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Big Winner

by (author) Sylvia Taekema

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
NON-CLASSIFIABLE, Friendship, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Fourteen-year-old Skye Richardson had to leave her home, school and friends when she and her mom moved across the country to a small town on the East Coast.

She’s not happy about it. Then she gets a part-time job at a local coffee shop and meets Digby Jones. Digby lives in a group home. He loves Ping-Pong and watching his favorite TV shows. He likes things done in a certain way. One day, Digby tells Skye he has the winning million-dollar lottery ticket everyone in town has been talking about. At first, all Skye can think about is how she’d love to have that money to buy her old life back. Soon, however, she begins to worry that people are going to take advantage of her new friend.

This short novel is a high-interest, low-reading level book for middle-grade readers who are building reading skills, want a quick read or say they don’t like to read! The epub edition of this title is fully accessible.

About the author

Way back when she was in grade school, Sylvia Taekema was asked to write about what she would like to do when she grew up. She wrote that she didn't know exactly, but that it would probably have something to do with children. She was right. In addition to all the fun she and her husband have with their own children, Sylvia enjoys working as a supply teacher and as a volunteer in programs for children at school, church and in the community. She loves to read, bake cookies and go on camping adventures with her family. She lives in Chatham, Ontario.

Sylvia Taekema's profile page


  • Commended, Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens

Editorial Reviews

“This story is well written, humorous, and draws readers into Skye and Digby’s lives. The message and themes of kindness and real friendship are heartening. Plot twists add depth and nuance, and the characters are likable and realistic...Striving readers who like realistic fiction, friendship stories, or who have ever dreamed of winning the lottery when they get older will want to pick this one up.”

School Library Journal (SLJ)

“Humorous. Readers will be engaged by plot twists...Enjoyable and heartwarming.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Well-written and beautifully told, Big Winner is a must-read. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Unexpected happenings and a surprise ending keep the reader interested throughout the story. A good independent reading choice for mature elementary school students and middle school grade students.”

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

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