to bask in the safety net of his childhood. His family doesn’t mention those they’ve lost. He’s never known the names of his grandparents or deceased relatives, but when he finds a family memoir he uncovers surprising family secrets. Gulia is his charming and brazen neighbor who convinces him to follow where the Magic Man leads, on a journey to find the Outback, an Australian song line. The more he learns about his family, the more he finds out about himself and discovers a connection to Gulia that he doesn’t expect.

The structure of G’DAY is an intriguing one that is broken into moments with every moment serving a purpose. Mark Wayne Adams delivers spectacular details with descriptions like “wrecking ball personality” and larger than life characters. Adams has a quirky style that gives a playful quality and a certain lightness to the story. G’DAY has many layers, a story of family, bullying, loss, growing up, friendship, and first love. Driew feels like an outsider with his siblings, but he finds comfort in the relationships he has with his friends and the bond he has with his Tasmanian Tiger. He also finds solace in the country, in books, and in words. He seems to find magic in every aspect of his life, which gives a beauty to Driew’s world.

Driew has a complicated relationship with his family as his siblings often seem to shield him from anything bad while also taking some of their pain out on him. His mother’s health slowly degrades throughout due to a brain tumor and this greatly affects the entire family. G’DAY puts a great deal of focus on childhood and the carefree magic that comes with it, referencing acclaimed novels The Outsiders, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Peter Pan. Driew finds himself captivated by the wonders of the woods, which is where the Magic Man and Australian lore ties into the story. The wonder of it all will pull you into his world. G’DAY is a truly breathtaking story with a unique style, quirky language that finds the magic in words, the memory of the past, and the struggle of life and death.

Reading Group Guide for “G’DAY: Aints”

Reading Group Guide for G’DAY: Aints

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1. G’Day is defined as “hello.” How does the author parallel the book, G’Day: Aints, to the greeting “hello?”

2. Does “G’Day” appear to be a friendlier greeting than “hello” for the children?

3. Have you or someone you known ever suffered through the loss of a loved one? What action(s) did you observe at each stage of grief?

4. How does the loss of one person in your community affect relationships, finances, and businesses?

5. Are field trips and writing about local landmarks important to school age children to better understand their community and their roles for its future?

6. What are Driew’s perceptions of his little sinister, Gayle, and could she have been perceived differently if Driew had understood her sooner?

7. In what way(s) did Gayle’s friendship with Snow force Driew to grow? Is there a defining moment in Driew’s maturation?

8. How does Driew’s adopting the word “oldies” to replace the word “parents” influence your view of Driew’s parents? At what age did you see your parents as old and why?

9. How do you think Gayle would have handled being the youngest Qweepie sibling? What are some ways the youngest boy might be treated that the youngest girl wouldn’t be?

10. What action stops Gayle’s aggression toward Driew in moment nineteen? Do you have love line boundaries drawn in your own family relationship?

11. How does Gayle’s stealing influence Driew’s relationship with her, Snow, and Nadia? How might their relationship be different if she had been open sooner?

12. What role does Marq’s dependence on substance affect Driew’s family?

13. What role does “Aint” Nadia Eli play in Driew’s story? How does she influence Driew’s perspective of character traits?

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G’DAY: Moment 1

This complimentary excerpt from G’DAY: Aints. Read the The Magic Man and Family Roots also.

—•—

MOMENT ONE

COFFIN

Driew had never known anyone to die, and he wouldn’t let today be that day.

Driew fought! Bound and gagged inside the suffocating supply box, his sing-song voice now restrained by his bindings remained unable to save him. Driew feverishly peeked through the cracks of his locked wooden coffin of doom. His eyes burned with pain from the sliver of sunlight upon the horizon.

His Tasmanian Tiger joey, squealed from the tormenting blows of two masked teens. Dingo hung from the rusty wire clothesline bagged like a papoose in a sinister’s dress—Gayle’s. With two wooden baccastix, the teens walloped Dingo like a celebratory piñata.

Disguised in a black hooded sweatshirt, the boy tormentor commanded the girl, “Let’s take the mongrel to the river.”

“You never mentioned drownin’ it,” the girl tormentor said, wearing a matching disguise.

“If it swims, it won’t drown. If it drowns, then it would’ve died sooner or later,” the boy said.

Fraught with urgency, Driew wriggled against his painful confines.

“I’ve never seen claws on a dog before. I’m not touchin’ it,” the girl said.

“We’ll use this stick for totin’ the mongrel down to the river,” he said, handing the girl a wooden baccastix, normally used for firing dark tobacco.

Driew rubbed his cheek against the wooden floor, snagging the gag cloth on a splintered board. Nostrils flaring in anger, he peered through the cracks of the box as Dingo slid off the clothesline onto the baccastix carrying pole.

Driew pressed hard against the splintered board, grimacing as it pierced his cheek. With a fitful yank, the gag ripped but remained cinched.

The tormentors dragged Dingo to the supply box where Driew struggled. The boy tormentor kicked the box near Driew’s head. The forceful kick cracked the board against Driew’s temple. He winced, knocking back urges to cry out his pain. The bully stole Driew’s happiness but he wouldn’t find satisfaction in Driew’s pain.

Dingo’s marsupial cries subsided into low, fearful whimpers. He, like Driew, sensed potential danger.

“There’s no family crueler than ours,” the boy said.

This all too familiar phrase Driew learned and understood bloody quick. He pulled at the slobbery gag a third time, freeing his clenched jaw. Inhaling a much needed breath, he was able to sing-song, bellowing to the baccastix supporting Dingo.

The baccastix ignited, engulfing stick and dress with teal blue flames. Startled by the sudden fire, the tormentors dropped the flaming stick and cargo onto the unforgiving soil.

Ripping through the dress with his cat-like claws, Dingo escaped, scurrying to a nearby tree for safety.

“You’re full of bad ideas! The dog is loose and mad!” The girl yelled as she ran from the flaming baccastix out of Driew’s sight.

“Come back you big sissy. We’re not done with him!” The boy hollered, chasing behind the girl.

Driew rolled onto his back and sighed, “As always, left like a magician to free myself.”

Lured by his curiosity to the opened yard supply box, Driew had spent nearly an hour locked away in solitary confinement. While peering into the box, his twin tormentors wrangled him like a rodeo calf, locking him inside.

When faced with difficult situations, Driew sought out his own solutions to problems. This meant not asking others to do something he wouldn’t. He calmed himself rather than bellyaching and calling for help.

His oldest sister and brother, Killiope and Pester, both graduated and moved away. Killiope served in the US military, and Pester played college lacrosse. Their absence offered no comfort as Driew’s twin siblings sealed his little bother fate on the farm.

Driew lay staring through the darkness of the confining coffin, focusing on the wooden box lid.

“Torments must be what the last born deserves,” he said to himself.

Sing-song, a spooking voice called from the familiar spook, finding Driew once again in despair.

Hopeful his sing-song controlled this wooden box as it had many other wooden objects on the farm like the baccastix, Driew sang. The supply box lid rattled against the lock outside. Driew turned his song’s focus toward the end of the box at his feet and sang his sing-song intently. The end fell open and a joyful tiger-striped flash bounded into the box over his feet and onto his chest. Dingo’s joyous licks showed Driew his parents weren’t the only ones who loved him unconditionally.

Shuffling feet first from the box, Driew scooted outside in the sunlight’s freedom.

“I must be a magic man to escape their box of doom.”

—•—

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Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

G’DAY: Family Roots

This complimentary excerpt from G’DAY: Aints. Read the The Magic Man and Moment One also.

—•—

FAMILY ROOTS

“Until you learn to speak their language, you can’t understand family!”

—M. W. Adams

Driew Qweepie’s siblings spoke individual languages, forcing him to struggle when communicating with his siblings, affectionately called bothers and sinisters. Languages like German, Spanish, or Greek he could have studied and learned. But his bothers and sinisters’ unique love languages proved a more challenging endeavor. Upon arrival at the family farm, Driew began discovering each individual’s language through mind-blowing family trials.

Since infancy, Driew’s serving heart grew to appreciate family values and traditions. Maturing meant comprehending new dynamics like hierarchy among bothers and sinisters. Evicting each of his siblings from his mind seemed a bloody good solution to the problems they instigated. But erasing unforgettable family moments from his heart proved to be the ultimate obstacle.

Hoping to release heartbreaking moments from his life, he wrote them upon the branches of the Outback tree, lovingly named Rebecca, by him and his Australian mate, Gulia. Driew hoped the words of his story would remain hidden under the tree’s protective bark. But spoken and written words are difficult to hide once they have been released. With Gulia’s persistence, the stories of Driew’s past slowly unraveled, changing his family relationships.

Now, “love” and “family” are two of his prize words with various definitions to each person he meets. Exploring their meanings leads Driew through a myriad of chaotic journeys and life events continuously crossing a singular songline—his story.

Crossing him most often are his similar but challenging twin siblings, Gayle and Payne. Twins are supposedly lucky and skip a generation, but Driew’s fortune failed to bless him. Sometimes one twin dies during child birth—no luck there. Other times, at birth they are identical—still no luck. Unfortunately for Driew, the Qweepie twins were fraternal and complete opposite in personality. Like most twins, they were bonded and formidable adversaries to Driew like no other siblings in the family.

We have all known a cold, annoying, peculiar, or unyielding sibling. Heck this could be you. But when the sibling becomes a sinister like Gayle, they manifest into a sinister for all time. She became the self-reliant sibling, gently reminding those around her that every person has a story, and Gayle buried her identity below a protective, great white exterior.

Driew’s journey into manhood involves uncovering the best within the family he had been given—every member: bothers, sinisters, kussins, aints, and uncools. He has secretly vowed to leave the Outback family farm better than when he arrived. Unaware of the outcome of his actions, he eagerly aims to heal his family relationships with only his sing-song voice and his loyal mates: Cain, Able, and Gulia.

—•—

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Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

AR Reading Quiz for “DOWN UNDER: Kussins”

AR Reading Quiz for DOWN UNDER: Kussins

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1. What state did Driew move from?

2. Which character is a “digger” in this book?

3. What artifacts do the Poe boys discover Outback?

4. Which marsupial does Driew adopt as a pet?

5. What country does Gulia visit on holiday?

6. What food attracts visitors to the Dawson Springs Annual Homecoming?

7. What name did Gulia and Driew give to their tree?

8. What found object does Driew use to light his way?

9. What summer responsibility does Marq give Driew instead of mowing?

10. Which of these characters is not Driew’s kussin?

 

READING QUIZ KEY

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