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The Thing about Luck

by Cynthia Kadohata

Published by Atheneum / Simon & Schuster, 2013
270 pages
ISBN: 978𢴒169-18820

Ages 10-13

Twelve-year-old Summer and her younger brother, Jaz, live in Kansas with their parents and their grandparents, Obaachan and Jiichan, but spend months every year on the road, following the wheat harvest. Summer抯 parents and grandparents are combine drivers and join the Parker crew each season. This year, with her parents in Japan helping relatives, it抯 just Summer and Jaz and their grandparents. Jiichan is driving a combine and Obaachan is the cook for the harvest crew, with Summer as her assistant. Cynthia Kadohata抯 thoughtful novel is grounded in a Summer抯 point of view, which broadens and brightens over a season of incredible hard work and unexpected challenges. Summer is convinced her family is plagued by bad luck, but it turns out luck is like people梟ever simple. From her prickly grandmother, to critical Mrs. Parker and other members of the crew, to Jaz, who has a hard time socializing and a hard time with anger when he抯 frustrated and who is never defined or explained with a label, Summer is challenged to embrace the complications and contradictions that come with people and with life. It抯 not about luck, it抯 about perspective, and the willingness to try. Kadohata抯 characters are revealed, slowly, skillfully, and beautifully over the course of this vivid narrative that also illuminates a fascinating dimension of American farm life. (MS) 2013 Cooperative Children抯 Book Center

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