Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had - a book review (8-12 years old)

DD2 reads a lot of books and for this age group it is not always easy to pick books that are good reads. Library is our best friend for this odyssey. Usually she finishes reading books, asks me to take her to the library and then finds herself another set of books. I rarely intervene. The last time we went to the library she picked a few from her favorite series and I did the other picking to introduce her to new genres and authors. She is in a new school this year and reading award winning books is part of the expectation.

Feeling obligated to do my part I wandered the aisles and picked a few I thought she would like by either glancing at the title or the author or genre. One among them I accidentally picked was 'The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had' by Kristin Levine. The book lay in the library bag and had to fight for reading time with the likes of Box Car Mysteries, A to Z Mysteries and the other books that she has been reading for a while and still feels a strong affinity towards. She is required to take a book to school every day for what is called 'Independent Reading'.

While a Box Car Mystery's pull is hard to resist. I had been there done that while not exactly with Box Car Mysteries but with other mystery books and finding it impossible to resist the pull. Like 'Forrest Gump' would say 'Books are also like a box of chocolates' you never know what you get until you decide to give it a try. Anyway she finally reluctantly decides to take along the 'Best Bad Luck I Ever Had' to read at school. The book kept her engrossed and unable to peel from even to do homework.

She recommended the book to her teacher and insisted that I read it. This is her first book recommendation to me and I was curious to find out what exactly interested her. The book is 'unputdownable' if you know what I mean!

Based on the story of her own family author Kristin Levine brings life in small town Alabama in the early part of the 20th century set in 1917 to be specific right before your eyes. The book is about friendship, life in the South, race tensions all at the same time but presented in a manner that even an 8 year old could understand but not be overwhelmed. The book is best for the 8-12 age group and to tell you the truth even adults are sure to enjoy it.

This country's racial history is not very pleasant and I for one am not fond of reading about them but I bet in every town in the South there were good and kind people who defied bigotry and racial customs and stereotypes of the times to do what is right and not look the other way.

Most of all children are born color blind. It is the world around them that colors their opinions and attitudes.

From the first page on I had to finish the book before I could move on. DD2 and I have talked about the book enough that DD is reading the book now.

Dear readers has any book interested you recently that you would like to share please do so. While I would like recommendations for the 8-12 age group any book recommendation will be accepted gladly.


  1. Will definitely look for this book in our library Indo. One interesting book that my 8 year old read recently was "One Crazy Summer" by Rita Williams-Garcia. My daughter felt it was a good read and even did a book project for her class assignment.

    1. Thanks Deepa, I will look for the book.

  2. Dear ISG,

    You might not believe me when I tell you I still re-read a whole bunch of books from my childhood. I am very interested in books which may be written for kids, but appeal to adults as well. I will look for this selection from DD2.

    For kids of all ages (adults included) I highly recommend the 'Little House' series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They tell a story of life in America from 1865 - 1885 or so -- and a family that was always moving west in search of a better life. Another great series is the 'All Of A Kind Family' set by Sydney Taylor -- they tell the story of a Jewish family in New York's lower east side, circa 1900-1918. Both series are loosely biographical with a lot of great historical information.

    As the kids get older and are looking for something more substantial -- Roots by Alex Haley is a great book. I think you're correct in your assessment of this country's history -- I am not proud to think of slavery, discrimination, etc. Hopefully we learn from grave error. At least I can sleep peacefully at night knowing I taught my kids to be, as you say, color blind :)

    Sorry to run on!

    1. You are always good with book recommendations Linda. I remember being engrossed by 'Roots' when I first read it.

  3. I love the "Little House" series. Also all of the Roald Dahl's. BS has taken to Miss Marple though I don't let her read all yet.
    Then there is the Percy Jackson series which she is a huge fan of but I have no clue. This summer she also read classics like "Swiss family Robinson", "Tom Sawyer", "Journey to center of the earth" etc. and the entire Narnia series.
    She also enjoys Asterix and Tintin. How about DD2 ?

    1. Have not read the 'Little House' neither has DD2. Will introduce those to her. She has read all of the the Roald Dahl books and the 'Harry Potter' series. She seems to enjoys wizards and the librarian recommended 'Magic Thief' and 'Septimus Heap'. She won't touch the 'Series of unfortunate events' books while DD liked reading them. DD2 says the book makes her feel sad.

      I should get her interested in the classics.

      She loves reading comics - yes Tintin, Calvin and Hobbes, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

  4. I love this weeks topic with all the book suggestions. Showed it to my 9 year old daughter and she is head over heels to pick them up from the library. Here are my suggestions for 9-12 year olds. My daughter is an avid reader, who will do anything to take her to the library :-) and these were the books she read over summer and loved them. Keep the suggestions coming!!

    Sisters Grimm- 2 girls who solve mysteries about fairy tale people.
    Warriors- 4 clans of cats and their relationship towards each other.
    Erec Rex- a boy who finds out that he is a king of a magical place.
    The Children of the Lamp- twins who figure out that they are Genies.
    Animorphes-5 kids who have the power to turn into animals.

    1. Thanks RM and please tell your daughter too. We would be looking for those during our next visit. Good Luck!

  5. I'm going to look for this book right away! My recommendation: Wonder by RJ Palacio. Also, The Secret Garden.


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