ONE THING I'M GOOD AT by Karen Lynn Williams


Age Range: 8 - 10
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Fourth-grader Julie Dorinsky believes herself a failure, even though she’s artistically talented and a whiz at marbles. For her, those things don’t count’she wants to be smart. Instead of joining the academically advanced kids on “Scholars Day,” Julie is stuck doing remedial work with the “dumb kids,” and a series of “poor work papers” are crumpled in her backpack, awaiting a parent’s signature. At home, Julie’s father is recovering from a heart attack and her mother has had to take a secretarial job to make ends meet, so the last thing Julie wants to do is upset the harried pair by admitting that she’s struggling at school—that she can barely read. In the course of the story Julie finds a new friend, Marlene, and discovers—predictably—that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Williams does a credible job presenting her protagonist’s confusion caused by her lack of reading ability, but the story falters in a somewhat contrived ending that turns Julie into a local hero. It may be difficult for readers to believe that the adults around Julie are unaware of her problems; her skills are too exceptionally minimal to go unnoticed. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-16846-9
Page count: 144pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1999