The Lucky Ones by Linda Williams Jackson


The Lucky Ones by Linda Williams Jackson. Candlewick Press, 2022. 9781536222555 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

Genre:  Historic Fiction

What did you like about the book? It is hard to concentrate when you are worried about where and when you will get  your next meal. Ellis Earl lives with his family in a broken-down excuse of a house that barely stays standing.  With eleven mouths to feed, he is usually distracted by thoughts of when his family will eat next.  All of his older siblings have left school to support the family, yet he is determined to stay and follow the dictates of his teacher, Mr. Foster.  Taking place in Wilson Mississippi in 1967, this story brings into focus some civil rights issues and activists that were in the news, such as RFK and Marian Wright (soon to be Marian Wright Edelman). This engaging and well written book will connect readers to Ellis Earl, how he tries to do what is right and look after his family even when it comes to depriving himself.  His plight, unfortunately all too real, will give hope that situations can change for the better. Backmatter includes author information about RFK’s visit to the South on the behest of Marian Wright.  Because of its engaging text and focus on such a significant time in history, this novel would be a helpful addition to any curriculum on civil rights or child welfare.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The ending is a bit pat and comes together neatly for Ellis Earl and his family; however, the story does mention that other families in the book do not share the same happy ending.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Readers, in grades 4 and up, who enjoy historic fiction or other books by this author,such as Midnight Without a Moon or Sky Full of Stars would like this title.  

Who should buy this book? This would be a good purchase for upper elementary schools or public libraries that are looking for historical fiction based on the civil rights movement.

Where would you shelve it? Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? I feel that this title would reside at the top of the “to read” pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Elena Schuck, Nathaniel H. Wixon School Library, Dennis, Massachusetts

Date of review: May 15, 2022

This entry was posted in *Book Review, *Starred Review, African Americans, Civil Rights, Historical fiction, Linda Williams Jackson, Middle grade novel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.