The Lucky Ones

Candlewick. Apr. 2022. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536222555.
Gr 3-6–In Mississippi, 1967, 11-year-old Ellis Earl Brown wants to make something of himself and be somebody—but that feels hard to do when there’s not enough food in the house for his many siblings, nieces, and nephews. Even though he loves school and his lessons with Mr. Foster, he worries he may have to quit and find work like his older siblings. Ellis Earl loves being in class where he can eat the delicious lunches Mr. Foster brings for him and his classmates, many of whom are in similar living situations. Mr. Foster gifts Ellis Earl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which he reads to his family and they enjoy. Being in Mr. Foster’s class grants Ellis Earl many great opportunities, but there are sad moments, too. Unfortunately, on a chaperoned group trip, Ellis Earl and his classmates experience racism and hear racial slurs. Ellis Earl is a realistically flawed kid with moments of selfishness, jealousy, and tantrums. He’s not always likable, especially when he corrects his siblings and tells them to speak “proper” English, although he does learn from his mistakes. The novel draws parallels between itself and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, also about a poor boy whose dream comes true. Much like Roald Dahl’s novel, The Lucky Ones’ resolutions may appear convenient and anticlimactic to some, but satisfying to others.
VERDICT This historical fiction novel about family and friendship may be hit or miss for middle grade readers.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing