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The Higher Power of Luckyby Susan Patron and Matt Phelan
Winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal
Synopses & Reviews
Lucky, age ten, can't wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has.
It's all Brigitte's fault — for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure that she'll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog, HMS Beagle, won't be allowed. She'll have to lose her friends Miles, who lives on cookies, and Lincoln, future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers. Just as bad, she'll have to give up eavesdropping on twelve-step anonymous programs where the interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own — and quick.
But she hadn't planned on a dust storm.
Or needing to lug the world's heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.
"Patron's poignant Newbery-winning story about a girl who fears being abandoned by her legal guardian — and her only semblance of a family —sails along with believable childlike rhythms and kid's-eye-view observations. Listeners will especially appreciate Campbell's subtlety and smooth, comforting delivery in a heartbreaking scene in which 10-year-old Lucky recalls, with gentle support from her best friend, her deceased mother's memorial service. On the remainder of the recording, Campbell remains a welcoming guide to Lucky's world—populated by eccentric friends, the quirky townspeople of tiny, struggling Hard Pan, Calif. — and Brigitte, the guardian she desperately wants to keep, maybe with some help from a Higher Power. Campbell appropriately gives recent Parisian transplant Brigitte a French accent, though it's thankfully never overplayed. By program's end, listeners will be rooting for Lucky and Brigitte to remain together forever. Contains an interview with the author, in which Patron says she is working on a companion novel. Ages 9-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Lucky's mix of meanness and big-heartedness makes her a multi-dimensional character whose predicament is compelling." Children's Literature
"Fans of novels by Deborah Wiles and Katherine Hannigan will be happy to meet Lucky." School Library Journal
"Readers will gladly give themselves over to Patron, a master of light but sure characterization and closely observed detail. A small gem." Kirkus Reviews
"Patron's plotting is as tight as her characters are endearing. Lucky is a true heroine, especially because she's not perfect: she does some cowardly things, but she takes pains to put them to rights." Booklist
Lucky, age ten, doesn't expect running away to be so complicated. A large cast of magnanimous surprises awaits her when she plans to hide from her guardian in the Mojave Desert. Illustrations.
After a falling out between their mothers, 13-year-old best friends Nell and Lydia are forbidden from seeing each other for the whole summer. Nell struggles with the thought of not only losing her best friend, but also losing the only person in whom Nell finds refuge from the difficulties she faces at home. Determined to find a place of their own, Nell and Lydia spend the summer hiding out in an abandoned golf course where Nell and Lydia find mysterious symbols scattered throughout the grounds. As they reveal the secret of the symbols, Nell discovers she isn't the only one seeking haven and begins to uncover what’s really been hidden all along, finally allowing herself to be truly seen.
Hidden Summer is a quietly beautiful coming of age story about self-discovery, family, and friendship. An elegantly written children’s book debut from an award-winning author in the vein of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and for fans of Moon Over Manifest.
About the Author
Susan Patron specialized in Children's Services for 35 years at the Los Angeles Public Library before retiring in 2007, the same year her novel The Higher Power of Lucky was awarded the John Newbery Medal. As the library's Juvenile Materials Collection Development Manager, she trained and mentored children's librarians in 72 branches. Patron has served on many book award committees, including the Caldecott and Laura Ingalls Wilder Committees of the American Library Association. She is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Patron's previous books for children include the Billy Que trilogy of picture books; Dark Cloud Strong Breeze; and a chapter book, Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe. All earned starred reviews, and the latter was named an ALA Notable book. The Higher Power of Luck will be translated into twelve foreign languages and has been optioned for a motion picture. Married to a rare book restorer from the Champagne region of France, Susan is working on the final book in the "Lucky" trilogy. Matt Phelan's black-and-white illustrations first appeared in The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney. His picture books include The New Girl...and Me and Two of a Kind, both written by Jacqui Robbins. Matt lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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