The King of Jam Sandwiches

Author: Eric Walters

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Release Date: September 22, 2020

Reviewer: Kathie

Thank you to the author and publisher for sending #bookportage an ARC of this book.

This upper middle grade, character-driven story is raw and powerful. 13-year-old Robbie is a smart kid who excels in school, but hides his dysfunctional home life from everyone around him. He deals with his father’s emotional instability and unpredictability by planning for the future, until he meets Harmony, a new girl who is living with a foster family. They quickly form a bond and Robbie starts to open up to her about his situation. Robbie wants to be a friend to Harmony, but learning to trust the other with their secrets is a challenge for both of them. Can Robbie and Harmony handle having someone else know so much about them, and what does that mean when things get really tough for each of them?

I really appreciate how the author opens up that this is based on his own story. Many kids will be able to relate to growing up in unstable homes, and becoming responsible for themselves or their families at a young age. It’s easy to pass judgement on a kid who comes to school with clothes that don’t fit, or eating the same jam sandwiches for lunch every day, but this story helps the reader see what could be going on behind the scenes.

I predict this book will be a hit with my patrons; Eric has written over 100 books for children, and is a very well known and popular Canadian author for children. My favorite middle grade book by him is ELEPHANT SECRET.