What child doesn't fantasize about running away in order to get the attention that he or she deserves? And what child hasn't worried that their mother/father/guardian/caretaker is considering leaving because of something the child fears he has done wrong? These themes, like the beautiful knots that Lucky's best friend, Lincoln ties, are intertwined throughout this 2007 Newberry Award winning book by Susan Patron. Through the course of this short book, 10-year-old Lucky also comes to grips with her mother's death and her father's abandonment. I found the description of Lucky hiding new thoughts and observations into different "crevices of her brain" to be poignant and true-to-life. Which one of us hasn't been confronted with a new reality without filing it in our mind to "think about later?" This would be a good book to use in a classroom to show how an author shows not tells characters and setting; the picture of this tiny town at the edge of the desert is outstanding.
I would recommend this book for readers 10 and up, although some parents may object to the use of the word "scrotum" on the first page. The word within the context of the story is just another part of adult life that Lucky is learning about. For comments about the book, you might want to read the review written by the New York Times which presents some interesting thoughts on authors and censorship. (Simon and Schuster, 2006)