Planet Jupiter

Planet JupiterPlanet Jupiter by Jane Kurtz. 2017. Reading Level: Ages 8-12; grade level 3-7. 288 pages. Greenwillow Books. ISBN: 978-0-06-056486-5.

Jupiter and her family have spent their lives on the road, moving from town to town in a trusty old van, making do, and earning their living busking for tourists. But when their van breaks down, Jupiter's motehr rents an actual house in Portland for the summer so that Jupiter's annoying cousin Edom, recently adopted from Ethiopia, can stay with them. Luckily, Edom doesn't want to be in Portland any more than Jupiter wants her there, and the two hatch a plan to send Edom back to her mother. In the porcess, Jupiter learns that community -- and family -- aren't always what you expect them to be.

"United in their determination to leave Portland, [Jupiter and Edom] hatch plans to earn money for bus tickets even as, despite themselves, they put down tentative roots...The vivid characters and fascinating urban village they inhabit . . . hold readers' interest throughout. A solid middle-grade family story." ~ Kirkus Reviews

"Playful yet introspective…Kurtz subtly conveys the girls' underlying fears of abandonment, as well as the idiosyncratic but determined efforts of Jupiter's mother and her friend Topher to provide a "forever family" for the children. A host of quirky and appealing characters rounds out this engaging, empathetic story." ~ Publishers Weekly

"Fifth-grader Jupiter and her family are free spirits...Jupiter has a fresh voice that extols being unburdened, even as the story shows her that sometimes adding is better than subtracting." ~Booklist

"This story dazzled me with its originality, its voice, its witty dialogue. But as expected, it was the heart that sent me rocketing.  For as Jupiter allows herself to become vulnerable, as she begins to acknowledge her feelings of abandonment and communicates her desire to have more connectivity in her sphere, we too feel our world spin, our universe grow bigger." ~ Jennifer Richard Jacobson Read the full review on the Nerdy Book Club pages.

Curriculum Connections