Read The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall Online


It was a bitterly cold day when Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie for the foreseeable future. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community servicIt was a bitterly cold day when Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie for the foreseeable future. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service . . . working for him.Arthur is given a rickety shopping cart and a list of the Seven Most Important Things: glass bottles, foil, cardboard, pieces of wood, lightbulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors. He can’t believe it—is he really supposed to rummage through people’s trash? But it isn’t long before Arthur realizes there’s more to the Junk Man than meets the eye, and the “trash” he’s collecting is being transformed into something more precious than anyone could imagine. . . .Inspired by the work of American folk artist James Hampton....

Title : The Seventh Most Important Thing
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553497281
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Seventh Most Important Thing Reviews

  • PaigeBookdragon
    2018-08-26 02:35

    "Lots of people have done hell. Hell is easy to create. Heaven—that’s a whole different ball game,” Mr. Hampton continued. “It takes years. A lifetime. I have a lot left to do."To be honest, I didn't know this book was inspired by the real-life The Throne of the Third Heaven by James Hampton. I didn't even know that that kind of art exists which gives you the idea that my knowledge of the 20th century arts is actually nonexistent.Anyway, this is a middle grade book and it's fairly easy to read. The wordings were not an eyesore and the characters were what you expect on a middle grade book.The story began when Arthur threw a brick at the Junk Man. His reason? His Dad just died and his mom threw away his Dad's old hat, which he saw the Junk Man was wearing which caused him to throw the brick at the poor fella.If I pulled that shit, my mom would skin me alive. But let's give him an allowance because he's just a 13 year old boy who just lost his father.So instead of being sent into the juvie for probation, the Junk Man (not widely known as James Hampton) arranged that Arthur would spent his probation as the Junk Man's substitute. He gave him the 7 most important things to find and along the way, Arthur realizes some important life lessons.I love the fact that I imagine Morgan Freeman as James Hampton. This is an inspiring book that is perfect for a family time. This is the type of book that is suited for your wee kids. It's not that heavy and there's no hidden meaning that one need's to decipher.

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
    2018-09-05 21:03

    3.5 starsThe Seventh Most Important thing is one of those quite little understated works that nevertheless conveys an important message. It’s based on the life of James Hampton, a folk artist from the 1960’s, a janitor and a recluse intent on creating his vision of heaven from scraps. His life’s work, The Throne of the Third Heaven, made entirely out of foil, light bulbs, wood, mirrors and other items easily collected on the streets, was discovered posthumously and donated to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Hampton, who referred to himself as St. James, is a central character in this lovely little book, but while the story is based in his life and work, all the other characters are fictional. The story is essentially about a 13-year-old boy named Arthur, who has just lost his father and deals with grief in the only way he knows how. We all react to grief so differently and I love books that explore this and take it to unexpected places. In that, I felt that Arthur’s character was done perfectly, as were the others around him.The Seventh Most Important thing might be a Middle Grade book, but it’s a book for everyone, regardless of their age. The writing style is easy and purposely simplified to match the thought process of a young boy. But all beauty in those simple sentences, all those genuine emotions, make this one worth your time.

  • Heather Taake
    2018-09-05 20:42

    A really interesting story, this book shows the power of redemption.

  • Michele Knott
    2018-09-06 20:51

    I loved this book. Loved the message. Loved the character development. Loved the last lines. Recommended for upper middle grade.

  • Lauren B8b
    2018-09-15 23:00

    This book is a great book if you like realistic fiction. However, I did not. The ending ended up good, but the rest of the book, I wasn't that interested. If you like realistic fiction, I definitely recommend this book to you!

  • Kristen (kaymaldo)
    2018-09-10 22:03

    3.5 stars I went into The Seventh Most Important Thing not knowing what to expect, but it wowed me. The book follows the story of Arthur, a boy who goes to juvie for throwing a brick at the "Junk Man" (Mr. Hampton) in his town. Following juvie, Artie finds himself stuck with community service…working for the very man he "attacked." Artie's not a bad kid, but he's dealt with a lot of pain lately, including losing his father. Arthur's job is to collect junk throughout the neighborhood, following a list of Mr. Hampton's Seven Most Important Things (cardboard, lightbulbs, mirrors, foil, etc), but he doesn't know why. Throughout the story, each important thing on Mr. Hampton's list ends up playing an important part in Artie's life, helping him grow and redeem himself. I loved the connect there and thought it was a really interesting and smart choice to make. I enjoyed that this story had a heavy focus on friendship and on finding creative and helpful ways to deal with death and bottled up emotions. There's also a bit of a mystery aspect when it comes to figuring out why Mr. Hampton wants Artie to collect such specific "junk."At the end of this book, I learned that the plot was actually based on a real story and a real man with the same name. That made me like the story even more to know that while some of it was fictional to tell a compelling story, some of it was based on truth. I also realized after reading this book that it was set in the 1960s. While I think the story was universal, there could've been more emphasis on this because I honestly didn't even realize the book wasn't set in modern times until I noticed it was listed under "historical fiction" on GoodReads.I have received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.YouTube | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

  • Amanda - Cover2CoverMom
    2018-09-06 23:02

    You can read all of my reviews on my blog -> Cover2CoverMom I really adored this book.  At the core, The Seventh Most Important Thing is about not judging others, but it is also a story of loss, grief, guilt, and friendship.  I had no idea this book is based off of true events, though I won’t share which parts because it is better going in not knowing until the end like I did.  (view spoiler)[ This novel gives a fictionalized back story to the famous piece of art,  The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly by James Hampton.  I had never heard about this piece of art before, but I really enjoyed how the author spun this tale around it. (hide spoiler)] I think this would be a wonderful book to use in a classroom setting.  My only issue with this book would be the fact that it was set in the 1960’s, but I didn’t feel like I was in the 60’s while reading it.  There were a few references of the past: a record player, pay phones, going to the library to use the encyclopedia, but when I read “historical fiction” I want to feel like I’m in that time.  I wish the author would have spend a little more time “setting the scene.”  Other than that, this was a very unique and delightful read.

  • Jonathan
    2018-09-05 22:58

    This is a really good book, it shows the power of being given a second chance and how you can do things for the better. Definitely recommend this to anyone, doesn't matter if you have a preference of genres/books. (I was so excited when I saw this as a Rebecca Caudill award nominee.)

  • Ella Zegarra
    2018-09-16 22:38

    ok ¿cuándo empezamos con la producción de la película? ¿Morgan Freeman cuando llega al set?Este es el tipo de película que me hubiera encantado ver cuando era chica. Digo película, porque en ese tiempo no leía.Historias como esta le falta a los niños de esta época, algo sencillo con ese ligero toque de fantasía que lleva el libro a un nivel... *-*En serio, necesitamos películas basadas en libros como este y no solo para los niños.Original de: El Extraño Gato del CuentoTengo una malísima memoria, demasiado mala, da un poco de vergüenza de tan mala qué es. Entonces, para poder reseñar un libro, tiendo tomar apuntes, pero a veces, ni siquiera con eso es suficiente. Por lo que decidí sería buena idea hacer resúmenes en un cuaderno y así recordar el libro, sobre todo si es el de una serie. Fácil en teoría. Lo hice bastante rápido con Into a Million Pieces, luego lo intenté con The Seventh Most Important Thing... ya había terminado una hoja y no podía pasar del primer capítulo con tanto detalle que quería poner, le agregaba más y más y más. Al final no pude hacer un pequeño resumen, así de impresionante este es.Me gusta cuando los libros van directo al punto, este lo hace, empieza segundo antes que Arthur decida tirar la piedra. Yo sinceramente creí que la historia se desarrollaría únicamente alrededor del porqué, pero no.Se me hizo tan fácil ver The Seventh Most Important Thing adaptada a ese tipo de películas que ves de pequeñ@ y se vuelve tu favorita durante años, luego la olvidas para que de la nada de adulto re aparezca y vuelvas a recordar todo lo que la historia te conmovió.Tengo un lugar especial para las historias que tienen como protagonistas a ancianos y niños, lo comente una vez cuando tuve que vivir algo muy triste, siento un gran cariño por lo viejitos. Eso de "me llevo mejor con gente mayor que yo", lo llevó al extremo. Las abuelos tienen tanto que contar. Shelley Pearsall trae una historia real adaptada, Junk Man o Chatarrero, existió en la vida real, y sus siete cosas más importantes también. ¿Qué son? ¿Por qué lo son? Tienes que leer el libro.The Seventh Most Important Thing es de los libros que me dejan sin palabras, me emocionó demasiado poder leerlo, ojalá te animes a leer también, a pesar que no sé que escribí en esta reseña jajaja Twitter || Blog || Pinterest || Tumblr || Instagram || Facebook

  • Brody
    2018-08-28 00:53

    This is a story is about redemption through trash, I know that sounds weird but you will understand when you read it.

  • Amy
    2018-09-21 01:03

    update: I am always wary when I like a book too much, because I am afraid my personal judgement can cloud teen reading value. As predicted, though, teens are clicking to this book and they are reading it quickly.... even "non-readers." All I did was read the first two pages out loud to them.I loved this book so much I can't even. I am not going to bother with a plot or book talk for now. I am just going to kvell here and edit this mess later.Reasons it's perfect for a seventh-grade boy:1. An elusive cover absent of humans (particularly humans demonstrating any kind of emotion that's not horror from the blood dripping out of their guts) is a major plus.2. This book was totally made for middle school: reading level is very grades 4-8. (Plot starts on page 1, chapters are 3-5 pages long, paragraphs are 2-5 sentences long.) At the same time, I'd be reluctant to place this one in just any elementary school student's hands ... we're talking juvenile delinquents, alcoholism, and fundamental loneliness. Emotionally this book is more of grades 6-9 read.3. We have a male protagonist, Arthur, who is very much... a male in the sense that he feels obligated to be the "man" of the house. 4. There are a lot of terrific and warm characters in this book, but at no point does Arthur have a "gee willikers" insight about how awesome the people around him are and how much more he should appreciate them that make him permanently change his ways. Instead, he kind of takes his supporters for granted, and doesn't give much in return.... which is kind of how a sullen teenager who recently lost a father would behave. If there are any "gee willikers" moments in this book, they come too little, too late, and if anything make that overall positive narrative about taking nothing for granted into a tragic one.*I keep on thinking of this book as a hopeful book with an optimistic ending, but it's quite a tragic book too. It's tragic in the sense that life tragic, like that moment you realize that the joyfully rambunctious puppy you just bought from the pet store will one day no longer be a puppy and will instead be dead. Arthur is a fundamentally disconnected character: he was disconnected from his father while he was alive, was disconnected from his emotions, and even at the end of the story there are some hints that he is still somewhat disconnected from others even if he has been transformed by the process of artistic meaning-meaning. Just to give you an example of how this feels in the book: it takes somewhere until around the middle of the book for Arthur to admit to himself that he has no friends and kind of doesn't see the need to start looking. A less gifted writer would have made Arthur's wailings on about loneliness more central to the narrative, but here, it reminds us that truly lonely people don't often see themselves as exceptional in their friendlessness and don't often think themselves worthy of friends anyway. This book had a similar message to a middle-grades version of Glory O'Brien's History of the Future (that in a meaningless world, art can help us find ourselves and give us vision for a future we might not be able to imagine right now) and kind of reminded me of the "Who Lives Who Dies Who Tells Your Story" track from Hamilton on Broadway. Spiritual, searching, tear-jerking.

  • Dana
    2018-08-28 19:40

    Oh so much wowness! When 13 year old Arthur, whose father recently passed away, threw a brick at the neighborhood junk man for wearing his father's hat and was sent to reform school, he had no idea that the junk man would be his source of redemption. Sentenced to help the junk man as his probation, Arthur learns that St. James, as he referred to himself was collecting junk - foil, cardboard, light bulbs and other items to create a work of art. That work of art is real and is shown at the end of the book and is rather amazing in and of itself. I loved the story and the real life historical trash to treasure artwork tie-in. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

  • Lorenzo Rios
    2018-09-17 23:34

    A young kid that has relied on his dad can now not. His anger beneath his skin, is shown tremendously. Until, he meets this Junk man that he connects to and puts Arthur into his place. With Arthur not quite understanding his life yet, he feels to question himself. His mom getting a boyfriend, and the Junk man dying. Has made days ruff. Arthur may be mixed up in the world but when he finds himself, he is his best person.

  • Lexi F.
    2018-08-25 19:58

    This book changed my view on our world. The way that some people are that generous to give people a second chance is amazing. This book made me think that we need to be more open minded and listen to people more that have ideas. This book makes you feel mixed emotions throughout the entire book. At times the book can be a little slow, but when you keep reading most of the parts are a page turner and you never want to put the book down.

  • Heather
    2018-08-25 19:58

    Arthur is a criminal. He threw a brick at a homeless man. But wait, before you judge him, you need to know a few things. Things have been super hard for him lately. And I know that's not the best excuse, but...Now Arthur has been sentenced to community service - and his assignment is to work with Mr. Hampton, the homeless man (junk man) that he threw the brick at.An Mr. Hampton's assignment for him is odd. To go around the neighborhood collecting the 7 most important things: light bulbs, cardboard, etc.But soon Arthur will come to find out the importance of these seven things and maybe even some of the important things in his life.

  • Beth Honeycutt
    2018-09-08 03:58

    This is a lovely story based on a piece of art, "The Throne of the Third Heaven", which is in the Smithsonian Museum. I will definitely share this book with students!

  • Гарретт mcneilly
    2018-08-24 21:50

    this a very good book about a kid who has to help a mad but by the end he just wants to

  • Ms. Yingling
    2018-09-14 03:49

    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineArthur, upset with his father's death in 1963, throws a brick at the Junk Man who is wearing his father's hat, breaking the man's arm. He is sent to juvenile detention, but at his sentencing the Junk Man, James Hampton, requests that since he can't work with his arm broken, Arthur should help him out. When Arthur shows up at Hampton's garage (which he can find only with the help of a nearby tattoo parlor owner, Groovy Jim), he finds a note listing seven things he is supposed to collect and bring back. Foil, lightbulbs, wood, mirrors-- Arthur can't imagine what use any of these things would be, so he brings back things that interest him, like a lamp and a toaster. Hampton complains to Arthur's probation officer that he wasn't following directions exactly, but doesn't say why he needs those particular things. Arthur is struggling at school and home as well. His mother is trying to make ends meet as a waitress, and eventually gets a job as a receptionist at a dentist's office. At school, he is accused of bullying a boy, Squeak, when he tries to rescue him from being put in a trash can. The boys become friends, and Squeak helps Arthur with collecting things. When Hampton collapses in his studio, Arthur gets him help, and finds out for what all of the objects he is collecting are needed, as well as more information about Hampton. When Arthur is no longer able to help Mr. Hampton, he tries to save the artwork in progress with the help of Groovy Jim, his parole officer, and other unexpected allies. Strengths: This was intriguing and readable even though there wasn't a lot of action. Arthur was a sympathetic character, and I kept turning the pages, waiting to see what would happen next. There are some twists to the plot that I don't want to give away but were very interesting. I enjoyed reading the story. Weaknesses: I had hoped that it would address the issue of race in the 1960s, since Hampton is black and Arthur is white, but that is only brought up briefly at the sentencing. The details about the 1963 setting are very weak, so much so that I wondered why the story had a historical setting. However, this is based on a real person and a real work of art. I still can't decide whether or not I wish I had known this going in to the book. There are notes at the back that explain the real story of James Hampton, and also what portions of the story are real and which were fictitious. What I really thought: While I liked this, it was a bit confusing. This is the sort of book that students will enjoy best if they study the book in class or have someone help them through the story a bit. Debating.

  • Tasha
    2018-08-27 20:45

    Arthur can’t stand that the junk man is wearing his father’s hat, so he throws a brick at the old man and injures him. Sent to juvenile detention, Arthur has to appear in court where the junk man steps up and offers him a choice. He can either be sentenced to detention or he can do community service working with the junk man. Arthur agrees to work for the man. When he starts, all he gets is a list of items to find in the garbage. Soon Arthur is digging through the garbage himself. At first he does it with no interest at all, not fulfilling the list he has been given at all. Soon though, he is spotting treasures and keeping things like foil from his friend’s lunch. As he works on the items on the list, they grow in significance to him on a personal level and in his life. When he discovers what the man has been using the items for, Arthur is captivated and begins to work alongside him.Pearsall has created a book that speaks to the power of one person to make a difference in someone’s life. First there is the brick being thrown, then the man saving Arthur from detention and then the story progresses and Arthur matures and he begins to save the man in return. It’s a beautiful cycle, one of caring and concern and humanity. The humility of garbage collecting is also a huge factor in the book, one that works not only to break down barriers but also to lift up the person to a different level along with the items they collect.Pearsall also uses language impressively. She describes characters clearly and does not pontificate about the lessons to be seen in the book. Instead the story stands on its own merits and the conclusions you draw are your own. It makes it an ideal book to use with a class and will inspire discussions about right and wrong, and responsibility.A vibrant piece of historical fiction based on a true story, this novel will be welcomed by teachers and youth alike. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

  • Mrs.
    2018-08-24 22:37

    I really enjoy books about relationships especially between people who may not have ever been friends if not for some instigating event. That is what makes The Seventh Most Important Thing one of the best books I have read this year.

  • Brian
    2018-08-22 22:56

    A young boy decides to throw a brick at the crazy man who drags a cart around town, picking up junk. Naturally, Arthur gets in trouble but the worst part is that he is sentenced to have to work for the very man that he injured. But will Arthur's crime end up changing his life for the better? In this novel, we are treated to a spread of memorable characters. The book takes place in the past and focuses on the life of an artist that most of us knew nothing about. I thought that the main character was well written, as well as the side characters, and thought that the message that the book was putting out was a good one...that people can change. I was surprised by how much i liked this book. It was a very short read and I finished it in just one sitting.

  • Stefanie
    2018-09-18 23:53

    This book climbed to the top of my favorites list very quickly! Arthur is a 13 year old boy whose story begins with the scene of him throwing a brick at the head of a "Junk Man" on the street that is pushing a shopping cart full of trash. Arthur serves time in juvenile detention and when he is released, his sentence is to work for the Junk Man. As these two characters are brought together, we learn the reasons behind both of their actions- why Arthur threw the brick and why the Junk Man collects trash. This is a beautiful story about redemption and the impact that you can have on others. What I loved most is the information at the back of the book on the real story behind the story. "Some angels are like peacocks. Others are less flashy. Like city pigeons. It all depends on the wings."

  • Holly
    2018-08-24 03:46

    This book grabbed me at the first paragraph and never let go. I'm not quite sure what it was, but this story made me teary throughout the whole thing. Maybe it was Arthur's obvious pain, or the Junk Man's compassion, or that beautiful things can be made from ugly things, or that everything changes when you know someone's story, or that I love stories of redemption and spiritual thinking, or any number of qualities that make this book special. Whatever it was, it moved me. It reminded me of Nickel Bay Nick and Lost in the Sun.

  • Cathy
    2018-09-04 23:00

    This book sucked me in from the first page. Although it was somewhat predictable, it was also engaging. I felt Arthur was believable in his emotions and his actions. I felt for him almost immediately. About halfway through the book I read the author's note and discovered that St. James (Hampton) was a real person, and his throne is real and displayed in the Smithsonian. That was a shock! When I finished the book, I looked him up online and saw color pictures of the throne. It's incredible! Just a really good story. Loved it!

  • Zane Jones
    2018-09-22 01:00

    Ummmm... Cute story, but something's so obviously missing. How can you have heaven without God? (Spoiler: You can't.) God was so blatantly not there in this story. I'm docking one star for that reason, and another star for the bad language used a few times throughout the book.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2018-09-17 21:49

    A book with an important lesson masked within a fabulous story of redemption and maturity, The Seventh Most Important Thing is a completely original and amazing book.

  • Amy
    2018-09-04 20:53

    Really enjoyed the journey of redemption and growth for Arthur. Different in a great way.

  • Misty
    2018-08-29 19:47

    3.5 STARS

  • Soren B
    2018-09-03 20:03

    What would you do if you saw an old man who collects junk off the street wearing your late father’s hat? What would you do with all of the anger bottled up? For Arthur Owens, that bottled up rage exploded and he threw a brick at Mr. Hampton, AKA Junkman. After being sent to juvie, Arthur is given a chance at redemption, instead of spending more time in juvie, he can stay at home and go to school on the condition that he spends 120 hours of community service, HELPING THE JUNKMAN. Arthur almosts refuses, but keeps quiet. He knows this is a better deal than he could have dreamed of. A skeptical Arthur goes to his first day of work for the Junkman. He goes to the sketchy garage where he was told he would find his tasks. On the garage he finds a list titled “The Seven Most Important Things”. The list tells him to find the “Seven most important things”; cardboard, glass bottles, mirrors, pieces of wood, light bulbs, coffee cans, and foil. Arthur does not understand why he needs to collect these things, and compromises for finding 3 of the 7 things on the list, but a lamp instead of light bulbs. He soon finds out that The Junkman does not accept substitutes. Feeling pretty down about his tasks, Arthur goes through the hours finding the important things, but then something peculiar happens. One by one, Arthur learns the importance of the seven most important things, and it changes his life. The characters in The Seventh Most Important Thing, by Shelley Pearsall are not one simple character, but have many sides. Arthur comes off as someone who doesn’t really care about anything, but when something happens to something people care about, he is the most passionate out of all of them. The Junk Man just seems like a crazy man who collects trash, but when looking closer is found to be a highly intelligent man with a passion for creating art. The Seventh Most Important Thing, by Shelley Pearsall is a rollercoaster of emotions. I thought that the themes came out in cool and unique ways, like redemption through trash. I know that sounds far fetched, but by reading the book it makes sense. Another way the themes are shown are through artwork. I thought these ways were pretty clever. All in all, The Seventh Most Important Thing, by Shelley Pearsall is a stunning and amazing read. I thought that the character development was outstanding and the themes were very interesting. All in all a great book and I highly recommend it for readers from middle school to college.

  • Arminzerella
    2018-09-10 00:35

    Arthur Owens gets in trouble with the law when he throws a brick at a trash-picking, presumably homeless man he sees around his neighborhood. He’s sent to a juvenile delinquent facility for several weeks and at his trial it comes out that the reason he attacked the man was because he saw him wearing his recently-passed-away dad’s hat (his mom threw it out and Arthur is incensed). While the judge is ready to lock Arthur up, he changes his mind when the Junk Man, James Hampton, offers another solution – Arthur will do community service under his supervision. Arthur quickly learns that his primary responsibilities will be finding items on Mr. Hampton’s list (of the 7 most important things) by going through other people’s trash. Initially he’s embarrassed since he’s effectively become a trash-picker himself, but as he learns more about what James Hampton is doing with the things he’s collecting (creating an art installation about heaven), Arthur becomes more enthusiastic and even committed to helping out. As it turns out, Mr. Hampton is very ill, and when it becomes clear that he’s not likely to be around much longer, he makes Arthur responsible for the art they’re making and custodian for what will become of it. Inspired by Shelley Pearsall’s encounter with the real James Hampton’s artwork, which is part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. Characters and their motivations are unique and interesting, and the evolution of Arthur and Mr. Hampton’s relationship is realistic and moving.