The Seventh Most Important Thing
Setting: Washington D.C. 1963
Also available in audio
MakerSpace, Art and Artists, Family and Community.
Recommended for Grades 5 to 8.
THE SEVENTH MOST IMPORTANT THING
Available in paperback, ebook, and audio
One kid. One crime. One chance to make things right.
The story of how a random act of violence brings together an angry, thirteen year old boy and a reclusive “Junk Man” in his neighborhood. When the teenager is sentenced to work for the man he injured, he begins to unravel the Junk Man’s surprising secrets. Readers will be uplifted by this powerful tale of friendship, loss, art, and redemption. Can art transform lives? Find out.
ALA NOTABLE Children's Book selection
2022 October Book Club selection
2016 ALA Notable Children’s Book
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year
ILA Teachers’ Choice
Bank Street Best Book, Outstanding Merit
Booklist Top 10 Historical Fiction 2016
2016 Ohioana Book Award Winner
New York Public Library Top 100
Junior Library Guild selection
Capitol Choice (D.C.) Noteworthy Book
State Book Award nominee: Vermont, Missouri (MASL), Indiana, Maine, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Kansas, Michigan, Connecticut, Arkansas, Arizona and Nebraska.
Want to know more about the real Hampton's Throne? Watch a video talk by Smithsonian curator Helen Ingalls
Kirkus Reviews, starred
“A moving exploration of how there is often so much more than meets the eye.” Booklist, starred
“Shelley Pearsall tells a sumptuously layered tale of transformation.” School Library Journal feature, starred
Seven Classroom Ideas
1. Build a unique "throne" or other sculptures from discarded items.
2. Create 7-Minute Mini-Sculptures: Give teams of students a sandwich bag with 7 items inspired by the list in the book (eg: Christmas lights, foil, cardboard, bottle cap, coffee filter, etc.), plus scissors, tape, markers. Set a 7-minute time limit for creating a mini-sculpture. Display.
3. Write a short narrative using one of these story starters: a character who develops wings, the theme of FEAR NOT, or trash turned to treasure. Ideas from Harmon MS, OH.
4. Paint “cardboard quotes” and display. Idea from Berner MS, NY.
5. Give each student seven paper towel rings to display seven objects, pictures, or drawings that symbolize “important things” in their lives. Idea from Bigelow MS, MA.
6. Create Vision Boards sharing your interests, thoughts, quotes, and visions for your future. Idea from Morton Grove Public Library, IL.
7. Try out some of the wonderful ideas on this site for encouraging friendship and empathy among middle school students.