Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Seventh Most Important Thing” as Want to Read:
The Seventh Most Important Thing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Seventh Most Important Thing

by
4.07  ·  Rating details ·  6,653 ratings  ·  988 reviews
It was a bitterly cold day when Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie for the foreseeable future. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community servic ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Seventh Most Important Thing, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Paxie In the beginning, as Arthur was going to the court, the judge calls out the junk man to be named, "James Hampton."
Sarah T. The story takes place in Washington D.C.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,653 ratings  ·  988 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Seventh Most Important Thing
Paige  Bookdragon

description

"Lots of people have done hell. Hell is easy to create. Heaven—that’s a whole different ball game,” Mr. Hampton continued. “It takes years. A lifetime. I have a lot left to do."

To be honest, I didn't know this book was inspired by the real-life The Throne of the Third Heaven by James Hampton. I didn't even know that that kind of art exists which gives you the idea that my knowledge of the 20th century arts is actually nonexistent.

Anyway, this is a middle grade book and it's fairly easy to read.
...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)


3.5 stars
The Seventh Most Important thing is one of those quite little understated works that nevertheless conveys an important message. It’s based on the life of James Hampton, a folk artist from the 1960’s, a janitor and a recluse intent on creating his vision of heaven from scraps. His life’s work, The Throne of the Third Heaven, made entirely out of foil, light bulbs, wood, mirrors and other items easily collected on the streets, was discovered posthumously and donated to the Smithsonian
...more
mytaakeonit
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A really interesting story, this book shows the power of redemption.
Michele Knott
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Loved the message. Loved the character development. Loved the last lines.
Recommended for upper middle grade.
Kristen (kaymaldo)
3.5 stars

I went into The Seventh Most Important Thing not knowing what to expect, but it wowed me. The book follows the story of Arthur, a boy who goes to juvie for throwing a brick at the "Junk Man" (Mr. Hampton) in his town. Following juvie, Artie finds himself stuck with community service…working for the very man he "attacked." Artie's not a bad kid, but he's dealt with a lot of pain lately, including losing his father. Arthur's job is to collect junk throughout the neighborhood, following a
...more
Lauren B8b
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is a great book if you like realistic fiction. However, I did not. The ending ended up good, but the rest of the book, I wasn't that interested. If you like realistic fiction, I definitely recommend this book to you!
Amanda - Cover2CoverMom
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
You can read all of my reviews on my blog -> Cover2CoverMom


I really adored this book.  At the core, The Seventh Most Important Thing is about not judging others, but it is also a story of loss, grief, guilt, and friendship.  I had no idea this book is based off of true events, though I won’t share which parts because it is better going in not knowing until the end like I did.  (view spoiler)
...more
Jonathan
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a really good book, it shows the power of being given a second chance and how you can do things for the better. Definitely recommend this to anyone, doesn't matter if you have a preference of genres/books. (I was so excited when I saw this as a Rebecca Caudill award nominee.)
Brody
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a story is about redemption through trash, I know that sounds weird but you will understand when you read it.
Amy
update: I am always wary when I like a book too much, because I am afraid my personal judgement can cloud teen reading value. As predicted, though, teens are clicking to this book and they are reading it quickly.... even "non-readers." All I did was read the first two pages out loud to them.

I loved this book so much I can't even. I am not going to bother with a plot or book talk for now. I am just going to kvell here and edit this mess later.

Reasons it's perfect for a seventh-grade boy:
1. An elu
...more
Tasha
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Arthur can’t stand that the junk man is wearing his father’s hat, so he throws a brick at the old man and injures him. Sent to juvenile detention, Arthur has to appear in court where the junk man steps up and offers him a choice. He can either be sentenced to detention or he can do community service working with the junk man. Arthur agrees to work for the man. When he starts, all he gets is a list of items to find in the garbage. Soon Arthur is digging through the garbage himself. At first he do ...more
Dana
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Oh so much wowness! When 13 year old Arthur, whose father recently passed away, threw a brick at the neighborhood junk man for wearing his father's hat and was sent to reform school, he had no idea that the junk man would be his source of redemption. Sentenced to help the junk man as his probation, Arthur learns that St. James, as he referred to himself was collecting junk - foil, cardboard, light bulbs and other items to create a work of art. That work of art is real and is shown at the end of ...more
Cathy
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book sucked me in from the first page. Although it was somewhat predictable, it was also engaging. I felt Arthur was believable in his emotions and his actions. I felt for him almost immediately. About halfway through the book I read the author's note and discovered that St. James (Hampton) was a real person, and his throne is real and displayed in the Smithsonian. That was a shock! When I finished the book, I looked him up online and saw color pictures of the throne. It's incredible! Just ...more
Lorenzo Rios
A young kid that has relied on his dad can now not. His anger beneath his skin, is shown tremendously. Until, he meets this Junk man that he connects to and puts Arthur into his place. With Arthur not quite understanding his life yet, he feels to question himself. His mom getting a boyfriend, and the Junk man dying. Has made days ruff. Arthur may be mixed up in the world but when he finds himself, he is his best person.
Hobbit
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a bitterly cold day when Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie for the foreseeable future. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service . . . working for him.
Mrs.
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy books about relationships especially between people who may not have ever been friends if not for some instigating event. That is what makes The Seventh Most Important Thing one of the best books I have read this year.
Scottsdale Public Library
This amazing novel starts strongly with the shocking incident of thirteen-year-old Arthur Owens inexplicably throwing a brick at the Junk Man, a trash picker often seen in Arthur's Washington DC neighborhood. Such a seemingly senseless begins to make sense, as the story continues. Arthur is ordered to complete 120 hours of community service, helping James Hampton (the Junk Man) by collecting discarded light bulbs, foil, mirrors, cardboard, pieces of wood, glass bottles and coffee cans, leaving t ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Arthur, upset with his father's death in 1963, throws a brick at the Junk Man who is wearing his father's hat, breaking the man's arm. He is sent to juvenile detention, but at his sentencing the Junk Man, James Hampton, requests that since he can't work with his arm broken, Arthur should help him out. When Arthur shows up at Hampton's garage (which he can find only with the help of a nearby tattoo parlor owner, Groovy Jim), he finds a note listing seven thi
...more
Brian
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
A young boy decides to throw a brick at the crazy man who drags a cart around town, picking up junk. Naturally, Arthur gets in trouble but the worst part is that he is sentenced to have to work for the very man that he injured. But will Arthur's crime end up changing his life for the better?

In this novel, we are treated to a spread of memorable characters. The book takes place in the past and focuses on the life of an artist that most of us knew nothing about. I thought that the main character
...more
Stefanie
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book climbed to the top of my favorites list very quickly! Arthur is a 13 year old boy whose story begins with the scene of him throwing a brick at the head of a "Junk Man" on the street that is pushing a shopping cart full of trash. Arthur serves time in juvenile detention and when he is released, his sentence is to work for the Junk Man. As these two characters are brought together, we learn the reasons behind both of their actions- why Arthur threw the brick and why the Junk Man collects ...more
Heather
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Arthur is a criminal. He threw a brick at a homeless man.

But wait, before you judge him, you need to know a few things. Things have been super hard for him lately. And I know that's not the best excuse, but...

Now Arthur has been sentenced to community service - and his assignment is to work with Mr. Hampton, the homeless man (junk man) that he threw the brick at.

An Mr. Hampton's assignment for him is odd. To go around the neighborhood collecting the 7 most important things: light bulbs, cardboa
...more
Holly Mueller
This book grabbed me at the first paragraph and never let go. I'm not quite sure what it was, but this story made me teary throughout the whole thing. Maybe it was Arthur's obvious pain, or the Junk Man's compassion, or that beautiful things can be made from ugly things, or that everything changes when you know someone's story, or that I love stories of redemption and spiritual thinking, or any number of qualities that make this book special. Whatever it was, it moved me. It reminded me of Nicke ...more
Kat☀️
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the emotion the author used to describe Arthur's feelings throughout the story. I think that the way he feels about all that is going on in his life is a good way to think about everything from a somewhat different perspective then you might have had when you first read the book. I also really enjoyed the authors note in the back. If yo are reading the book, I would recommend reading the authors note at the end.
Lexi F.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my view on our world. The way that some people are that generous to give people a second chance is amazing. This book made me think that we need to be more open minded and listen to people more that have ideas. This book makes you feel mixed emotions throughout the entire book. At times the book can be a little slow, but when you keep reading most of the parts are a page turner and you never want to put the book down.
Marcusplusplusplusmrxusplusmarxusplus
It was a bitterly cold day when Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie for the foreseeable future. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service . . . working for him.
zane deann
Apr 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Ummmm... Cute story, but something's so obviously missing. How can you have heaven without God? (Spoiler: You can't.) God was so blatantly not there in this story. I'm docking one star for that reason, and another star for the bad language used a few times throughout the book.
Emma
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
It was really good! It was a bit slow though. I liked the connection between Arthur and Mr. Hampton. It gives you a feeling that the moral/heart of the story is always coming. Or that Arthur might have a a mistake with Hampton's life....... You'll see.
Rebecca McNutt
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A book with an important lesson masked within a fabulous story of redemption and maturity, The Seventh Most Important Thing is a completely original and amazing book.
Гарретт mcneilly
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
this a very good book about a kid who has to help a mad but by the end he just wants to
Beth Honeycutt
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely story based on a piece of art, "The Throne of the Third Heaven", which is in the Smithsonian Museum. I will definitely share this book with students!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lost in the Sun
  • All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
  • House Arrest (House Arrest, #1)
  • Full Cicada Moon
  • Goodbye Stranger
  • Top Prospect
  • Listen, Slowly
  • Lily and Dunkin
  • Restart
  • Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story
  • Saving Red
  • The Thing About Jellyfish
  • Orbiting Jupiter
  • Booked
  • Backfield Boys
  • Stella by Starlight
  • Fish in a Tree
  • Fuzzy Mud
See similar books…
121 followers
I grew up in a blue-collar suburb of Cleveland called Parma where I used to write stories in a bedroom closet (aka my writer’s office). I tried to get my first novel – a 40 page handwritten story called “I am the Only One Left” - published when I was thirteen. As you can probably guess, it was rejected!

It took about twenty years before I finally had my first published book, Trouble Don’t Last (Kno
...more

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
29 likes · 24 comments
“Some angels are like peacocks. Others are less flashy. Like city pigeons. It all depends on the wings.” 10 likes
More quotes…