- Age Range: 10 - 14 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 9
- Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Dial Books; 1ST edition (August 29, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0803738552
- ISBN-13: 978-0803738553
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 695 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#42,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #78 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Difficult Discussions > Death & Dying
- #116 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Family Life > Orphans & Foster Homes
- #498 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Girls & Women
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Counting by 7s Hardcover – August 29, 2013
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Amazon Best Books of 2013 : Counting by 7's is a delightful, powerful, and beautifully written book that I can’t forget and want to give to everyone around me. Holly Goldberg Sloan's quirky characters nestle into your heart and stay there, particularly 12-year-old Willow Chance. A young genius obsessed with the number seven, plants, and diagnosing medical conditions (especially skin disorders that she can surreptitiously photograph) Willow is a true outsider looking for a way in. Her parents tether her to the world, and when they are killed in a car crash Willow’s comfortable sphere is shattered. Though a tragedy, the loss of her parents is also Willow’s entry into the lives of others. The bond she forms with an unlikely cast of characters is heartfelt and transformative. Like Willow’s beloved plants, these are people putting down new roots and rising toward the sun. --Seira Wilson
From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–Twelve-year-old Willow Chase lived with her adoptive parents in Bakersfield, California. There in the midst of the high desert, she grew a garden in her backyard, her sanctuary. She was excited about starting a new school, hoping this time she might fit in, might find a friend. Willow had been identified in preschool as highly gifted, most of the time causing confusion and feelings of ineptness in her teachers. Now at her new school she is accused of cheating because no one has ever finished the state proficiency test in just 17 minutes, let alone gotten a perfect score. Her reward is behavioral counseling with Dell Duke, an ineffectual counselor with organizational and social issues of his own. She does make a friend when Mai Nguyen brings her brother, Quang-ha, to his appointment, and their lives begin to intertwine when Willow's parents are killed in an auto accident. For the second time in her life she is an orphan, forced to find a “new normal.” She is taken in temporarily by Mai's mother, who must stay ahead of Social Services. While Willow sees herself as just an observer, trying to figure out the social norms of regular family life, she is actually a catalyst for change, bringing together unsuspecting people and changing their lives forever. The narration cleverly shifts among characters as the story evolves. Willow's philosophical and intellectual observations contrast with Quang-ha's typical teenage boy obsessions and the struggles of a Vietnamese family fighting to live above the poverty level. Willow's story is one of renewal, and her journey of rebuilding the ties that unite people as a family will stay in readers' hearts long after the last page.–Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OHα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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I loved Willow. I liked her observations about life and people. I thought all of the characters were wonderful even though they all had their flaws. Dell, the school counselor is horribly inept which I found to be a unique twist on this type of story. Normally, I would expect that the school counselor would be the hero, helping Willow cope with the loss of her parents. Instead, Willow is the one helping him. That’s a running theme in this story – Willow gets support from a variety of people but she teaches them all things too. It’s a two-way street.
I really appreciated the fact that there were several characters of color in this book, including Willow herself. It’s nice to see diversity in any book but especially in one for children.
This book was a selection for the Intergenerational Book Club my sons and I belong too. Ideas for theme related snacks included seven-layer dip and seven-layer cake. The book club is through the Unitarian Universalist church that my family attends. UUs have seven principles that we strive to live by so part of our discussion included which of the seven principles are represented in the book. (If you look at the principles on the UUA’s website you’ll probably notice that they seem pretty wordy for middle-grade kids to understand. We have more simplified versions of the them that the kids learn in Sunday school.) Anyway, I’m not trying to proselytize – I just thought it was neat that they tied into our discussion so well because there are seven of them.
Counting by 7s is a powerful story about family, community and the power of love. Highly recommended for kids of all ages.
We are (mostly) loving this book. Reading it as a family (ages 15 - 9). Some of the language is a little challenging and occasionally the eldest child (surprisingly) complains that she can't follow the story, or doesn't understand the words. The younger ones have no problem with it. The characters are interesting and the narrative is witty and engaging. The narrative is from the point of view of different people in different chapters. About 50% is from the perspective of the protagonist, Willow Chance. There is one small hiccup in the chronological flow, but nothing too challenging. The death of the parents is handled well, and hasn't traumatized the more sensitive children in the family. Sometimes the kids (and the adults) will laugh out loud at the humor.
I've never been one to pick apart books. I read for the sake of the story; to get lost in the life and experiences of another. I read so that I can recommend these books to my students. I believe that as long as a story is entertaining, and a person can relate to the characters - get lost in their lives; relate to them - then the book does what it's supposed to do. I think that anyone who enjoys realistic fiction would find this a really interesting read. I definitely recommend it!