Historical fiction reads for younger reads aren't always the most popular or entertaining reads I must admit. I can't remember the last time a young customer has requested one of them in the library. However, when one does find a book that is not only based on historical events but is also a transcendent story then it must be lauded. Shelley Pearsall's The Seventh Most Important Thing is one such book.
Set in a grittier part of Washington DC we meet young Arthur T. Owens just after he threw a brick at a man known as Young Man. Arthur's life changes after this not only because he has to work for the Junk Man (collecting various materials) but also because he has to report to a no nonsense probation officer called Officer Billie. Arthur's life at school changes as well when he befriends a strange kid called Squeak. True to his name, Squeak is small, mouse-like in his demeanor but he also proves to be a loyal and devoted companion.
The central theme of the book however is Arthur's relationship with the Junk Man. The latter harbors no ill will toward Arthur and instead is glad for assistance with his project which is complex in its execution and grand in its scope. Arthur's view of the world will never be the same after his experience with the Junk Man.
I recommend this book for ages 10+ due to some language and the content. It is a well-written book and one that made me feel very positive after reading it. I say this because there was no superhero or deus ex machina to save the day. Instead, introspection, personal growth and accountability were the powers used to solve problems.
Some read likes for this book are The Paper Cowboy by Susan Levine, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass and Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jerry Hanel Watts.
For more reviews like this one, see my blog here.
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