Friday, July 12, 2013

The Thing About Luck

When I picked up The Thing About Luck, I didn't realize that it was written by Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Kadohata.  Kadohata won the Newbery Medal for Kira-Kira, which many of my students have read and loved.  I have to confess...I haven't read Kira-Kira, but after reading this book, it is moving to the top of my to-read pile!

The Thing About Luck

Summer's family is having a rough year.  Her family lives in Kansas and works harvesting wheat each year from late spring until early fall.  Just before leaving for the summer, her parents are called back to Japan to care for her great-grandparents.  This harvest season, it will be Summer, her brother Jaz, and her grandparents traveling from Texas to Oklahoma to the Dakota's following the wheat harvest.  Summer and her grandmother cook for the team of workers and her grandfather drives a combine.  As the season starts, Summer's grandmother is disabled by frequent back pains and her grandfather's age is starting to show as he works 16 hour days, 7 days a week.  Summer finds herself stepping into roles she never imagined in order to keep her family's job afloat. 

I loved Summer's voice in this book.  She argues with her brother and her very demanding grandmother.  She has a crush on a boy who is traveling with the group.  She is trying to find her place in this world.  The thoughts that go through her head are sometimes laugh-out-loud funny.  She is a GREAT character and I think fifth and sixth graders will really relate to her.  Her grandmother is also quite a character...the "arguments" she has with her husband are really funny.

On another note, there is a lot to learn in this book about the people who travel the country each year harvesting the food we eat.  I've never thought about the young kids who must leave school and go along with their families when harvest-time arrives.

The Thing About Luck is a must-purchase for my classroom...and now I am off to the library to check out everything else Cynthia Kadohata has written :)

I'd love to know what you think about this book or what books you are loving this summer!  

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