Loser

Loser

by Jerry Spinelli
Loser

Loser

by Jerry Spinelli

Paperback(First Harper Trophy Edition)

$9.99 
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Overview

From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes a powerful story about how not fitting in just might lead to an incredible life. This classic book is perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Carl Hiaasen. 

Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like "Jabip."

Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn't know he's not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff's differences show that any name can someday become "hero."

With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy's individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixth grade, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs.

The perfect classroom read.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060540746
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Edition description: First Harper Trophy Edition
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 34,087
Product dimensions: 4.80(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.48(d)
Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Jerry Spinelli received the Newbery Medal for Maniac Magee and a Newbery Honor for Wringer. His other books include Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Smiles to Go; Loser; Jake and Lily; Hokey Pokey; and The Warden’s Daughter. His novels are recognized for their humor and poignancy, and his characters and situations are often drawn from his real-life experience as a father of six children. Jerry lives with his wife, Eileen, also a writer, in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

You Grow Up

You grow up with a kid but you never really notice him. He's just there -- on the street, the playground, the neighborhood. He's part of the scenery, like the parked cars and the green plastic cans on trash day.

You pass through school -- first grade, second grade -- there he is, going along with you. You're not friends, you're not enemies. You just cross paths now and then. Maybe at the park playground one day you look up and there he is on the other end of the seesaw. Or it's winter and you sled to the bottom of Halftank Hill, and you're trudging back up and there he goes zipping down, his arms out like a swan diver, screaming his head off. And maybe it annoys you that he seems to be having even more fun than you, but it's a one-second thought and it's over.

You don't even know his name.

And then one day you do. You hear someone say a name, and somehow you just know that's who the name belongs to, it's that kid.

Zinkoff.

Loser. Copyright © by Jerry Spinelli. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Reading Group Guide

Introduction:

Loser is a tender story about Donald Zinkoff, a young character who demonstrates great self-acceptance and who is not afraid to fail. With the encouragement of his family, he learns to approach life with a positive spirit and to enjoy all that it has to offer. Donald faces the familiar challenges of elementary-aged children—disagreeable teachers, peer pressure, social conformity, and competition. By maintaining a strong sense of self through his experiences, Donald Zinkoff teaches us all about important and unforgettable lessons of self esteem and happiness.

Questions For Discussion:

  1. Donald Zinkoff's mother gives him a silver star after his first day of elementary school and says "One thousand congratulations to you." Why? What are some other examples of how Donald's family demonstrates their love to him? Give examples of how their support helps Donald to develop his self-esteem.
  2. Donald admires his teacher Miss Meeks because she calls her students "young citizens" and gives a famous opening day speech to her first grade class. Reread her speech on pages 13–17. What are Miss Meeks's attitudes about school and learning? How does Donald make his own learning adventurous, both at school and at home?
  3. Why do you think "Take Your Kid To Work Day" was such a meaningful day for Donald? How does Mr. Zinkoff prepare to make the day special for Donald? What are the most important things that Donald learns about his father's work when they spend the day together?
  4. Donald experiences being a winner when every player on his Titans soccer team receives a trophy. While he isvery pleased with the trophy, he decides to give it to his friend Andrew. How do you think Donald feels after giving his trophy away? What is special about Donald's behavior as a winner, and how does it challenge the idea that winning is best?
  5. In school, Donald's classmates notice and comment upon his unique behavior and brand him a "loser." How does Donald respond when he is teased? Our experiences are affected by the meaning we give to them. Think about an example in your own life when you refused to accept a negative comment from another. (If you cannot think of an example, try it out sometime!)
  6. In the fifth grade, Donald's classmates discourage him from participating in Field Day. How does spending the day with the old woman on Willow Street help him to feel better about this rejection? Name other examples from LOSER where Donald distracts himself from a negative situation. Do you think this behavior makes him more or less happy? Why?
  7. In the final scene Donald wants to play ball with a group of his classmates, and is the last kid to be chosen for a team. On page 217, his classmate Bonce thinks "… [this kid] doesn't know that…he's only going to be ignored. Or embarrassed. Or hurt. He doesn't know that he's a klutz. Doesn't know he's out of his league. Doesn't know a leftover, doesn't stare down a chooser. Doesn't know he's supposed to look down at his shoes or up at the sky and wish he could disappear, because that's what he is, a leftover, the last kid left." Why do you think Bonce eventually invites Zinkoff to play on his team?

About The Author:

Jerry Spinelli is the author of Maniac Magee, winner of the 1991 Newbery Medal, and Wringer, named a Newbery Honor Book in 1998. He went to Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Eileen, also a writer of children's books, have seven children. Jerry Spinelli's books are funny and true to life. Whenever students ask him where he gets his ideas, he replies, "From you. You're the funny ones." Spinelli enjoys writing about the adventure in the typical experiences of children and young people.

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