Half a Chanceby Cynthia Lord
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A moving new middle-grade novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES. When Lucy's family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera's lens, as her father has taught her -- he's a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he's judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special -- or only good enough. As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn't want to see: his grandmother's memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own.
Gr 4–6—Twelve-year old Lucy and her parents have moved from an apartment in Boston to a lakeside cottage in New Hampshire, and her father, a prominent nature photographer, is immediately off to Arizona for a photo shoot. Her apprehension over fitting in at a new school is temporarily allayed when she is welcomed by Nate, whose family is spending the summer with his grandmother in the house next door. Kayaking, hiking, and loon-monitoring with Nate, Lucy chronicles their experiences using her own budding talent for photography. When she learns that his Grandma Lilah's failing health is keeping her from observing her beloved loon family up close, she and Nate devise a plan to rent a motorized raft to take her out on the lake. Their plan, however, involves a deception-Lucy will use Nate's name to enter a photo contest to be judged by her father. Newbery Honor winner Lord (Rules, Scholastic, 2006) has combined vivid, cinematic description with deft characterization and handles several important issues with sensitivity, nuance, and great skill. Lucy grapples with ambivalent feelings toward her self-centered father, rivalry in the face of new friendships, and an ethical dilemma in her decision to enter the contest and to use, against Nate's will, a photo which captures his grandmother's dementia. Readers will be absorbed in the well-paced plot, sympathize with the concerns of a likable protagonist, learn a bit about photography, and consider the impetus of using one's creative talent for good or ill. A deeply enjoyable read.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Lucy Emery has a passion for taking pictures, just like her photographer father. Unlike him, the 12-year-old doesn’t crave living in new places “the way other people crave staying put.” Now he’s moved Lucy and her mother from Massachusetts to a lakeside cottage in New Hampshire, and even before the family has settled, he’s off again on another assignment. Lonesome and eager to prove her skill with a camera, Lucy enters a photography contest that will be judged by her father. The shots she takes of her new environment eloquently track her most significant events over the summer, which include keeping endangered loons safe from harm, finding a friend in next-door neighbor Nate, and sharing his sadness over his grandmother’s slipping memory. Filled with moments of discovery, wonder, and sorrow, Lord’s story captures Lucy’s artistic sensibility and photographer’s eye, as well as her compassion for both animals and people. Through Lucy’s thoughts and actions, Lord (Rules) elegantly conveys how complex stories can be told through moments frozen in time. Ages 8–12. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Mar.)
Praise for Half a Chance:
*"[Lord] has combined vivid, cinematic description with deft characterization and handles several important issues with sensitivity, nuance, and great skill... A deeply enjoyable read." -- School Library Journal, starred review
*"Lord offers a tender treatment of early adolescent needs and struggles in this thoughtful coming-of-age novel... With subtle but effective imagery and a relatable protagonist, the title speaks to both human loneliness generally and the plight of a young girl in need of friendship." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
*"With winning results, Lord brings the same sensitivity to the subject of dementia that she brought to autism in her Newbery Honor book, Rules." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Praise for Rules:
A Newbery Honor book, Schneider Family Book Award, ALA Notable
"Catherine is an endearing narrator who tells her story with both humor and heartbreak... A lovely, warm read, and a great discussion starter." -- School Library Journal
As deceptively quiet in tone as its New Hampshire lakeside setting, this affecting book affirms the power of art as it tackles profound issues of loss, memory, aging, belonging and the inevitability of change. Twelve-year-old narrator Lucy has moved again, and her famous nature-photographer father, whose attention she seeks, is traveling again. She meets boy-next-door Nate, whose grandmother Lilah is descending into dementia. This may be Lilah's last summer at the lake; her family struggles with her care and the impending changes. When Lucy discovers that her father is judging a kids' photography contest, she decides to enter, spending the summer taking pictures and tracking the loon population with Nate. Lucy takes a picture of Lilah that captures the old woman's terrible panic. She knows Nate would not want her to submit the photo; her father, however, would value the truth it captures. As Lucy's dad has taught her, "Even in the midst of horrible things, there are little bits of wonder, and all of it's true." Both the loons and photography become metaphors for the mutability of life and the importance of savoring captured moments. Nate and Lucy's sweet budding romance will appeal to preteens. With winning results, Lord brings the same sensitivity to the subject of dementia that she brought to autism in her Newbery Honor book, Rules (2006). (Fiction. 8-12)
- Scholastic, Inc.
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- Scholastic, Inc.
- NOOK Book
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- 11 MB
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- Age Range:
- 8 - 12 Years
Meet the Author
Cynthia Lord is the award-winning author of Rules, a Newbery Honor Book and a Schneider Family Book Award winner, as well as the critically acclaimed Half a Chance and A Handful of Stars. She made her picture-book debut with Hot Rod Hamster, which won several awards, including the Parents' Choice Award, and is the author of the Shelter Pet Squad chapter book series. She lives in Maine with her family. Visit her at www.cynthialord.com.
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No one in th whole wide world is perfect. And it is hard for Lucy to blend in with her new surrounding. But you always have to be true to yourslef no matter what. When you feel lost you can shout " I am here. Where are you?" And you will always have an answer from someone you love," I am here."
I love this book. My dad is in the military so we move alot.I can easily realate to Lusy
Even the most good-hearted person can do the wrong thing for the right reasons. (Not to mention doing a few wrong things for the wrong reasons.) So it is with Lucy, the heroine in Lord’s third novel. Lucy can’t resist trying to win a contest to help a friend, even though she knows it’s a bad idea. Many reading activities are suggested by Lucy’s participation in tracking the loons, in her photographic pursuits, in her kayaking, and in her desire to help Grandma Lilah.