The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

( 20 )

Overview


The last thing Harry ?Dit? Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. Proper -talking, brainy Emma doesn?t play baseball or fi sh too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white. But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Together Dit and Emma come up with a daring plan to save him from the unthinkable.

Set in 1917 and inspired ...

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The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

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Overview


The last thing Harry ?Dit? Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. Proper -talking, brainy Emma doesn?t play baseball or fi sh too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white. But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Together Dit and Emma come up with a daring plan to save him from the unthinkable.

Set in 1917 and inspired by the author?s true family history, this is the poignant story of a remarkable friendship and the perils of small-town justice

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Tension builds just below the surface of this energetic, seamlessly narrated first novel set in small-town Alabama in 1917. Twelve-year-old Harry, aka Dit, has been looking forward to the arrival of the new postmaster from Boston, said to have a son Dit's age. The "son" turns out to be a girl, Emma, and to everyone's surprise, the family is what Dit calls "colored" and others call "Negras." Emma, bookish and proud, impresses Dit with her determination (he calls it stubbornness) when she decides to learn to throw a ball or climb, and when Emma's mother upbraids him, Dit begins to rethink what he's been taught about the South's sorrowful defeat in the War Between the States. Levine sets up a climactic tragedy that will challenge the community's sense of justice; although hair-raising Mockingbird- esque events are becoming common in YA novels about inequality in the segregated South, Levine handles the setting with grace and nuance. Without compromising the virtues and vices of her characters, she lets her readers have a happy-enough ending. Ages 10-up. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Melanie Hundley
Although many people in Moundville are upset that the Walkers are black, Dit is upset because Emma is a girl; he decides that this is the worst bad luck ever. Dit becomes friends with Emma, and because of their friendship, begins to question why Emma can't go to his school, why the sheriff is allowed to steal, and why some townspeople won't allow Emma to be in a school play. Dit's emerging social and moral conscience causes him to reconsider previous actions and make difficult choices. When Doc Haley, the town barber, who is black, is accused of a terrible crime, Emma and Dit concoct a daring plan to rescue him. This novel is based on the author's family stories. Reviewer: Melanie Hundley
Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
Emma Walker Sims, the educated 12-year-old daughter of the new postmaster. Harry "Dit" Sims and the postmaster's daughter, Emma, become the most unlikely friends in Moundsville. No one had said that the new postmaster would be black. It makes no difference to Dit's family, but some of the other town members have problems with the situation. Consequences could be bad. There are separate schools for black and white so Dit can only teach Emma to hunt and other games and activities like baseball and exploring the woods and river when they have time together. Then the black town barber is accused of a crime. Dit and Emma know that he does not deserve to be punished and come up with a daring plan to save Doc. This is a poignant story of a brave friendship and the perils of small town justice in Moundsville, Alabama, set in 1917. The book is not to be missed! Reviewer: Naomi Butler
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

This spirited, early-20th-century coming-of-age story presents a small-town cast of well-drawn characters, an unlikely friendship, engaging adventures, and poignant realizations. When a new postmaster arrives in Moundville, AL, 12-year-old Dit is surprised to discover that Mr. Walker is African American and that his refined daughter knows nothing about baseball, hunting, or fishing. With his best friend gone for the summer and in search of companionship other than his nine siblings he reluctantly hangs out with proper, opinionated Emma, who tags along with him asking questions and trying to keep up. Gradually, Dit begins to respect her independence, intelligence, compassion, and determination. But the harsh realities of segregation and racist attitudes threaten their friendship and open Dit's eyes to injustice. After witnessing the town barber's self-defense shooting of the alcoholic and abusive sheriff, Dit and Emma hatch a plan to save the black man's life. Dit's episodic story resonates with youthful authenticity. Peer pressure and racial barbs weigh on his competitive but sensitive spirit. Dit's insular world expands on drives to Selma with Dr. Griffiths, when the influenza epidemic of 1918 invades Moundville, during his pa's shotgun vigil to protect neighbors from nightriders, and in his shared exploits and lively discussions with Emma. Adult characters offer a range of guidance, perspective, and tolerance that helps shape Dit's understanding of his world. Readers will find humor in his candid account, universality in his dilemmas and blunders, and inspiration in his friendship with Emma and their mutual desire for social justice.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of theArts, NC

Kirkus Reviews
When 12-year-old Emma Walker comes to Moundville, Ala., with her father, the new postmaster, Harry "Dit" Sims feels it's "the worst piece of bad luck" he's ever had. He was hoping for a boy to play ball with but got a "colored" girl instead. But he teaches her to throw and hit a baseball and how to dig a cave, and she teaches him about math and books. Gradually they become best friends and even allies in the rescue of a black barber unjustly jailed and sentenced to hang. Levine draws on her grandfather's recollections to skillfully delineate the nuances of race relations in a small Southern town in 1917, where kindness and politeness sometimes trumped prejudice and ordinary people found ways to treat each other decently. Dit and Emma are likable protagonists, and the growth of their friendship, along with Dit's emerging moral conscience, make this a fine debut novel by an author to watch. (Historical fiction. 10-14)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Kristin Levine's stellar novel (Putnam, 2009), set in a small Alabama town in 1917, is a coming-of-age story that deals with segregation, racism, social justice, and friendship. Twelve-year-old Harry "Dit" Sims was hoping that the new postmaster would have a son his age, but instead Mr. Walker, an African American, has a daughter. Emma, a smart and confident girl, arrives from Boston in a dress and shiny shoes and always has a book with her. Dit likes to hunt, fish, and play baseball. Their friendship evolves as Dit finds his way through unchartered territory, while some residents of the town frown upon it and a few are dangerously angry. Dit grows to realize that the color of Emma's skin does not make her any less of a best friend and that the views of some townspeople are unjust. When the town's barber, who is black, is arrested and accused of a terrible crime, Emma and Dit work together to try to make things right. Kirby Heyborne's narration is superb, drawing listeners into the emotions the characters are experiencing. With fully voiced and clearly distinct personalities and perfectly paced accents, Heyborne vividly brings each character to life. This is an ideal audiobook for classroom listening with rich discussion potential, and a must-have for school and public libraries.—Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399250903
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/22/2009
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 397,746
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Kristin Levine lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and daughter. This is her first novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Read this book

    I loved this book. It taught me a little about segrigation and the American Civil War. I learned more about how to be someone's friend even if people are teasing you about your new friend's appearance like their race, color, religon, or gender.
    Also, if your so called "friends" are teasing you because of your new friend maybe you should think if their really your "friend". Think about it.
    Also, think if your the person who's teasing a person because of their appearnce or your teasing their friend. How do you think it feal's to be teased or maybe that's why your teasing, because someone else teased you? either way you shouldn't tease.
    this book has taught me alot and it will teach you life lessons, too.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2012

    The story begins with Harry “Dit” Sims. He is one o

    The story begins with Harry “Dit” Sims. He is one of ten children in his family in a small town. He hears that a new mail man is coming to work in his town since the last one left. Dit thinks that the new mail man has a son that he could play with, but when the mail man arrives. It turns out that he has a daughter not a son, Emma Walker. Plus, Emma is black. Since the story takes place in 1917 discrimination is still strong. Even tough, Dit and Emma become good friends. Much later in the book, the town barber is trialed for crime. Dit and Emma come up with a plan to save him from his punishment.
    I liked that the author didn't just say that Dit and Emma became friends right away and that was that. Both of them had problems in their friendship just like a normal friendship. The only thing that I didn't like about the book is that it took a long time to get to the main problem of the story. The other problems of the book were too small.
    This book is great for 8th graders. It is a fast read and can teach people not to discriminate.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Annonomus

    Best freindship book i ever read. Pretty cute if you like emotional stories!:)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    Good book

    It is good but it is logh

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2011

    Love it

    My school libarian suggested it and now im suggesting it to you!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2011

    Friemndship

    Love the book nice story

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2011

    annyomus

    very good u should resd it

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good

    Kristin Levine is my cousin! I've never met her but her book is awesome!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Great Book

    In the beginning i thiught i wouldn't like it but i ended up loving it! I really liked it! The end was a little sad but still makes you smile! :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    Dits Story

    Dit tells about a storyc and blacks were not as good as whites. He likes Emma Walker or(Emma Watson).
    The story is great i think you should read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted May 2, 2012

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    Posted May 30, 2014

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    Posted December 26, 2010

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    Posted April 5, 2011

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