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Papberboy Book Talk

By: Vince Vawter


“Little Man,” as the family’s housekeeper calls him, is eleven-years-old the summer of 1959 when he takes his best friend’s paper route for the month of July.  Throwing papers isn’t hard because he’s an ace pitcher on his baseball team, but the problem is collection day.  He’s a stutterer and most people can’t understand what he’s saying. The one exception is Mr. Spiro, a retired merchant marine who has a weird way of expressing himself.  Each Friday when “Little Man” calls on him to collect, the two engage in conversation. Mr. Spiro gives him a quarter of a dollar bill with a word marked in black ink and a promise that at the end of the month he will have all parts of the dollar and four important words. There’s a message here, but “Little Man” isn’t quite sure what it is.  There is also drama.  Ara T, a neighborhood junkman, steals “Little Man’s” three most prized possessions, and he and Mam, the housekeeper, set out to reclaim them.

Prepared by Pat Scales, Children’s Literature Consultant, Greenville, SC