THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

Stories About Sons, Fathers, and Grandfathers

Avi

Luke sees the ghost of his father but can’t figure out what Dad wants him to do. Paul takes a camping trip with the grandfather he’s just met and discovers what lies behind the man’s erratic behavior. Ryan has some surprising questions when he interviews his prospective stepfather for the job. In a compellingly honest collection of stories, multiple-award-winning author Avi introduces seven boys — boys with fathers at home and boys whose fathers have left, boys who spend most of their time with their grandfathers and boys who would rather spend time with anyone but the men in their lives.

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Luke sees the ghost of his father but can’t figure out what Dad wants him to do. Paul takes a camping trip with the grandfather he’s just met and discovers what lies behind the man’s erratic behavior. Ryan has some surprising questions when he interviews his prospective stepfather for the job. In a compellingly honest collection of stories, multiple-award-winning author Avi introduces seven boys — boys with fathers at home and boys whose fathers have left, boys who spend most of their time with their grandfathers and boys who would rather spend time with anyone but the men in their lives. By turns heartbreaking, hopeful, and funny, the stories show us boys seeking acceptance, guidance, or just someone to look up to. Each one shines a different light on the question “What is the most important thing a father can do for his son?”

One of the most beloved writers of our time presents seven short stories exploring the vital ties between fathers and sons.

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  • Candlewick Press
  • Hardcover
  • April 2016
  • 224 Pages
  • 9780763681111

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$16.99

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About Avi

Avi is one of the most celebrated authors writing for children today, having received the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the Scott O’Dell Award, the Christopher Award, the Newbery Medal, and two Newbery Honors. He lives in Colorado.

Praise

“Seven short stories, some written in first person, some in third, offer glimpses into the lives of seven middle-school boys as they navigate complicated relationships with fathers and grandfathers…“What is the most important thing a father can do for his son?” The stories don’t directly answer the question, but they do show the consequences of a father’s absence, either physically or emotionally, and the varied ways boys find to compensate for the loss. “Be there,” the stories seem to say to fathers and grandfathers.”The Horn Book

“Together, these offerings weave a picture of the relationships that can develop between teenage boys and their fathers and grandfathers—or the lack thereof…readers who take a chance on this collection will be rewarded.”—School Library Journal

Avi’s deft incorporation of humor, heartache, and the occasional touch of the supernatural will draw readers in as they ponder how family ties bind in both positive and negative ways.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Avi’s septuplet of stories suggests that the best thing you can do for your son might just be to hope you’ve somehow given him the tools to evolve into an adult who will love and understand you on the other side. Though this is tuned to the XY frequency, don’t discount it as a book for daughters who value such beautiful prose as “Now, snow drifting down, slowly, steadily, each flake the ghost of a leaf.” What Oedipus didn’t know about the intricacies of father/son kinship could fill a book—and has.—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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