Monday, May 14, 2007

She Used that Word!

newbery Newbery Challenge 2007

The High Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

2006 Newbery Medal Winner
Main Characters: Lucky and guardian Brigitte
Setting: Trailer Park in Hard Pan, California
Time Period: Modern
Plot: Ten-year-old Lucky lives with her father’s, French ex-wife after her mother dies. She finds clues that lead her to believe Brigitte is moving back to France and not adopting her.

I consider any Newbery a quality chapter book for children. That being said, there has been some controversy surrounding this year’s winner. The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron includes the word “scrotum.” Not once, not twice, but six times it appears in print.

Knowing the controversy, pre-read, I was not shocked when I read it on the first page. I’ll admit, it takes a lot to shock me, but I initially thought, “Why this word?”

Picture yourself at a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where someone is telling their “rock bottom” story. Our main character, Lucky, is attending one such meeting by crouching behind a fence, when the offending word is said. Do you think a rough, ex-alcoholic would say “scrotum” or whip-out one of the many colorful slang representations? (I was shocked because he didn’t say balls!) ;D

I don’t want to give away the ending, but I found the word an essential element, tying the story together in the end. Before, you jump to harsh conclusions, I plead with you to read the book from cover-to-cover. Newbery committees aren’t arbitrary popular vote members. They spend a year discussing the pros and cons; and in this case, the book is worthy of all accolades.

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