Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

Book Summary

Lucky and most of the other 42 citizens in Hard Pan, California don't have much money.  Lucky does have a lot of dreams--like becoming a scientist, or creating a special museum to bring more people to town, or writing a book about how to parent a girl.  She also has some worries, like finding her Higher Power, and whether Brigitte, her guardian, is going to stay with her.

The Higher Power of Lucky book cover
The Higher Power of Lucky

Book Review

The audience for this book is problematic.  The young protagonist is dealing with adult issues, but we see them through her (sometimes) naive interpretations.  Lucky is ten, but readers of the same age are unlikely to appreciate or be ready for the content in this story. For example, she listens to members of Alcoholics Anonymous tell "rock bottom" stories outside of their meeting hall. In many ways, this book is best suited for adults, as a charming reminder that children have important worries and often struggle to feel like they have any control over their lives.

The author's strongest work in this book is in the relationship between Lucky and Milo, a five-year-old who visits frequently, seeking conversation and cookies.  Lucky's worries that her guardian, Brigitte, will give up on her and go back to France are also realistically crafted.  As Lucky comes to terms with her mother's death (she has kept the urn with her mother's remains) and her father's absence, this book is an unusual balance of light writing skipping across weighty subjects.

left 3D quotation mark

Maybe if Brigitte realized that one day Lucky would be a world-famous scientist like Charles Darwin, she would stop missing France all the time."
p. 43

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Loss of a Parent and Absent Parent
  • Small Towns
  • Growing Up
  • Dreams

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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