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The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had
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The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  1,778 ratings  ·  391 reviews
The last thing Harry "Dit" Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. Proper-talking, brainy Emma doesn?t play baseball or fish too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white. But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Toge ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published January 22nd 2009 by Putnam Publishing Group (first published January 9th 2009)
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Eleanor
Set in Moundville, Alabama in 1917 this charming juvenile novel was based on the author's grandfather's handwritten memoir.

Folks who didn't grow up in the South may not "buy" that children of different races played together and often became friends, and Levine's story captures perfectly the truth that among White Southerners there was (and still is) a vast difference between those who were (and are) unencumbered by prejudice, those who hold their prejudice inside and allow graciousness and good
...more
Candy Sparks
I loved this book so much. It really shows true friendship when friendships of that type was not allowed in 1918. I also love that kids were just kids and there were no electronics that took their time away from nature. I smiled and almost cried. It was just that good. GO NOW AND READ IT!

Alexis
May 29, 2009 Alexis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!!!!!!
Recommended to Alexis by: Me, myself, and I!
I AM NOT LYING ONE LITTLE BIT ABOUT THIS BOOK! I THOUGHT I WOULDN'T LIKE IT THAT MUCH, BUT I THOUGHT,'I'LL GIVE IT A SHOT.' It is the BEST BOOK i have ever READ! I AM NOT LYING! It is my new favorite book! It is set in the 1900's like the 1915's-1917's, and it was at a time when blacks and whites did not hang out with eachother. A boy named Dit (I know weird name) meets a "negra" which is what they called them, named Emma, and they become BEST friends. They are about 12 years old, and it tells a ...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Dit Sims lives in tiny Moundville, Alabama in 1917. He’s got nine brothers and sisters and his Dad routinely forgets his name. It’s summer, it’s hot and Dit’s best friend is away for the summer. When he finds out that a new postmaster is coming to town, Dit hopes the new postmaster, Mr. Walker, has a son close to his age that will want to go fishing and play baseball.

The postmaster comes, and Dit is disappointed to learn that he doesn’t bring a son, he brings prissy, brainiac Emma who always has
...more
Barb Middleton
I read this book last week and already can't remember the plot that well. I liked the book but obviously it was a forgettable. The story was entertaining if unbelievable. I think the author nails it better in "Lions of Little Rock," with a stronger emotional pull. Dit Sims lives in Alabama in 1917 with so many brothers and sisters, his dad forgets his name. When the new Post Master comes to town with his family, Dit becomes friends with their daughter, Emma. She's black and he's white. Problems ...more
Ayla
If you would like to read a book about two people that accidentally become friends then you should read this book. The genre is realistic fiction, this book is good because it was about two friends but nobody in their town approved of their friendship because of the color of their skin.This book takes place in 1917 in the town of Moundville.

Dit didn't like the new postman's daughter, Emma Walker, because she was black, rich and she seemed stuck up. But slowly they became friends and were togethe
...more
Jan
“I’ve been wrong before. Oh heck, if I’m being real honest, I’ve been wrong a lot. But I ain’t never been so wrong as I was about Emma Walker. When she first came to town, I thought she was the worst piece of bad luck I’d had since falling in the outhouse on my birthday.”

It’s the summer of 1917 in Moundville, Alabama. Harry “Dit” Sims can’t wait for the new postmaster Mr. Walker to arrive on the train from Boston with his family. He’s excited because he’s heard Mr. Walker has a twelve year old s
...more
Abdelhamid Fenniche
The 1

This story takes place somewhere in the South of the United States. It's in a rural town called Moundville. It's called mound ville because they are Indian mounds. It's a small town where not a lot happens. The story begins in June 1917. There is al lot os racism because the people who live there don't like the new black family that moves to the town. When the new family arrived " It got real quiet for a moment. Everyone stared a Mr. Walker. ". This shows racism in a small town at the begin
...more
Rachael
This book could use a makeover. Both the title and the cover (paperback edition) led me to believe that I was about to read a humorous, light-hearted middle grade adventure. It was a nice surprise that this turned out to be such a complex story- I just don't think the packaging is doing it a justice. This is a coming-of-age story about a young white boy, Dit, in rural Alabama who is disappointed when Emma, a black girl from Boston, moves in next door (apparently she is the 'bad luck' referenced ...more
Heidi
What a fabulous book! I was hooked by the first paragraph. Dit's voice is so strong in this book, I can't help completely loving him and loving watching his bit of coming of age. I loved seeing Emma through his eyes, as well as everything else. I loved the atmosphere I felt from the book. Amazing writing. Beautiful story complete with humor, honesty, innocence, knowledge, right v. wrong, tragedy, fear, courage, and much more. Knowing this is based on the author's grandfather's experiences, and I ...more
Stacy
I am always little conflicted when reviewing children's books. I generally have two opinions: my adult response and my "what-I-think-kids-will-think" response.

For children, the author very successfully presented the topic of race relations. The language was concise, accessible, and the story intriguing. The main character, Dit, was well developed. I liked that he didn't always make the right choice. I think kids will really respond to him and injustice presented in the plot.

On the flip (and adul
...more
Mary
In Moundville, AL in 1917, Harry Otis (Dit) Sims is one of 10 children in his family. He's frustrated that he can't seem to get his parents' attention, and he especially wants his father's approval. Dit is good at baseball and hunting with the "flip it" slingshot he made to shoot rocks. His best friend, Chip, is the mayor's son. When the town gets a new postmaster, Dit has high hopes that he'll have a son, but instead when the Walkers arrive by train from Boston, their only child is a girl about ...more
Beth Pearson
This quick read (maybe 3-4 hours?) was great. I kind of wanted to give it 5 stars, but the "It was amazing" part scared me. I decided maybe I was thinking 5 stars simply because I've read some crappy books lately. : ) Either way, I very much enjoyed it.

Apparently, I really like stories of race interactions as I've read a lot dealing with black vs. white. Add the South to it and place it before segregation ended and I really, really am interested to see what happens. The theory of it all is fasc
...more
Diane
Some book are just good literature and do not need the adjectival clause "young adult"; examples are The Book Thief and The Bog Child. Some probably need the clause but are still excellent literature; examples would be Holes or The Keeper. This book fits in neither category but is just typical young adult literature, mostly written in that over excited slangy style that we adults seem to think attracts young adults. The book is saved by having an interesting topic - racism in Alabama in about 19 ...more
Katie B.
Jan 03, 2014 Katie B. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to try reading more Historical-Fiction Books
This book kept me entertained throughout most of the story. There were a couple parts that seemed to just drag me along. I really thought this was a good book, but not 5 star worthy. The way it was written did make me amazed because I had to imagine all the research that Kristen Levine did to make this possible. I loved the book, it kept me entertained, and I would definitely recommend it to a friend. Now, I was not into Historical-Fiction books at all when I first started reading it. But now th ...more
Kellie
What a wonderful story. Two smart and very brave kids. I loved the reader of this - at times, he had a Forrest Gump sound to his voice. It was easy to like these characters and to really feel for what they were going through at that time. I know it's a part of history and the way things were back then, but it still makes me cringe to hear about people being so darn ignorant. Dit and Emma were certainly courageous; not only to be such good friends in the face of the prejudice of the time, but als ...more
alisonwonderland
Emma Walker moves to Moundville, Alabama, in 1917, and Harry "Dit" Sims' life is changed forever as he begins to see the world in more than black and white.

4 1/2 stars. I liked Levine's The Lions of Little Rock , which is set in the early days of the civil rights movement, more - but this one is fabulous too. Dit's voice is wonderful - read by Kirby Heybourne in the audio version - and I adored Emma.
...more
Emily C.
Kristin Levine is probably one of the best historical fiction writers I've ever had the privilege of reading her books. Seriously. I first read her second book, The Lions of Little Rock, when I was eleven (about two years ago now.) I've cherished it for a long time, and read it a good couple of times, too. Her characters' perspectives on black and whites in times that really weren't that long ago is incredibly written. The Best Luck I Ever Had was funny, and sweet, and innocent, and all good thi ...more
Alexis Mendez
Have you ever read a book with a people that didn't aprove of a certain friendship. Well this is the book for you. The genre is realistic fiction. This book is a good book because it talks about a forbidden friendship and why is it so complicated for them to be friends.
This takes place in Moundville, Alabama.The main characters are Harry " Dit" Sims and Emma Walker. They doughtfuly came friends. Dit likes to go enter in the fourth hunt but Emma thinks it is bad. Then Doc Haley gets put on tria
...more
Anna Mari
A July afternoon in 1918 in the town of Moundville, Al, the new postmaster and his family arrive. Dit is excited because the new postmaster generally means a new friend next door. He was surprised and disappointed when the new family arrived with just one child and she was a girl. To top it off, the family was not white and from Boston.

The story chronicles the friendship as it develops between Emma and Dit and how each comes to understand the other.

Change is difficult. In this era, race was a ha
...more
Jax
This was beyond my expectations. Although the story itself may seem a little dry and a little too similar to To Kill a Mockingbird, the writing and character development was phenomenal. It is especially interesting to see how the protagonist changes and realizes the eccentricity that prejudiced problems are commonly accepted in his conservative town. Unlike To Kill a Mockingbird, I enjoyed that there was a happy ending for the victim and that things ended up alright in the end even if it ended w ...more
Emily Rietz
4.5 stars! This was a wonderful story and a needed one for middle grade readers. I loved Levine's Lions of Little Rock, so I was eager to read her first. Both Dit and Emma's character evolution was honest and intriguing and I love the diversity in the characters throughout the book. Messages about loyalty, sacrifice, and wrestling with your true self and the impact people you choose to include in your life will linger with readers.

I deducted a half star for the occasional intentional fragments
...more
Anthony
Recommended by Kate Bogi

I have risen from the dead. Escaped all odds and made it back onto the planet we call Earth. And the first thing I did? I read this book. This book taught me a lot. It taught me that (possibly) a White and a Black could have gotten along back then. Need an example in the form of a review? Then here you go.

The Story: Dit, your average 12 year old in 1920, Hopes the new postman in town will have a son like him. What he gets is a dark girl named Emma. At first never even wan
...more
Y
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Anne Broyles
12-year-old Dit, a white boy in a small Alabama town in 1917, unexpectedly becomes friends with the new postmaster's daughter, Emma, who has very different interests and is African-American. This is a lovely tale of two strong, smart kids who face adversity, racism, and a challenge to save a man's life with wisdom, shared skills and inner fortitude. I liked that thought Dit's family had ten children, they were not "poor white trash" as some authors might have made them, and that both of Emma's p ...more
Debbie Tanner
My niece recommended this one to me and I just loved it. It's a story about a boy called Dit who is one of 10 children and is worried that no one notices him. The story is set in Alabama in 1918 and Dit is hoping the new postmaster will have a boy to play with. The big surprise is that the new postmaster doesn't have a son, he has a daughter and they are African Americans. To everyone's surprise, including his own, Dit becomes friends with Emma and things change in a big way. There are nice hist ...more
Kaitlin M
After reading The Lions of Little Rock (which I LOVED!!!) I was determind to read another book by Kristin Levine. When I started reading, I had a hard time getting into the book. Especially since I had just read a book with proper english and this book had a TON of country slang. At first I didn't like the plot but after I got passed the fourth chapter I was in love! I really like books where the main character is a better person at the end of the book. This book was one of those kind of storys. ...more
Janssen
This is almost a five star book for me. It was just so so good. Historical fiction at it's finest.
Betsy
Slow to start but the characters were so endearing it became a page turner.
Diane
"Dit" Sims often gets lost in his big family. He longs for the day when he and his dad can be alone for a few minutes and Dad can give him "the talk." His life changes drastically, though, when the Walker family comes to town. Mr. Walker is the new postmaster and he's black. And in 1917 Moundville Alabama, this doesn't go over well. But because of the philosophy of Dit's Mom, “You don’t have to like everyone, but you have to be nice to everyone,” he befriends Emma, Mr. Walker's daughter. Dit tak ...more
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YA Reads for Teac...: The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had - Kristin Levine 3 21 Mar 14, 2011 08:12AM  
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  • The Trouble with May Amelia (May Amelia, #2)
  • The Rock and the River (The Rock and the River, #1)
  • Small Acts of Amazing Courage
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  • Hattie Ever After (Hattie, #2)
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The Lions of Little Rock The Paper Cowboy

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“Then the Union forces burned the University of Alabama.' Uncle Wiggens opened and closed his fists, wriggling his fingers. I think they were supposed to be the flames, licking at the buildings. 'The Yankees didn't want you to have no education. If it hadn't been for General Lee, that's Robert E. Lee, mind you, none of you would be here today!” 3 likes
“We were almost back to the jail with our second load, and I was just beginning to think we might pull this off, when Uncle Wiggens wandered into the street.
'Who there?' he called out, his words slurred.
Emma ducked behind a tree, but I didn't move fast enough. 'Is that you, Dit?'
I nodded. Something was strange about him.
'What you doing out so late at night?' he asked.
'Nothing.' I figured out what was strange. 'Where's your leg?' I asked. His leg ended at the knee and he was hopping along on one leg and his cane.
'Left it at home,' said Uncle Wiggens. 'Always do when I'm sleepwalking. My daughter warned me about drinking a whole bottle of whiskey in one sitting. But I was never one to let a woman tell me what to do.'
'Yeah. Me neither.'
'Well,' said Uncle Wiggens, 'I'd best get on home before I wake up.'
'Yeah.'
'Being without my leg and all.'
'That would be embarrassing.'
'Sure would. Sure would.' Uncle Wiggens mumbled to himself as he wandered off. 'General Lee always said, if you ain't got all your supplies, don't ride into battle. Course he meant bullets, but he wouldn't have liked us going off without our legs neither. Course most of us have our legs buttoned on, but...”
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