The Thing About Luck (Asian Pacific American Award for Literature. Children's and Young Adult. Winner (Awards))

Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 3 - 5n/a4.748300
The winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata. There is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck--which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family.

Summer knows that kouun means "good luck" in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan--right before harvest season. Summer and her little brother, Jaz, are left in the care of their grandparents, who come out of retirement in order to harvest wheat and help pay the bills.

The thing about Obaachan and Jiichan is that they are old-fashioned and demanding, and between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her lonely little brother, Summer just barely has time to notice the attentions of their boss's cute son. But notice she does, and what begins as a welcome distraction from the hard work soon turns into a mess of its own.

Having thoroughly disappointed her grandmother, Summer figures the bad luck must be finished--but then it gets worse. And when that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it herself, even if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Because it might be the only way to save her family.

Cynthia Kadohata's ode to the breadbasket of America has received six starred reviews. Awards:
  • APALA Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
  • Booklinks Lasting Connections
  • Booklist Editors' Choice
  • Capitol Choices List (DC)
  • Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Multicultural Books List
  • Charlie May Simon Book Award ML (AR)
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Master List (VT)
  • Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee (NJ)
  • Judy Lopez Memorial Award Honor Book
  • Keystone to Reading Book Award Master List (PA)
  • Land of Enchantment Children's Book Award (NM)
  • National Book Award Winner
  • Volunteer State Book Award Master List (TN)
  • Hardcover, 288 pages
    Published on June 4, 2013 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
    ISBN-10: 1416918825
    ISBN-13: 9781416918820
    1 Book Review
    • joanne_s
      joanne_sThursday, February 25, 2016 at 4:43 am44 stars
      This book is about a Japanese girl named Summer who her parents went to Japan and had to spend time with her brother Jaz and their grandparents to harvest wheat to help pay the bills. In the story Summer met a lot of difficulties and problems with herself and with her grandparents, especially her grandmother. The story conveyed the meaning of love, and taught me lessons. The words in the story were simple yet meaningful, and I really love Summer because I love her characteristics and really like how she narrates in this story. This is an emotional and dazzling story.