Pinballs

Byars, Betsy, The Pinballs. New York: HarperTrophy, 1977.

Reason read: November is National Adoption Month and even though The Pinballs is about fostering, the spirit of taking care of children is what it is important.

Even though this was written with children in mind, I found myself getting emotional reading this story about three children in foster care. One child had been raised by elderly twins and doesn’t even know his real birth date or age. The second child had both of his legs broken when his dad in a drunken rage “accidentally” ran over them. The third child, the one with the most personality, was abandoned by her parents and comes across as very jaded about the whole system. She is the one who came up with the nickname “pinballs” because they were bounced around the system exactly like pinballs, with no control over their destinies. It takes some time and some hard lessons learned before each child realizes they are not pinballs.

Author fact: Byars won both the Newbery Award (1971) and the National Book Award (1981).

Book trivia: Pinballs was made into an ABC-TV Afterschool Special back when those things were The Thing.

Nancy said: Girls would enjoy The Pinballs better than the boys.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Best for Boys and Girls” (p 21).



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