Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Book Summary

Donald Zinkoff isn't like other kids.  He likes school and he gets there early.  He gives the wrong answers in school, but he keeps volunteering.  He notices and appreciates things that don't seem to matter to others.  Are his differences good or bad?

Loser book cover

Book Review

Without any preaching, this book is a window into the way kids can feel like they're on the outside, like they are leftover, even without explicit, hard-core bullying.  Many readers will relate to the pressures of things like fifth-grade field day, which are very real to elementary school students. This book encourages readers to view other students as worthwhile people, even--or perhaps especially--if they are unusual.

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He believes that stars fall from the sky sometimes, and that his mother goes around collecting them like acorns. He believes she has to use heavy gloves and dark sunglasses because the fallen stars are so hot and shiny. She puts them in the freezer for forty-five minutes, and when they come out they are flat and silver and sticky on the back and ready for his shirts."
  p. 27

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Open-Mindedness
  • Conformity vs. Individualism
  • Bullying
  • Thinking Outside the Box

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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