The Seventh Most Important Thing / Shelley Pearsall

1963 was not only the year of President Kennedy’s assassination, but for 13-year-old Arthur Owens, it was the year his dad died. Arthur throws a brick at the neighborhood’s “junk man” in a fit of rage after seeing him wearing his father’s old hat. A judge sentences him to 120 hours of community service, helping the mysterious junk man with a very special project that reveals a lot more about this man who picks through the neighborhood trash than Arthur realized. As he helps collect the junk man’s “seven important things,” he unknowingly learns about the seven most important lessons in life. This story is inspired by the work of American folk artist James Hampton. Recommended for grades 5 & up.

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