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Spotlight: Gum By Nancy Willard and Illustrated by Jeff Newman

In a timeless tale of small moments and big victories, two boys’ singular obsession with an elusive prize pays off in a most surprising way.

James has five quarters and Danny has four. That means nine whole tries to get the little silver race car out of the gumball machine at Mr. Wright’s store after school. Only very, very lucky people get both gumballs and the silver racer. It’s a good thing that one of James’s quarters is a Canadian quarter, which just so happens to be very, very lucky. But is it lucky enough to get him that silver racer? Bing! Bang! Kaboom! He’s about to find out! Retro-style illustrations in vivid colors add to the classic feel of this new story by poet Nancy Willard, author of the 1982 Newbery Medal winner, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn.

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About the Author

Nancy Willard was educated at the University of Michigan and Stanford University. She was the author of two novels, seven books of stories and essays, and eleven books of poetry. A winner of the Devins Memorial Award, she received NEA grants in both fiction and poetry. Her book Water Walker was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She was also a beloved writer of children’s books, one of which, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn, with illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen, won the Newbery Medal, the first poetry book to win that medal. A longtime teacher in the English department at Vassar College, Willard died in 2017.

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