The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky by Holly Schindler
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Dial (February 6, 2014)
Source: Publisher for tour
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
About the Book:
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope.
Auggie Jones lives with her grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” But Auggie is determined to prove that there’s more to her—and to her house—than meets the eye.
What starts out as a home renovation project quickly becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time.
Holly Schindler’s feel-good story about the power one voice can have will inspire readers to speak from their hearts.
“Axioms like ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ come gracefully to life in Schindler’s tale about the value of hard work and the power of community…Auggie’s enthusiasm and unbridled creativity are infectious, and likeminded readers will envy her creative partnership with [her grandfather] Gus.” – Publishers Weekly
“Determined to save her home, Auggie [uses] pottery shards, vivid glass, and metal sculptures [to] transform the house’s exterior into a vibrant expression of the love within its walls. In Auggie, Schindler creates a spunky, sympathetic character young readers will engage with and enjoy.” – The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Book Studies
About the Author:
Holly Schindler’s debut novel, A Blue So Dark, received a starred review in Booklist, was named one of Booklist’s Top 10 First Novels for Youth, and won both a silver medal from ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and a gold medal in the IPPY Awards. She is also the author of Playing Hurt (YA romance), The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky (contemporary MG), and the forthcoming Feral (YA psychological thriller). Visit her online at hollyschindler.com
Site for young readers: Holly Schindler’s Middles
From Holly: I’m especially excited about this site. I adored getting to interact with the YA readership online—usually through Twitter or FB. But I had to create a site where I could interact with the MG readership. I’m devoting a page on the site to reviews from young readers themselves! Be sure to send your young reader’s review through the Contact Me page.
Interview with Holly Schindler:
Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. Honestly? A writer. I’ve been obsessed with books and literature ever since I was a little girl.
Q. If you had any superpower, what would it be?
A. I find these hard financial times absolutely heartbreaking. If I could, I’d turn the economic tide…
Q. Do you have any hidden talents?
A. One of my favorite parts of THE JUNCTION is Auggie’s search for her “shine” or special talent. In the novel, Auggie’s neighbor can sew, and her best friend has the ability to come up with wild hairdos. I’m convinced everybody on the planet has their own shine. And I’d love to hear all about those special talents from young readers themselves. (In fact, I’m featuring them on the website I created just for MG readers!) You can learn more about it here: hollyschindlermiddles.weebly.com.
Q. What do you love the most about children’s books?
A. In some ways, anything is possible in a children’s book (because that’s what most child readers believe). You get a chance to stretch your imagination in wild, fun ways while writing a children’s book.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration from?
A. Everywhere. Literally. Inspiration isn’t just something that floats by every once in a while; it’s not an unpredictable breeze you have to wait around for and try to snatch as it tickles your neck. Inspiration is a muscle. The more you play with ideas, the more readily ideas come to you. I actually have far more ideas than I have time to write. (It can be a distraction, actually, while you’re trying to finish one book…You have to learn to write the new ideas down, put them aside, and finish the project at hand.)
Q. Why did you decide to write children’s fiction?
A. I decided to devote full-time attention to getting my writing career off the ground after getting my master’s degree in ’01. To pay the bills, I started teaching music lessons out of the house each afternoon. It was the perfect setup: I’d get up and start writing; eight hours later, I’d start teaching piano and guitar lessons. But teaching music taught me just how similar today’s kids are to the kids I knew in school—I was shocked, actually, at how familiar they all were! It inspired me to try my hand at writing for young readers.
Q. If you could visit any time or place, when and where would you go?
A. I’d jump at the chance to be part of a Jane Austen-era love story. But then again…who wouldn’t?
My Thoughts on The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky:
As impossible as it is to know the future, I have a strong feeling that this book will make my Top 10 Middle Grade Reads for 2014. It’s well written, with three dimensional characters that I can’t help but love. Auggie and Gus wiggled their way into my heart and refused to leave. Auggie is the kind of girl I would love to know. She is brave, smart, and sweet. She refuses to be bullied and she never gives up hope. I especially love her sense of humor.
“She chews on chalky stomach pills, so that when she announces, “Please stand for the first Pledge of the year,” she looks like she’s licked an entire blackboard clean.”
Holly Schindler has a beautiful way of writing. Her style is alive with personality and humor. She has a unique way of looking at the world and making it seem better than it is—and she bestows those views on her characters
“See, nothing in this world likes to idea of coming to its end. Not a flower, not a man, and not a season. That’s all this is. Summer not wanting to die. And fall trying to push summer on out.”
The moment that spark of artistic brilliance hits Auggie is perfectly described. I almost teared up (yes, I’m a weirdo, please don’t judge me) when I read it because the author articulated that moment so well.
“I sit down on our front step and start to draw the wild pictures that are exploding in my mind like popcorn kernels.”
I really can’t think of a better way to describe what happens when you get a million ideas all at once and you can’t get them on paper fast enough.
This is a must read for middle grade kids. It’s full of hope and friendship, and might even change the way you see the world.
The Cover: Don’t you just love the cover? Because I am a weirdo (see above) and because I really love the cover design, I looked up the designer. Her name is Lindsey Andrews and if you want some eye candy, visit her website. Her book designs are breathtaking!
Tour Wide Giveaway:
Make sure to visit the next tour stop tomorrow! (Feb 21)
Read Now Sleep Later: http://www.readnowsleeplater.com/