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Jumping the Scratch

 Jumping the Scratch , Sarah Weeks, Laura Geringer Books, 2006

Grade Level: 6-8

ISBN-13 978-0-06-054109-5, $15.99

ISBN-10 0-06-054109-1

Paperback, CD, audio download

jumping the scratch

Blanket Permission to Reproduce Book Jackets:

Preferred wording: Jumping the Scratch, Sarah Weeks, Laura Geringer Books, 2006

Synopsis: Jamie has had a string of bad luck and just when he thinks his life couldn’t get worse, it does. He has to move from Battle Creek to Traverse City with his mother to help his aunt Sapphy who had a freak accident at work that left her unable to be alone because she has no short term memory. This move is difficult in itself and something happens to Jamie that he wants desperately to forget, but he struggles throughout the story to do just that.

General Review:

Sarah Weeks’ second novel is as compelling as her first, Ida B. Although I had a solid guess on Jamie’s secret, Weeks drew me into the story and dropped hints as Jamie unfolded through the story. The book certainly contains mature subject matter, child sexual abuse.

Themes: Memory; Aunts; Child sexual abuse

Author Information:

Discussion Questions:

  1. Jamie had heard that bad luck comes in threes. Have you ever heard of that? What has been your experience with things happening in threes?
  2. Do you consider name-calling a form of bullying? Why or why not?
  3. Jamie somewhat believed that Audrey had ESP, what do you think? Does her explanation of how she “knew” things seem realistic?
  4. What was your favorite part of the story? Why?



List your feelings about having to move to a new city or school. This may be a real situation or imagine how you’d feel if it happened to you. Using a Venn diagram, compare and contrast your feelings with Jamie’s.

(Standard 1, Benchmark 4)

What has been your experience with bullying? In a small group discuss the effects of bullying and list ways you can help stop bullying in your school and/or neighborhood.

(Standard 5, Benchmark 2)

Follow the advice of the visiting author, Mr. Anthony Stone, and keep a notebook handy to write down words describe what you see, feel/touch, hear, smell and taste. Become more aware of your surroundings, even if is only for a day or two.

(Standard 3, Benchmark 3)

Interview a character from the book. Write at least ten questions that will give the character the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings about their role in the story.

(Standard 2, Benchmark 2)

Similar Books for Further Reading: (Be aware several deal with child sexual or physical abuse)

 Antle, Nancy. Playing Solitaire

Columbis, Audrey. Getting Near to Baby

Howard, Ellen. Gilly’s Secret (Original title is Gillyflower)

Roberts, Willo Davis. Don’t Hurt Laurie

Woodson, Jacqueline. I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This