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Loser

Loser

Written by Jerry Spinelli

Narrated by Steve Buscemi


Loser

Written by Jerry Spinelli

Narrated by Steve Buscemi

ratings:
4/5 (63 ratings)
Length:
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 8, 2008
ISBN:
9780061628733
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes a powerful story about how not fitting in just might lead to an incredible life. This classic book is perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Carl Hiaasen.

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."

With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy's individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixth grade, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs. The perfect classroom read.

Publisher:
Released:
Jan 8, 2008
ISBN:
9780061628733
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Jerry Spinelli received the Newbery Medal for Maniac Magee and a Newbery Honor for Wringer. His other books include Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Smiles to Go; Loser; Jake and Lily; Hokey Pokey; and The Warden’s Daughter. His novels are recognized for their humor and poignancy, and his characters and situations are often drawn from his real-life experience as a father of six children. Jerry lives with his wife, Eileen, also a writer, in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

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Reviews

What people think about Loser

4.1
63 ratings / 38 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Loser by Jerry Spinelli focuses on Donald Zinkoff and his travels through school. We learn to love him and root for him; hoping things will go his way. Even when they don’t his kindness and positive energy is an inspiration. I would recommend this book to kids in upper elementary school or middle school students. Many would be able to relate to Zinkoff and his trials and tribulations; others could maybe understand things from the other side. My heart went out to Zinkoff and I wanted to help him. I think we all know kids that see the world in a different way and Loser is a good example of why we should be a little more patient with others and give them a chance. This is a great book for discussions about life and doing the right thing!
  • (4/5)
    What exactly defines a Loser when you don't think of yourself that way
  • (5/5)
    This book had me in gasping, gut-wrenching sobs for the first half, and wondrous contemplation for the second. A simple, swift read, but one that brilliantly captures the soul of a child as he leaves the emotional safety of a loving home and comes in contact with the world around him, its cruelties immense and looming.
  • (3/5)
    It was an ok book. Three stars rating,could have been a better ending.
  • (3/5)
    even though it was a short read it was really refreshing to read a book about school that was normal. It wasn't about a popular kid who looked down their nose at everyone and it wasn't about a kid who was bullied day in day out and just wants it to stop. Donald Zinkoff is in his own world most of them time. He's very happy go lucky.and doesn't let most get him down. He loves school even though he doesn't excel at it, and trys to make friends with everyone despite being ignored and made fun of. For most of it he's completely oblivious to the other kids taunts and doesn't seem to be 'normal'What I liked about this books is even though he had a hard time at school he never let it get the better of him or feel sorry for himself. It wasn't a spectacular book and it wasn't bad. It was good for a short light hearted story
  • (5/5)
    This book is a very moving story. It is about a boy that gets bullied and picked on in school. In the end, it elevates to a life and death situation. This book was read to me in 6th grade, and I absolutely loved it. It was realistic fiction
  • (3/5)
    this was one of my son's required reading books for 7th grade, so I read it behind him to see what the schools are assigning. This one is about a boy named Donald Zinkoff. He has such a zest for life & a joy in the world around him, yet in reality he is clumsy, awkward, & not really good at anything specific. It's painful to watch him struggle his way through his mishaps at school, at the hands of his schoolmates, & his increasing isolation as the one friend he did have moves away. By the time he reaches middle school & becomes self aware & more mature, he tones down his ebullient ways more, trying harder to fit in. But it really doesn't work. However, by the end of the book, one boy seems to want to give him the chance to be a part of a group. I think it ended somewhat ambiguously because you want to imagine that he will strike up a friendship with this boy. Very good read!
  • (2/5)
    I'm giving this a try again; I tried reading it about 3 years ago and lost interest. Perhaps I was in the wrong frame-of-mind.

    Update: I read it, and I wish I hadn't. There was no conflict and nothing to hold my interest after about the first 20 pages. At first, I chuckled aloud a bit and adored Zinkoff, the protagonist, but this was an uneventful character study of sorts rather than a story. So Zinkoff is ultra unique and confident, even though he's essentially a "loser" at everything, but he's okay with it, and people are sort of okay with it in his life. There's nothing more to this book than an introduction to one more adorable, loveable Spinelli character. Maybe it would've been a good short story? It just seemed pointless. And boring. Maybe now that I know Zinkoff, he could show up in another story that combines multiple Spinelli characters--a book in which something interesting happens. Go for it, Spinelli!
  • (5/5)
    Out of all of Jerry Spinelli's books, this is probably one of my very favorites. We get to know the protagonist as a young child who is anxious to learn. He sees learning as wonderful. When the teacher told him how much time they would be in school he loved it. I think that was what made me fall in love with Donald Zinkoff. His quirky behavior told me that in the right hands he would come out on top Unfortunately, as a teacher I've seen some like the one he had who didn't like him because he wasn't quite as smart as other ids. She honestly thought Donald did things because he was trying her patience on purpose. He was branded a loser but didn't realize it until he got older. When that reality hit him it crushed him. However, when the book ends and Donald does something than many would see as heroic in his attempts would brand an example of what a loser he was, I always asked my students how they saw him now. It is funny that 99% no longer so him as a loser. Why? You really need to read this book. I try to start off my year reading this book to and with my students. I want them to understand that I have no losers in my class Everyone is different and therefore when we embrace those differences then everyone can be a winner. This is a book I am always recommending and will continue to recommend. It is one of my favorite yearly rereads.
  • (4/5)
    I was absolutely enamored by the character of Donald Zinkoff. The only words that I can use to truly describe this kid are eclectic and passionate. I feel that far too many middle readers advocate for losing one's idiosyncrasies, even if they don't mean to, just because they are not societally acceptable. "Loser" does not do this at all, rather, it celebrates Donald and shows that his quirks make him truly exceptional. I feel that this would be a wonderful book to have kids read because, as I read the book, Donald really became a real person to me (kudos Spinelli for introducing us) and he taught me two things that I would love for kids reading this to also takeaway, in addition to their own thoughts and conclusions about the story. First, this story teaches one to never give up what makes them unique. Further, "Loser" advocates for not caring what others thing and only paying mind to the unique things that make you happy. Secondly, this book taught me to be careful before I judge. Many of Zinkoff's actions on the surface could be initially characterized as either being careless of having an exaggerated amount of care, however, all of Donald's actions really come from a place of making himself and other's as happy as possible. I think that the big takeaway from this book is that everyone is different, however, we should all be using our unique means to make ourselves and everyone around us happy, rather than trying to conform at the expense of those we see as different from what society tells us is "cool". We should all forget about being "cool" or "losers" and just be ourselves.
  • (3/5)
    Donald has always been a little bit different, but it wasn't until fourth grade when he (and the rest of his class) discovered he was a loser. Never getting anything right, Donald continues to do things his way and learning about himself, growing up, and the outside world along the way. While I loved the fact that Donald didn't care what others thought of him, I also loathed the fact that he seemed oblivious. I swished back and forth every few pages whether I cheered for him or pitied him. I do like that the message seems to be for the weirdos - keep being weird, no one else really matters :)
  • (5/5)
    This is a great story about a boy who doesn't quite fit in. It's unclear if he doesn't know if he doesn't fit in or he is just not worried about it. He is the one always trying to help others. I think this is a great story for kids who do not quite feel like they fit in or belong. I feel that children could learn a lot from this book. I don't necessarily think I would use it as a group reading but recommend it for independent reading.
  • (4/5)
    Jerry Spinelli creates a memorable and awkwardly adorable character in Donald Zinkoff. Donald is an under achiever at best, yet he has a heart of gold. You can't help but feel as though you are cheering for the underdog as you follow Donald's mishaps and misadventures from the time he is just starting school all the way to a nail biting culminating event in his first years of middle school. Donald's experiences tug at your heart strings and will help teach intermediate and middle school students the importance empathy and understanding and acceptance.
  • (5/5)
    This book had me in gasping, gut-wrenching sobs for the first half, and wondrous contemplation for the second. A simple, swift read, but one that brilliantly captures the soul of a child as he leaves the emotional safety of a loving home and comes in contact with the world around him, its cruelties immense and looming.
  • (5/5)
    best book ever!!
  • (4/5)
    Great Story, my kids were a little upset with the not quite so happy ending, but still a great book.
  • (3/5)
    Jerry Spinelli’s Loser is the story of a young boy named Donald Zinkoff and his trials and tribulations through primary and secondary school. This chapter book starts off with Zinkoff in the first grade where he appears a bit quirky but is a good hearted enthusiastic little boy who loves school. The author takes you through the life of this young boy, what he does, what he thinks, and can be easily related to by other young boys. When Zinkoff reaches the fifth grade things begin to change for him as his classmates start to judge him as different because he laughs to much or wears funny clothes. This is a tough time for students as they begin to compare themselves to their peers and self-esteem can be very low. Zinkoff is teased and labeled a loser at this time due to his un-athletic abilities. This is a look into bullying in the schools, on a smaller level. It is a good story that does not end as triumphantly one would hope, but still carries an anti-bullying lesson.
  • (4/5)
    Loser is a story about a boy named Donald Zinkhoff from kindergarten to sixth grade. Donald is different but he doesn’t know he is different. He laughs hilariously at words like jabib and doesn’t make friends. He offends people without knowing it and does not do well in school. Donald is kind and giving. This book dragged me in and I couldn’t stop reading. It’s writing style is different but is perfectly done for the story. Donald goes through so much, unjust and mean teachers and kind teachers, being picked on by other children but also lives in the most loving and supportive family. This book will also make a great read aloud.
  • (4/5)
    A sweet tale about an awesome, clumsy, enthusiastic, good kid. He's too busy having a good time enjoying life to notice that most of the other kids jut don't 'get' him. But eventually we learn just how astoundingly generous he really is.
  • (3/5)
    Loser is about a young boy who is not the most popular or smartest kid in his grade. Donald Zinkoff is excited about school, but is not quite good at anything he does. But, his enthused spirit about school is what sets him apart from the others. I personally did not like the book, because I feel Spinelli could have down much more with the character. The book did not have an actual problem or conflict until the end of the book. He gives the background information of Donald, but it leaves the reader to ask, what's the point of the book?
  • (4/5)
    loser was a very interesting book.i would recomend it to someone who likes funny books.my favorite part was when he passed out in the snow.
  • (4/5)
    I find this book funny because of the things zinkoff the main person in the book does.This book was about a kid starting off in the first grade and was getting bullied because of a weired looking hat and his bad hand writing and other tings like that.And one day it is take your kid to work day and zinkoff's dad is a mailman and it was a sunday and there was not any mail on sundays so zinkoff just writes letters to give to people and on his way they stopped to have lunch and he wanted to be brave like his dad and go through stormes and things and then before you know it the day is over and zinkoff thought his life was over.The next day there was a P.E. day/race day and he was relly exited and when it was his turn he raced and finished in last place.And that is when evreyone started calling him a loser.Will they ever stop?i dont know read the book and find out.
  • (5/5)
    I really liked this book because,it was very funny my favorite part was when Zinkoff made his new neighbor Andrew a cookie.And he brought it to his house and Andrew wouldn't come out because he didn't want too move.Last my other favorite was when Zinkoff was taking the test and he got stuck on 1 question that said who was his best friend and he put Binns.Then at recess he went over to Binns and he was digging in his ear with a paper clip and he got some ear wax out and took out an empty boddle of medicene and it had been half way filled up with ear way.Then, Zinkoff asks him what does he have it for and Binns says for a condle.....................
  • (4/5)
    I think this book could be a little more interesting but it still is fun to read and it kills time to read a book about someone dealing with lfe how thay deal with it and what happens during that time.
  • (3/5)
    Donald Zinkoff is a rare spirit with a simple mind that loves living, school and making others happy. Some would say he is mentally challenged. He does what he does with gusto, everything from raising his hand with the wrong answer in school to not being able to contain his laughter. By fourth grade he is labeled "Loser" and that is how things stay...until one night when a little 2 year old girl is lost and Donald does not give up looking for her for 7 long hours through snow and sleet. Even though the girl is found after just one hour and the search begins for him, Donald's tenacious, caring spirit shines in this somewhat foolish action that could have cost him his life. Later, when starting junior high, he still is seen as the kid that can'teven catch a football by almost everybody. However, there is something about this kid that Bonce can't grasp, yet at the same time, can't let go of. Why did he keep looking for the girl? Spinelli explores the rough side of childhood in Loser and does not offer an easy answer. But then, nothing in life is easy. 218 p. Good characterization development story that would work well for a tween book discussion. ages 8-12.
  • (4/5)
    Spinelli, Jerry, The Loser, kid is very focused, very persistent, even though others think he's a loser
  • (4/5)
    This book is about a boys called Edward and Jessy! Edward is a new boy in the street and he all ready got a friend. One day Edward get mad for someone and he isn't coming out of his room! 
  • (4/5)
    Meet Donald Zinkoff, just an ordinary kid! Author Jerry Spinelli gives his readers a privileged peek into the life of this delightfully unique, yet entirely normal little boy, from his rambunctious preschool days until the time when he has graduated from elementary school and is in the first weeks of middle school. The characterization of the Zinkoff family is excellent! In just a couple hundred pages, the author makes you feel like you have known Donald (or someone like him) all your life. Although his parents and sister stay in the background, I rejoiced for Zinkoff over his marvelous family life. It was an obvious influence for the good over his checkered school career. I hated to say good bye when the story ended.
  • (3/5)
    This story of a little boy named Donald Zinkoff is one that i would recommend to students to read independently, as well as in small groups. All children sometimes do not feel as they fit in or amount to what their peers think is "cool." Donald is very optomistic about life. As we follow along this very clumsy and uncorridinated little boy, he shows kids how to have a positive attitude in life. Many situations arise where he is made fun of and left out, but Donald does not let that bother him. I believe that students will feel better about themselves and not be put down so much after reading this story. Donals Zinkoff will show students that deep inside they are all heros instead of losers.
  • (4/5)
    this was a good book. I like how they made Zinkoff be the type of person that dosen't care what people think of him. I know alot people like that. That would be all over the place but knowone seems to noice maybe until someone saids he/her name, and you know who they are talking about right away.