IMWAYR: Death by Toilet Paper and Secret Hum

Last night standing in the doorway that leads to my bedroom, I was caught crying. Ben Epstein, the ever upbeat 12-year old protagonist of Death by Toilet Paper, was at a really low spot.  This lovely mixture of sad, hopeful, and funny book had just hit a heart-wrenching part.


Benjamin enters contests for fun, but after his dad’s death winning has become a necessity. To help his mom make ends meet, Ben is always on the lookout for ways to make money. Selling candy bars at school and crafting contest-winning advertising jingles are his specialties. Things are complicated further by school rules, bullies and when his memory-challenged zedye moves in.

The big contest win he’s hoping for is the Royal-T Toilet Paper Company’s grand prize of $10,000 for a new company slogan.

In keeping with the theme, every chapter starts with an interesting fact about toilet paper or toilets. I learned quite a bit.

Seven percent of Americans steal toilet paper from hotel and motel rooms.

The most expensive toilet is found at the international space station. NASA paid $19 million for a Russian-built system.

The average toilet lasts 50 years.

I love it when I find a winning read for both boys and girls. This book, with its mixture of drama, humor, and fun toilet facts, will entertain and sneakily inform my 5th graders.

Next up, The Secret Hum of a Daisy.


Raves from the twittersphere has pushed this to the top of my TBR pile.