Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for WHEN THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN by K. Ibura! I’m so excited to share an excerpt of the book with you today, AND more information about the author and tour, PLUS you can enter the giveaway to win a print copy!When the World Turned Upside Down by K. Ibura
Published on February 1, 2022 by Scholastic Press
Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Add to Goodreads
Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram
What do you do when the world shuts down? A heartwarming story of friendship and overcoming adversity in a time of COVID, When the World Turns Upside Down is about community, giving back, and understanding the world around us through the power of generosity from debut middle grade author K. Ibura.
Nobody expected a tiny little virus to change the whole world in such a big way, especially not Shayla, Liam, Ai, and Ben. But when school closes to keep everyone safe, their lives turn upside down. It is one thing to learn that the outside world isn’t safe, but why does it seem that the virus is causing trouble inside their homes too?
As they each struggle to adjust to life in quarantine, they discover they are not alone: their apartment building is full of people who need their help. Working together, they begin to see that there is power in numbers. When they cooperate, they can ease each other’s challenges and help their neighbors through tough times. It’s a lesson they’ll need when protests explode in the streets. Soon, each friend has to decide what it means to be part of a community—and how much they’re willing to do to make this world safer for everyone.
Set against the onset of COVID, When the World Turned Upside Down navigates issues of race and social justice in a heartwarming story of generosity, friendship, and the power of youth.
Chapter Five: Things Fall Apart
When Shayla woke up, she picked up the three magnetic balls that sat on her bedside table. She flipped them around with her fingers while her mind tumbled through ideas of how to help her father. In the past few weeks, she had tried baking his favorite dessert, cleaning her room, and making him a cheer-up card, but he always gave her that soft sad smile, kissed her cheek, and went back to moping around the apartment. She looked at her mother’s photograph.
“What should I do, Mom?” she whispered. She wished she could call her, but it was the middle of the night on the other side of the world where her mother lived.
Just as she was thinking about calling one of her uncles for help, she heard a sound she hadn’t heard in a long time—the sewing machine! She sprang out of bed, pulled off her bonnet, and went to the living room. There was her dad, sitting in his sewing chair and hunching over the machine. It was a comforting sight, seeing his shoulders leaning forward and his long black locks tied back so he could work.
“Morning, Daddy,” Shayla said, rubbing the back of her neck and looking around the room. All the shiny, sparkly fabric was still piled in the corner and a stack of bold and colorful African prints sat on the floor next to his chair.
“Morning, Sassy,” her dad said without pausing the machine. Shayla broke into a smile. He was the only person that called her “Sassy” and it always made her feel warm inside.
“I thought no one was ordering dresses anymore.” “They’re not,” her dad replied. The machine never once stopped whirring.
“Soooooo . . .” Shayla went to stand next to her dad and watched the fabric run through the path of the stabbing needle. She was surprised to see half his face was covered from the bridge of his nose to his beard with a colorful mask.
“Soooooooo,” her dad said. He finally paused the machine and looked over at Shayla. “I’m making masks. They’re selling them everywhere. If I make a lot of them, I might be able to earn back some of the money we lost this season.”
Shayla was quiet for a few seconds. She didn’t know how much masks cost, but they would have to sell a lot of them to replace the money from prom dresses.
“And you’re testing them out?” Shayla asked, tugging at the elastic strap around his ear.
“Yep,” he said.
She saw his eyes crinkle with a smile.
“How do I look?” he asked, lifting his chin. “You look like a boss,” she said, giving him a fist bump. “Where’s the pattern? Should I start cutting?” “You can cut later. For now, you can grab a bunch of masks and deliver them to your friends,” he said, pointing to a basket on the couch. Shayla looked inside and saw that it was full of masks. She turned to her dad in surprise.
“Did you sew all night?” she asked.
“I’m just doing my part,” he said with a shrug. “Now go do yours before you have to get ready for school. Pick some out for your friends.”
“But the sign says . . .” Shayla said, plunging her hand into the basketful of masks.
Her dad stopped sewing just as quickly as he had begun.
“They need to change that old sign downstairs. There’s new rules.”
“New rules that say I have to wear this?” Shayla picked up a mask and let it dangle from her fingers. “Yes, to stop the virus from spreading. So you will wear one,” he said, and started sewing again. Shayla kept digging through the basket.
“And my friends? We barely see each other anymore.”
“Ben’s been over here twice already and you see Liam in the park all the time. And you know there’s no way I’m going to be able to keep you and Ai apart.”
Shayla felt a stabbing feeling in her chest. Her dad had no idea she and Ai weren’t friends anymore. “Masks aren’t safe enough if only one person is wearing them. So whenever you’re together, you’re all wearing masks. Got it?”
Shayla nodded, but her mind was flying. Her father’s voice faded into the background as she imagined the four of them walking through a busy hospital hallway, wearing masks and saving lives. When she finally snapped out of it, her dad was reaching his hand out to her with a long narrow strip of fabric hanging from his fingers.
“What’s this?” she asked.
“Six feet. You have to keep six feet between you.” “So, this is like a tape measure?” She envisioned the green strip of plastic she loved to swipe from her father’s sewing supplies to measure parts for her invented toys. Her dad nodded. “Grab one end.”
Shayla grabbed it.
“Now back up.”
Shayla backed away until the fabric strip was pulled tight between them.
“That’s six feet,” he said.
“How are we supposed to play like that?” Shayla asked.
Her dad shrugged. “ You’re creative, you’ll figure it out.”
Bringing a mask to Ben and Liam would be easy, but showing up at Ai’s door unexpectedly felt dangerous. Shayla could feel her heart thumping as she waited for Ai to answer. She knew she had started it when she had stopped hanging with Ai at school. But then Ai got her back by ignoring her in the building. Now everything between them was one big mess.
When Ai opened the door and saw Shayla standing there, her eyebrows went up in surprise, then they drew together in confusion.
“Hi,” Shayla said. She was sure Ai was going to slam the door in her face, but then she realized Ai’s face was sad, not mad.
“Are you okay?” Shayla asked.
Ai tried to talk, but instead she burst into tears. Shayla could hear her dad saying Six feet! in her mind, but she hoped a quick hug wouldn’t hurt.
“What’s wrong?” she asked after hugging Ai. Ai wiped her face. For a few seconds, she just stared at Shayla as if she was deciding whether or not to talk. Finally, she let out a shaky breath.
“It’s my mom,” she said.
“What? Is she sick?” Shayla asked. She tried her best to keep her voice calm. Her emotions weren’t going to help Ai.
“No, it’s not like that,” Ai said. Then she crossed her arms. “Wait! Why do you have on a mask? Are you sick?”
Shayla shook her head.
“My dad said we have to wear them now and . . .” She paused and looked at Ai awkwardly. Then she scrambled backward. “And stand six feet away from each other.”
“Germs,” Ai said, and nodded. “My dad wears his mask at the hospital all day. He comes home with marks on his face here and here.” Ai pointed to each of her cheeks.
“So you already know about this? Everybody’s supposed to wear them now.” Shayla held out one of her dad’s masks. “My dad made one for you too.”
Shayla had picked one that was Ai’s favorite color— a deep, dark indigo blue. Ai smiled when she saw it. But in the few seconds it took for her to reach out and grab the mask, the worried look returned.
“So, your mom?” Shayla asked.
“She’s not sick. It’s . . .” Ai looked down at her feet. “It’s like a Liam thing.”
“So, she had a panic attack?”
Ai shook her head no.
“She’s been in bed for weeks. She won’t leave her bedroom.” Ai looked like she was going to burst into tears again, but then her father called her from inside the apartment.
“Yes, Ayah?” Ai said.
“You should be in the kitchen!” he yelled. “The kitchen?” Shayla asked.
“I’m supposed to start lunch before class. I have to go,” Ai said, and moved away from the door. “But you don’t . . .” Shayla was going to say that Ai didn’t know how to cook, but Ai shut the door before she could finish.
Shayla stood there for a few seconds, her mind busily trying to make sense of everything they had just talked about. The world might have turned upside down and they may not be friends anymore, but there was no way she was going to leave Ai to sort this out by herself. She stood taller and made a silent promise to find a way to help.
Chapter Six: Friends to the Rescue
Ai piled an onion, a tomato, a head of garlic, and some lemongrass on the counter. Behind that she lined up two cans of coconut milk, kecap manis sauce, and shrimp paste. Then she put her hands on her hips and stared at it all. These were the seven things she always saw out whenever her mother cooked. She turned her head and stared down the hallway at the door to her sister Kartika’s room. It was closed.
Kartika was the only person in the apartment besides her mother who knew how to cook a whole meal, but her father had told her she was absolutely not allowed to disturb Kartika right now. With midterms fast approaching, he refused to let the quarantine influence Kartika’s grades. Ai sighed. She looked at the rice cooker on the counter, but she was afraid to use it. The one thing she was confident she could do was boil water.
She grabbed the rice from the cupboard. She found a saucepot in the cupboard, filled it halfway with water, and put it on the stove to boil. Then she took the chicken out of the refrigerator, sat it on the counter, and stared at it.
“It’s you and me, chicken,” she whispered under her breath.
Right when she was about to free the chicken from the plastic packaging, the doorbell rang. Ai rushed to the door and yanked it open.
“My dad is . . .” Ai was going to tell Shayla that her dad was sleeping and she couldn’t ring the bell any more, but she stopped short when she saw that there were two people outside her apartment: Ben and Shayla— both wearing masks— standing there on the opposite side of the door.
“Get your mask on,” Shayla said. “We came to help.”
Ai frowned. She felt a tug- of- war inside. On the one hand, she didn’t want Shayla to think that anything had changed. Just because she’d cried in front of Shayla didn’t mean she was going to invite her in— at least not until she knew she could trust her again.
On the other hand, she didn’t want to go back to the kitchen to face the mysteries of cooking all by herself.
“What makes you think I would invite you in?” she asked with a glare.
“Come on, Ai,” Shayla said. “Everybody knows you can’t cook.”
Ai’s face darkened with annoyance.
“You can’t cook either,” Ai said.
“That’s why he’s here,” Shayla said, jerking her head at Ben. “Let us in.”
Ai stood in the doorway, not moving. The truth was her fight with Shayla wasn’t the only reason she didn’t want to let them in. She didn’t want to show anyone how much her apartment had changed. It used to be full of family sounds, but now it had turned into a zombie house. Between her mother’s depression, her father’s exhaustion, and her sister’s constant studying, the apartment was filled with a deadly silence.
“Ai,” Shayla said, breaking into Ai’s thoughts. “What do you have to cook?”
“Chicken,” Ai said. “Chicken and rice.”
“We can help you,” Shayla said. “You can go back to ignoring me tomorrow.”
|1/17/2022||YA Books Central||Excerpt|
|1/17/2022||Kait Plus Books||Excerpt|
|1/18/2022||For the Love of KidLit||Excerpt|
|1/18/2022||The Reading Wordsmith||Review|
|1/20/2022||Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers||Review|
|1/21/2022||Books Are Magic Too||Review|
|1/21/2022||Pick a good book||Review|
|1/24/2022||Two Points of Interest||Review|
|1/24/2022||Not In Jersey||Review|
|1/25/2022||The Book Review Crew||Review|
|1/26/2022||The Momma Spot||Review|
|1/27/2022||Lifestyle of Me||Review|
|1/28/2022||Cindy’s Love of Books||Review|
What do you think about When the World Turned Upside Down? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!