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Loser written by Newbery Award-winning author, Jerry Spinelli, is a powerful tale about how not fitting in may lead to an incredible life. This is a wonderful book to use for a novel study, literature circles, book clubs, or individual study in the classroom or home school.

Loser was first published in 2002 and was nominated for the Mark Twain Award. The story is an endearing one about perseverance despite the odds told with humor and heart.

Summary of Loser:

*From the book jacket

Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like “Jabip.”

Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn’t know he’s not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff’s differences show that any name can someday become “hero.”


This is a great novel to accompany a study of

  • Bullying prevention
  • Research the Vietnam War and the MIA’s.

  • Discuss the culture of winners vs. losers. Pro/cons.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Loser for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

Loser is a wonderful story exploring a boy’s individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. How, in the end, dancing to your own tune may lead you down the path to hero.