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READALICIOUS! Books for Tweens

The Last Newspaper Boy in America, by Sue Corbett

If you enjoy a little mystery in your realistic fiction, if you believe that everyone should have access to important events, if you enjoy cheering on the underdog... then THE LAST NEWSPAPER BOY IN AMERICA, by Sue Corbett, is for you. This book attracted my attention because I'm saddened by the decline of real newspapers (the kind I can hold).

The main character, Wilson Glen David the fifth, and his family live in the rural town of Steele—thus his nickname: "Wil of Steele." On his 12th birthday, Wil looks forward to taking over the family tradition of delivering the paper to Steele residents. Like his brothers, father, and grandfather before him, he has an uncanny accuracy for tossing newspapers from his bike. That skill should help him earn the money to buy a laptop computer.

Then, the news is released that the The Caller will be ending delivery to Steele. Wil gets to work to reverse that decision.

In the meantime, a carnival comes to town and Wil has a chance to win $1,000 at a tossing game. However, the carny, Carl, or Curly (hmmm, what is his real name?) is up to some shenanigans (which means "trouble" to you non-Irish types). Wil applies the scientific method to solve the mystery and try to win the $1,000.

Being a newspaper carrier was very common when I was a kid, and you could make a lot of money! Here's what one of my students wrote:

I think that the job of newspaper boy/girl is a fun job for a kid to have. Here are some reasons why. First, it is fun to toss newspapers out a car window, onto a driveway. Second, you get paid about $40 to do the route and some nice and generous people give you tips, but only if you do a good job. Third, it is fun to stuff the newspapers into plastic bags in case it rains. Finally, I learned about being a newspaper boy when I was able to do a few routes with my friend and we had so much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I worked a lot of odd jobs to make spare change and, like Wil, saved up for something special—like going to the carnival every summer.

Now, I wonder: How do kids earn money nowadays? I would love to hear from you!

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