Best Bad Luck I Ever Had
by Levine, Kristin

In Moundville, Alabama, in 1917, twelve-year-old Dit hopes the new postmaster will have a son his age, but instead he meets Emma, who is black, and their friendship challenges accepted ways of thinking and leads them to save the life of a condemned man.

Kristin Levine lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and daughter. This is her first novel.

While most of the residents in the tiny, World War I-era Moundville, Alabama, are shocked that their new postmaster is African American, Dit is simply surprised that said postmaster s child turns out to be a girl, not the boy his own age he was expecting. Bookish, timid Emma can hardly fill the role of fellow adventurer and baseball player that easygoing Dit, with more than a trace of a Huck Finn-like charm, had his heart set on. In unexpected ways, though, the unlikely twosome cross each other s paths and slowly build a partnership of complementary strengths. When Jim Crow rears its ugly head in the person of the menacing and blatantly racist sheriff, Emma and Dit embark on a risky adventure to save the life of a man sentenced to hang on trumped-up charges. Levine s story treats racism frankly and with no mincing of words. The highlight of this coming-of-age journey comes from watching the two kids learn about the world and come to care about each other in the way of 13-year-olds. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

When 12-year-old Emma Walker comes to Moundville, Ala., with her father, the new postmaster, Harry "Dit" Sims feels it's "the worst piece of bad luck" he's ever had. He was hoping for a boy to play ball with but got a "colored" girl instead. But he teaches her to throw and hit a baseball and how to dig a cave, and she teaches him about math and books. Gradually they become best friends and even allies in the rescue of a black barber unjustly jailed and sentenced to hang. Levine draws on her grandfather's recollections to skillfully delineate the nuances of race relations in a small Southern town in 1917, where kindness and politeness sometimes trumped prejudice and ordinary people found ways to treat each other decently. Dit and Emma are likable protagonists, and the growth of their friendship, along with Dit's emerging moral conscience, make this a fine debut novel by an author to watch. (Historical fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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