The Lunch Thief

The Lunch Thief

5.0 3
by Anne C. Bromley, Robert Casilla
     
 
Rafael is hungry—because someone stole his lunch.
His mom had packed his lunch bag with two burritos, a bag of corn chips, some carrots, and an apple. Once a week she tucks in a slice of her special lemon pound cake. Rafael saw Kevin, a new kid in his class, sneak his lunch bag from underneath his desk and tuck it in his backpack. But how can he do something

Overview

Rafael is hungry—because someone stole his lunch.
His mom had packed his lunch bag with two burritos, a bag of corn chips, some carrots, and an apple. Once a week she tucks in a slice of her special lemon pound cake. Rafael saw Kevin, a new kid in his class, sneak his lunch bag from underneath his desk and tuck it in his backpack. But how can he do something about the theft without picking a fight? Inspired by his mother's advice to “Use your mouth before your fists,” Rafael bides his time, but other kids' lunches are disappearing,too. On an errand with his mom, Rafael sees Kevin carrying a bundle of laundry into a motel room, and his mom tells him Kevin's family might be one of the families who lost their homes in the recent wildfires. Rafael rethinks his anger. The next day, instead of accusing Kevin, Rafael invites him to share his lunch, letting Kevin know he's been caught, but offering friendship as well as lunch.

Editorial Reviews

Eve Bunting
“The boy in The Lunch Thief has a real problem. He is homeless and lunchless where others have plenty. This is a story of sharing and caring and Anne C. Bromley and illustrator Robert Casilla handle it with understanding and sympathy.”
Thom Ronk
“Faced with a challenging situation when his lunch was stolen, Rafael listens to his instincts and follows his mother’s valuable advice that ‘fighting is for cowards’ and ‘use your mouth before your fists.’ The Lunch Thief, by Anne C. Bromley, is a moving and thoughtful real-life story of how Rafael chose not to respond impulsively, but took the time to think through his actions in order to resolve the problem in a nonjudgmental way. It’s a heartwarming book that helps children see the other side of every story.”
Naomi Schalit
“Hunger is hidden. Most of us don't see it, don't hear about it, don't think about it because it's such a shameful thing for those experiencing it. But hunger is growing in America, and its worst victims are the children who must go without food every day, or who are fed empty, sweet calories instead of a nutritious meal because those calories are cheaper than good food. The Lunch Thief brings us a gentle reminder of what hunger can drive even children to do—and of the kindness and mercy that must be our response.”
Children's Literature - Sharon Oliver
Rafael tries to make the best of a bad situation when his lunch goes missing. He is sure he saw the new boy Kevin take his lunch during class, but he is not sure what to make of the situation. After witnessing the theft of a classmate's lunch by the new boy, Rafael decides to follow his mother's advice, "Use your mouth before your fists," and talk to Kevin. The new boy tells Rafael that he is from an area that recently had a spate of wildfires. Later, he sees Kevin going into a budget motel and realizes that Kevin and his family have probably lost everything they owned in the fires. Rafael decides he probably does not need both the burritos his mom packs in his lunch every day and offers to share his lunch with Kevin, making a new friend in the process. While the story is a bit simplistic and slightly on the didactic side, it is a pleasant enough story about a truly unpleasant subject. Rafael's decision to talk to Kevin and ultimately share what he has is a great example for young readers. The mainly colored pencil illustrations are a little stiff, but with a focus on the characters faces they fit nicely into the story. This is a purchase if you have a need for a multicultural story on poverty or for use in classrooms as a discussion starter. Reviewer: Sharon Oliver
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Rafael, a slightly pudgy boy whose favorite activities are pitching baseball and eating, catches Kevin, a new classmate, stealing lunches from him and his friends. Refraining from picking a fight ("Mama says fighting is for cowards"), Rafael is nonetheless annoyed by Kevin's actions and decides to find out more about this furtive, troubled boy. He learns from Kevin that his family lost their house in a recent southern California wildfire and then catches a glimpse of him carrying his laundry to a cheap motel. Thinking the situation through (and considering that his baseball coach has suggested he lose some weight), Rafael decides to offer Kevin not only his extra daily burrito, but also the weekly slice of his mother's famous lemon pound cake, thus defusing a potentially explosive situation. Full-color illustrations realistically portray the cast of characters and the boys' multicultural school. With a few well-placed remarks by Rafael's hardworking mother and no preachy overtones, this entirely credible story of how a thoughtful boy elects to "light one candle" in response to the larger problem of homelessness and hunger would make an excellent touchstone for class discussion.—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780884483113
Publisher:
Tilbury House Publishers
Publication date:
07/01/2010
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
413,011
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Anne C. Bromley lives in Encinitas, California, with her husband Rod. She is a business-writing instructor and consultant who teaches seminars throughout southern California. She has also taught creative-writing workshops for children and for adults. Anne has published two books of poetry with Carnegie Mellon University Press. She has both Master of Fine Arts and Master of Education degrees. Anne enjoys hiking in the high desert of Joshua Tree National Park, strolling along Swami's Beach at sunset, and observing the wildlife of her beach-town neighborhood—feral cats, raccoons,opossums, an occasional coyote, and surfers. Inspired by her experiences as a substitute teacher in northern San Diego County, The Lunch Thief is her first children's book.

Robert Casilla, born in Jersey City, New Jersey, to parents from Puerto Rico, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He works from his home studio in New Fairfield, Connecticut, where he lives with his wife and two children. Robert has illustrated many multicultural children's books such as The Little Painter of Sabana Grande, Jalapeño Bagels, The Legend of Mexicatl, and Con Mi Hermano/With My Brother. He has also illustrated a number of biographies, including ones about Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, and Simón Bolívar.

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Lunch Thief 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
santillan More than 1 year ago
The Lunch Thief is an excellent way to teach empathy and to look at things from another persons point of view. Rafael is hungry because someone has stolen his lunch. When Rafael spies Kevin, the new kid in his class, sneaking his lunch Raphael must decide what to do. But how can he do something about the theft without picking a fight? Inspired by his mother's advice to use his mouth before his fists, Rafael bides his time, but other kids' lunches are disappearing, too. On an errand with his mom, Rafael sees Kevin carrying a bundle of laundry into a motel room, and his mom tells him Kevin's family might be one of the families who lost their homes in the recent wildfires. Rafael rethinks his anger. The next day, instead of accusing Kevin, Rafael invites him to share his lunch, letting him know he's been caught, but offering friendship as well as a good meal. This would be a great addition to a classroom or school library especially for older children. I can see many lesson plans that can emerge from reading this book. The watercolor illustrations are beautifully rendered and add to the feeling of the story. A truly delightful and inspiring book. Suzanne Santillan writingonthesidewalk.wordpress.com
BarbaraG More than 1 year ago
Is stealing always wrong? That's a question to open with before reading this tasty treasure aloud. The simple synopsis of The Lunch Thief, written by Anne C. Bromley and beautifully illustrated by Robert Casilla goes like this: A pitcher for his school team, Rafael's second favorite thing to do is eat. He's really hungry today, however, someone stole his lunch; so hungry, in fact, that he could "eat the crumbs the seagulls left behind." Rafael saw Kevin, a new kid in his class, sneak his lunch bag from underneath his desk and tuck it in his backpack. He wants to confront the theft but doesn't want to pick a fight. Inspired by his mother's advice to use his mouth before his fists, Rafael bides his time until other lunches disappear as well. In talking with Kevin, Rafael finds out that he comes from a nearby town that was ravaged by recent wildfires. When Rafael sees Kevin carrying a bundle of laundry into a motel room, he realizes that Kevin's family might be one of the families who lost their homes. The next day, Rafael invites Kevin to share his lunch, subtly stopping the stealing and replacing it with friendship and a good meal. Ask students again if stealing is always wrong. Find out if they think Kevin wanted to be a lunch thief. What might they have done in Kevin's situation? Would they have done anything differently if they were Rafael? Why did Kevin offer Rafael a quarter for his lunch in the end? Will Rafael take the quarter? Why or why not? Use the story not only for a discussion about sensitivity and friendship, but also as a chance to learn more about hunger and/or homelessness in your area. Help your students brainstorm ways to help combat the issue, then find a homeless shelter where they might make a donation or go and serve a meal. Create a visual and advertise by making and hanging Food Bank Mobiles in prominent places throughout your school.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Somebody's been stealing the lunches from the desks of the kids! Each day it seems it is another person who has suddenly looked inside their desk only to discover that the brown paper bag lunch that their mother so lovingly packed this morning is GONE! Who could possibly be stealing the lunches? One day a boy finds out exactly who has been stealing the lunches and why. The reason for it will make us all have a change of heart the next time our lunch is stolen. I received The Lunch Thief by Anne C. Bromley compliments of Tilbury House Publishers for my honest review. What a great lesson is inside of the hardcover of this wonderful children's book. It kindly reminds us that appearances may not always be what they seem. I would highly recommend this book to any child from 6 and up, and would rate it 5 out of 5 stars. The illustrations are colorful and the book is easy to read for 30 pages. What a great resource for churches and schools as well as for your own personal children's library at home. Mine is now part of my own kids library. Even my 17 year old loved the book!