cover image for LoserSpinelli, J. (2002) Loser.  New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.


Donald Zinkoff isn’t quite like other children.  They don’t notice this at first, because when you are small, everyone is a little strange.  But as Zinkoff moves from kindergarten to first to second and then all the way up through fifth grade, it becomes harder for everyone to ignore.  Even Zinkoff himself, who used to never care that he was a little out of step with his classmates, suddenly wishes he could be just a little bit more like all the other kids.

Mellow and off-beat, like Zinkoff himself, Spinelli’s tale of an out of sync boy and his growing realization of how his peers perceive him will resonate with any tween who ever felt like they too, are a loser.  By ending on a minor triumph, the book may frustrate some who were expecting a flashier ending.  The resolution fits the tale, however, and its realism is more inspiring than any fireworks studded Hollywood ending.

Best for ages 8-12

Author website: http://www.jerryspinelli.com/


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