This "luminescent" (Kirkus Reviews) story of anger and art, loss and redemption will appeal to fans of Lisa Graff's Lost in the Sun and Vince Vawter'sPaperboy.
Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge-he is ready to send Arthur to juvie forever. Amazingly, it's the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service . . . working for him.
Arthur is given a rickety shopping cart and a list of the Seven Most Important Things: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, pieces of wood, lightbulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors. He can't believe it-is he really supposed to rummage through people's trash? But it isn't long before Arthur realizes there's more to the Junk Man than meets the eye, and the "trash" he's collecting is being transformed into something more precious than anyone could imagine. . . .
Inspired by the work of folk artist James Hampton, Shelley Pearsall has crafted an affecting and redemptive novel about discovering what shines within us all, even when life seems full of darkness.
About the Author
Shelley Pearsall grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where she began writing stories in her bedroom closet as a child. She sent her first story to a New York publishing house at the age of thirteen. Although the manuscript was never published, its themes of survival and freedom ultimately became the inspiration for Pearsall’s first published novel, Trouble Don’t Last, written twenty years later.
In 2003, Trouble Don’t Last received the prestigious Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction among other honors. Pearsall’s newest novel The Seventh Most Important Thing is a 2016 ALA Notable book, along with All Of The Above (2007).
Before becoming a full-time author, Shelley Pearsall taught in public schools and outdoor education programs. Today, she is a frequent guest author in elementary and middle schools where she does presentations and leads writing workshops to inspire a new generation of young writers.
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"Written in a homespun style that reflects the simple components of the artwork, the story guides readers along with Arthur to an understanding of the most important things in life. Luminescent, just like the artwork it celebrates." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Pearsall has struck just the right tone by imbuing her well-rounded, interesting characters with authentic voices and pacing the action perfectly. Excellent." --School Library Journal, starred review
"A moving exploration of how there is often so much more than meets the eye." --Booklist, starred review
"There are so many things to love about this book. Remarkable." --Christian Science Monitor
..".interweaves the power and purpose of art with an exploration of a boy's grief and redemption." --The Bulletin
"Pearsall shows us that hope isn't somewhere "out there"--it's quite literally in our own two hands." --Jen Bryant, author of A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin