The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky



Girl turns trash into treasures in hopeful underdog tale.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers will see how imagination and hard work can transform old, worn-out items into useful and beautiful things. They'll see recycling at its most creative.

Positive messages

Teamwork and determination can overcome impossible hurdles. Hope is a vital ingredient in tackling any obstacle. If you dare to think outside the box, you can accomplish amazing results. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Positive role models

Fifth-grader Auggie Jones is determined to fight the city council's trumped-up rules and outrageous fines with regard to the beautification of Willow Grove. Auggie says to her nemesis, Victoria, "You might want to do something important, but you can't bulldoze people's houses because they're in your way." Gus, her devoted grandfather who owns a salvage business, is kind and caring and supports Auggie in her plan, doing his best to protect her from the harshness of reality.

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Auggie's classmate Victoria is verbally abusive to her. She refers to Auggie's house and all her efforts to improve it as nothing more than "trash." Sarcastically, she refers to Auggie's right to live where she does as the right to be "filthy little pigs." 

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In a passing reference, an adult remembers sneaking a cigarette as a child.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky is a hopeful story of fifth grader Auggie and her grandfather, whose run-down home in a poor section of town becomes a target of the House Beautification Committee. Auggie endures verbal bullying by her classmate Victoria, whose dad runs the committee. Also, Auggie, who's being raised by her grandfather, thinks her mother has deserted her and desperately wants her to return.

What's the story?

At their new school, fifth-grader Auggie's best friend Lexie is lured away by Victoria, a wealthy classmate. Worse, Victoria's father starts a House Beautification Committee ("Making our city beautiful, one house at a time") that targets Auggie and all her neighbors in the poor section of town and insists that they improve their homes. Auggie's grandfather, who runs a salvage business, collects items with which they create a colorful new look with ingenuity and creativity -- turning a worn-out toaster into a rooftop flower, for example. Their project horrifies the committee even more, and it deems their home in violation and demands a hefty fine, which Auggies' family can't afford. Eviction looks probable -- until a folk-art museum director sees what they've created, and the town's concept of what's beautiful changes.

Is it any good?


THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY starts slowly, but once the conflict emerges, readers will be rooting for Auggie and Gus to outwit the committee and keep their home. There's much to cheer about in the pair's hopeful resourcefulness -- and much to disdain in the committee's narrow-minded, discriminatory attitudes.


Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what they consider "beautiful" in a person. How about in music, art, or your town? 

  • Auggie and Gus are underdogs in The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky. Can you think of other books or movies in which the main character is an underdog? What's fun about those kinds of stories?

  • Try to make something beautiful out of some recycled materials others might call trash. 

Book details

Author:Holly Schindler
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Topics:Arts and dance, Friendship, Great girl role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dial Books
Publication date:February 6, 2014
Number of pages:230
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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