Bad Words, a Higher Power and Newberry Awards.

There was an uproar when The Higher Power of Lucky came out because a word appeared in the opening pages that some adults thought was inappropriate for children.  Ready for the offending word?

It’s “scrotum.”

Gasp!  Apparently librarians actually kept the book off shelves for this correct use of anatomical jargon.  What a world!  Despite all the furor, this sweet, poignant tome went on to win the much coveted Newberry Award in 2006.

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (ages 9 -12) tells the tale of  ten-year-old Lucky who is sure that if she finds her higher power she will gain special insight into the meaning of life, just like the people she secretly eavesdrops on at the “anonymous” meetings in town.

Lucky knows about the uncertainty of life because she lost her mother in a sudden accident two years prior and her kind but scattered guardian, Brigitte, is homesick for France. Hard Pan, California, population 43, is a quaint but sometimes harsh place, nevertheless Lucky adores life at the edge of the desert with people that she knows and loves.

Because of her always inquisitive mind, she wants to be a scientist and has zillions of questions swimming around in her brain.  She firmly believes in staying alert and carrying a survival kit at all times because things happen when you least expect them.  Sound advice.

As she begins to suspect that Brigitte may be planning to leave, Lucky knows she’s hit rock bottom and must run away.  Although things don’t turn out exactly the way she plans.  Funny how that happens.

The novel addresses difficult topics such as death, absent parents, and addiction with realism, humor, and wonder.  The overall message is one of eternal hope and never-ending love.

The Higher Power of Lucky is an excellent choice for girls 9 and up.

PS — You can buy the shirt at thebookshelvesofdoom if you’re so inclined.  (just click on the photo)

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