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

Book Details


  • Fiction

Age Level: 

  • 12 and up
Profile Picture

This book is about a girl and her family experiencing a time of bad luck. Summer's brother, Jaz, doesn’t have any friends to invite to his birthday party. Then, there is an emergency and her parents have to go to Japan before harvest season. Summer’s grandparents come out of retirement to come help with the harvest, but they are old-fashioned and challenging to be with. When her grandmother, Obaachan hurts her back, it is up to Summer to sort things out and keep their family from losing their jobs.

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