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Monday, December 18, 2017

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

The Seventh Most Important ThingArtie is mad.  He is mad that his dad died.  He is furious that his mom got rid of his dad's corduroy coat.  She even put his dad's Harley-Davidson hat in the pile for the local junk man to find.  When he sees that the local junk collector, James Hampton, is wearing that special hat, his anger rises.  He finds the nearest heavy item, a brick, and throws it at the junk man.  He injures the arm of the junk man and runs away.

The judge sentences Artie to collecting neighborhood junk for 120 hours of community service while James Hampton nurses his arm back to health.  It gets worse when Artie shows up to work.  He has to take broken shopping cart  and find specific things on the list.  So, off he goes to find light bulbs, foil, mirrors, pieces of wood, glass bottles, coffee cans, and cardboard.   Only the thought of going back to juvenile hall and being with mean kids keeps him on task as he looks through all the garbage.  Little did Artie know that he would end up getting the name of James Hampton known worldwide.

This book had a set of believable and inspirational characters who take old things and make them new again.  Artie changes into a more mature teen who gets just the right consequence for his actions.

For more books with emotional richness, Fuzzy Mud  by Louis Sachar is perfect for readers in grades 3 to 5.  In this book, two kids find a genetically modified substance that quickly creates some real health problems for the quiet town.   For kids in grades 4 to 6, I also liked The Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager.  Carol, a young teen, has to deal with her grandfather's dementia.  How she comes to believe in her grandfather's vision of reality will bring you to tears.  Hankie alert!  Finally, readers might like book or book on CD, All Rise For the Honorable Perry T. Cook.  I love the different voices of the reader.  The story will also keep you reading.  Perry is eleven years old and lives with his mom in a prison for nonviolent offenders.  When he is given a foster home assignment with his only friend and school, he feels many emotions such surprise and anger as he adjusts to live on the outside.  This is ideal for readers in grades 5 to 7. 

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