The Dollar Kids

THE DOLLAR KIDS

Jennifer Richard Jacobson & Ryan Andrews (Illustrator)

When a family buys a house in a struggling town for just one dollar, they’re hoping to start over — but have they traded one set of problems for another?

Twelve-year-old Lowen Grover, a budding comic-book artist, is still reeling from the shooting death of his friend Abe when he stumbles across an article about a former mill town giving away homes for just one dollar. It not only seems like the perfect escape from Flintlock and all of the awful memories associated with the city, but an opportunity for his mum to run her very own business.

more …

When a family buys a house in a struggling town for just one dollar, they’re hoping to start over — but have they traded one set of problems for another?

Twelve-year-old Lowen Grover, a budding comic-book artist, is still reeling from the shooting death of his friend Abe when he stumbles across an article about a former mill town giving away homes for just one dollar. It not only seems like the perfect escape from Flintlock and all of the awful memories associated with the city, but an opportunity for his mum to run her very own business. Fortunately, his family is willing to give it a try. But is the Dollar Program too good to be true? The homes are in horrible shape, and the locals are less than welcoming. Will Millville and the dollar house be the answer to the Grovers’ troubles? Or will they find they’ve traded one set of problems for another? From the author of Small as an Elephant and Paper Things comes a heart-tugging novel about guilt and grief, family and friendship, and, above all, community.

less …
  • Candlewick Press
  • Paperback
  • August 2018
  • 416 Pages
  • 9780763694746

Buy the Book

$17.99

indies Bookstore indies Bookstore

About Jennifer Richard Jacobson & Ryan Andrews (Illustrator)

Jennifer JacobsonJennifer Richard Jacobson is the author of several books for children and young adults, including the middle-grade novels Small as an Elephant and Paper Things,and the Andy Shane early chapter books, illustrated by Abby Carter. She lives in Maine.

Author Website

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan AndrewsRyan Andrews is a comics artist and illustrator living in Fukuoka, Japan. Two of his web comics have been nominated for Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

Artist Website

Praise

“Jacobson insightfully examines the dynamics of small-town life and strategies for revitalization as well as the landscape of Lowen’s complex grief and survivor’s guilt…A rich, thoughtful exploration of individual and community resilience.”Kirkus Reviews

“Jacobson memorably sketches Lowen’s family dynamics, particularly his complicated relationship with his older brother, and his journey offers a compelling portrait of community and rebirth. Andrews’s comics panels, which appear at several key intervals in the text, offer further insight into Lowen’s struggles, particularly his grief over Abe’s death.”Publishers Weekly

Essay

From the Author

The seeds for The Dollar Kids were planted in 2012. It was the year I married my awesome husband and the year my dear mother died. It was a year of writing with kids all across the country and the year twenty young children were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Right after the shooting, I was ruminating about Adam Lanza, the killer (not much more than a boy himself), and wondered what he thought his rampage would accomplish. Surely, I thought, he must not believe in an afterlife. But what if there is an afterlife? What if Adam wakes up in a room with his mother (whom he shot) and the twenty six- and seven-year-olds? What would happen next? That image is in one of the early cartoons in The Dollar Kids.

Like me, Lowen Grover (my twelve-year-old protagonist) and his family alternate between grief and hope. When the opportunity arises to purchase an old home in a rural area for one dollar, they take the plunge. For Lowen’s parents, the move promises the fulfillment of dreams. But Lowen, who suffers from guilt in addition to grief, is simply in need of an escape.

Of course, escape is never as easy as we think it will be.

I set the story in a former mill town much like the one my husband grew up in. At first glance, the townsfolk and the dollar families have little in common other than their seeming desire for change. Yet one group pines for change in the form of reinvention, and the other clings to the hope that things will go back to the way they used to be. Both have to rise above their indignations.

All of us (yes, even children) struggle with the opposing forces of more and enough, happiness and sadness, hope and despair. I wrote this story to remind us that our joy depends upon our willingness to embrace change . . . that we’re all more alike than we are different . . . and that anything is possible if we hold hands.