Saturday, January 28, 2012

"The Higher Power of Lucky" -Susan Patron

Susan Patron’s The Higher Power of Lucky provides readers with a large list of possible topics that could be discussed one-on-one, or in a group setting. Addiction plays a large role in the community, as does unemployment. The wide variety of family situations present in Hard Pan offers a particularly strong base for conversations between younger readers and adults.

 Lucky’s personal life shows examples of divorce, abandonment, the grief of losing a parent, and the uncertainty that comes with having a guardian that (through Lucky’s point of view) does not seem fully invested in parenting a child. Each of these experiences alone can provide quite a bit of uncertainty for children; the combination of these situations in Lucky’s life help explain why she is so intent on finding her “Higher Power”. Miles’ family situation also provides discussion points, as many children likely have parents that are incarcerated for one reason or another. His obsession with the book Are You My Mother? is heartbreaking, and may be something that older readers pick up on. These unique family situations may jumpstart conversations about family structure that are necessary, as many children live in families that depart from the traditional nuclear model. Stories that highlight the many potential differences in family structure offer youth the opportunity to discuss differences without making it personal (which may discourage in depth and honest conversations).

Despite the many serious discussion points that are provided throughout the story, the author does manage to keep the book light. As Elissa Gershowitz says the “tale of a grieving, insecure girl is never heavy-handed or maudlin, due in part to quiet bursts of humor.” Lucky’s quirky personality and natural interest in a variety of subjects provide adequate distraction from the mature themes in the book.

Ultimately, I believe that the recommended age group seems a bit too young. However, I think that there is the potential for some very valuable discussions with teachers or parents regarding the more serious topics that arise in Lucky’s life.


Gershowitz, E. (2007). “The Higher Power of Lucky” The Horn Book, 83(1), Jan/Feb. Accessed through Wilson Web.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Librarian Infographic

Our discussion in Reader's Advisory class tonight reminded me of something that I had pinned recently. If you go to the link below it has some interesting information regarding librarian gender, age, pay grade, etc. It only takes a moment to read. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Personal Reading Profile

My personal reading profile is fairly consistent. I love fantasy and science fiction. I’m not much for robots and such, but if an author makes up a bunch of difficult to remember names that require me to create an index to keep them straight, I’ll probably be hooked. One of the first books I read and fell in love with was A Wrinkle in Time, and then quickly devoured anything else Madeline L’Engle that I could get my hands on (note: her adult fiction is not particularly appropriate for fourth graders). The Wheel of Time series enthralled me in middle school, as well as Tamara Pierce’s Lioness series. I was instantly hooked on the Hunger Games and absolutely adore anything and everything written by Scott Westerfeld. I’m particularly attached to anything young adult. I really love the feeling of adventure and diving into a completely different world; these books give me a chance to escape from an agreeable but monotonous Midwestern life.

In contrast, there was also a point in time in which I read only non-fiction. I am truly one of those nerds that loves to learn things, especially when I get the option to choose what I’m going to learn. As I was a sociology undergrad, I really enjoy anything that is sociologically or psychologically related. An autobiography that deals with some very strong mental health issues that the author’s mother suffers from that is dark, enthralling, and something that I would definitely recommend is Her Last Death. Another non-fiction book that I read recently and loved was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, it was a nice combination of science and biography and truly read like fiction (the science was very well explained, which was necessary for me).  Snarky autobiographies also hold a place in my heart, and I will unabashedly laugh out loud when reading anything written by Jen Lancaster or Laurie Notaro.  Non-fiction needs to be filled with witty personal life stories or full of facts that can somehow relate to my life in order for me to find it interesting. I read non-fiction for pleasure rather than instruction.

I also loved Wuthering Heights and detested Pride & Prejudice. 

P.S. In books and movies I love to have a terrible, heartbreaking ending. One Day by David Nichols? Loved it. Also, The Departed and Sweeney Todd didn't end particularly well for anyone, but I also loved them.