Cracker Jackson. Betsy Byars

Publisher:  Viking Kestrel, 1985;  Awarded:  1988.

Synopsis:  Cracker Jackson's ex-babysitter is being abused by her husband.  He can't see turn to his divorcing parents for help or advice.  His best friend, Goat, supports him, but he only seems to come up with crazy plots.  Can Cracker help Alma and her baby escape?

Themes:  spousal abuse, friendship, divorce, family

Author Information:

Discussion Questions:  Standard 3, Benchmark 3.

1. Who could you go to for help if your were Cracker?

2. What do you think happened to Alma and her baby after they left town?

3. What do you think Cracker will become when he grows up?


1. Collect personal products and clothing to donate to your local safe house or women's shelter.  Make a campaign to include the entire school in your donation drive.  Standard  9, Benchmark 1.

2. Write a story about Cracker as an adult.  Standard 5, Benchmark 3.

3. Read Betsy Byars' autobiography The Moon and I.  Make Mrs. Byars the subject of an author study.  You will encourage the reading of all of her novels and help inspire young writers.  Standard 5, Benchmark 1.