The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

“On a bitter November day in Washington, D.C., when everything felt metallic—when the sky was gray and the wind stung and the dry leaves were making death-rattle sounds in the alleys—thirteen-year-old Arthur Owens picked up a brick from the corner of a crumbling building and threw it at an old man’s head.”

This is the first paragraph of a quirky book that we read in my summer book club! It certainly made us all want to see what would happen next!

The story is about Arthur, a boy who recently lost his father in a drunken accident. It is a story about redemption! It’s a story that will make you think!

At Arthur’s hearing before the judge, the junk-man asks to have Arthur do his work since he was injured when the brick hit him. So Arthur is required to do 4 hours of work a week until he completes 120 hours! He’s assigned a parole officer, Miss Billie, and he is to report to her. It takes him awhile to realize that he’s been sentenced to BE the Junk Man!

He’s given a list of things to find, and it turns out to be a difficult job! And when he doesn’t do it correctly, he gets in trouble with Miss Billie! It was really interesting to try to figure out why he had to find such unusual things! (This might be a good book to read aloud and discuss!)

Spoiler Alert—Ms. Pearsall got her idea for this book from a small folk art museum in Williamsburg, Virginia! Some of this book is real!

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