Just My Luck
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Just My Luck, by Cammie McGovern (Say What You Will), has a lot to teach kids about kindness and empathy. Benny's older brother, George, is on the autism spectrum, so kids will learn a lot about autism and living with someone on the spectrum. It also teaches about friendship: how people can surprise you by being better, and sometimes worse, than you expect based on their appearance and abilities; and what kinds of friendships are worthwhile. It's chock-full of positive messages and role models, especially narrator Benny, who's in fourth grade. Benny experiences strong fear and worry about his father undergoing brain surgery and about losing track of George while walking the dog. Lots of age-appropriate book titles are mentioned, and many plot points and themes from The Indian in the Cupboard are given, including the brief mention that it perpetuates stereotypes.
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What's the Story?
Fourth grade isn't starting out very well for Benny. His best friend moved away, he still can't ride his bike very well, his dad's in the hospital, and he's still having trouble with spelling and math. Even Mr. Norris, whom everyone says is the best teacher ever, is too distracted these days to be any fun. Benny tries to help others as a way of coping, but when his father has to have another operation, Benny thinks it's JUST MY LUCK to have so many problems. Can he and his family handle all the obstacles life throws at them?
Is It Any Good?
This thoughtful and thought-provoking story of a bumpy start to fourth grade will have kids rooting for likable, relatable Benny while they learn about kindness and friendship. Veteran author Cammie McGovern turns her talent for believable, authentic narrative voices away from high school and toward a younger but equally important developmental stage. Benny’s empathy and unfailing kindness make him a great role model, and he’s engaging enough that kids won’t notice that they’re learning right along with him how to cope when life throws you a curveball.
The well-developed cast of supporting characters will warm hearts as they show Benny about worthwhile friendships, strong family bonds, doing more than you think you can, and being much more than you think you are.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about autism. Do you know anyone who's on the spectrum? What did you learn about it that you didn't know before?
Lots of books are written about kids in fourth grade. Why do you think that is? What changes does Benny notice now that he's in fourth grade?
Benny didn't want to go home the day of his father's operation because he was afraid to hear bad news. Have you ever been afraid like that? How did you cope with your fear?
- Author: Cammie McGovern
- Genre: Family Life
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Harper
- Publication date: February 23, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
Our Editors Recommend
Girl connects with brother who has autism in moving tale.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
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Delightful page-turner with rock-solid values.
For kids who love stories of empathy and family
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