Counting By 7s

Written by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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This beautifully written story of 12 year old Willow Chance is understandably an Amazon Best Book of the Year. It is filled with truth, hope, and love.

Even though Willow is a genius, it still totally destroys her world when her parents are unexpectedly killed in an automobile accident, as it would for any of us.

For a time, her obsession with the number 7, and all things about plants help her to keep things in focus as she descends inside her personal shell.

An acquaintance that she met in the school counselor’s office takes Willow home with her when she hears about the accident. Only then does Willow realize that some people live in conditions very different from her own. Mai has taken her home to live with them in the garage.

Through many interesting and interconnected events an assortment of people become friends and rely upon one another as family members often do. The extra steps they all take to help care for Willow brings out strengths and qualities they didn’t know they had.

It is a heart breaking story for a while, but then the tiny roots and shoots of hope spring out as this unusual assortment of people save a community garden as well as a young girl.

The short sentences, compact scenes and brief dialogue make this a strong independent read for grade five students. The multi-cultural make-up of the supporting characters would help in meeting core curriculum standards as would the realistic societal differences between them. It is a wonderful story that would hold meaning for readers far beyond grade five.

  • Counting by 7sTitle: Counting By 7s
  • Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
  • ISBN: 978-0803738553
  • Publisher: Dial, August 2013
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

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