Spring 2022

When Lightnin' Struck

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 7
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

It’s 1928 in Odessa, Texas, and eleven-year-old James is struggling to find his purpose in life and to uncover a family secret. With his father struck dead by lightning and his mother in jail, he is taken in by his grandparents. Treated as a pariah at school, James is taunted as being cursed by his family’s bad luck. But he finds a friend in Paul, a Russian immigrant, who is also treated as an outcast, and together, they battle the school bully. But James’s life is turned upside-down yet again when he uncovers a family secret involving his beloved grandmother. His discovery leads him to find the sense of purpose he’s been seeking.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 7
Reading Level Grade 4
Genre Fiction
Copyright 2022
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 272
Publication Date 2022-02-01
Text Type Fiction—Historical
BISACS JUV039060, JUV033020, JUV039230
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, and Reviewed


Midwest Book Review

“Original, deftly crafted, entertaining, thought-provoking with its underlying message about bullying” — Midwest Book Review

Joyce Moyer Hostetter

When Lightnin’ Struck weaves tragedy, bullying, and family secrets into a riveting adventure. A small story with Texas-sized heart!”—Joyce Moyer Hostetter, author of Blue

Susan Goldman Rubin

“Adventures unfold and suspense builds…in this warm, engaging story that hinges on a little-known period of Jewish history.”—Susan Goldman Rubin, author of Sing and Shout: The Mighty Voice of Paul Robeson and The Quilts of Gee’s Bend

Susan Patron

“A keenly observed and timely story of a Texas boy’s discovery of deeply buried family secrets—and of his own humanity.”—Susan Patron, winner of the Newbery Award for The Higher Power of Lucky

Author: Betsy R. Rosenthal

Before Betsy R. Rosenthal was a writer, she was a civil rights lawyer. She lives with her husband and three children in Pacific Palisades, California. To learn more about Betsy, visit her at www.BetsyRosenthal.com.