I had just started reading James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird when I heard it had won The National Book Award. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this because I had enjoyed the book from the beginning. The story centers on Henry, a child slave who is sort of “abducted” by abolitionist John Brown when Henry’s father is killed in a skirmish between Brown and Henry’s owner. Brown thinks Henry is a girl, partly due to the sackcloth he’s wearing, and nicknames him Onion. The boy pretty much just goes along for the ride, but finds he’s become fond of this incredibly strange man.