Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

EconKids Home Older Children and Young Adults: 2011 Lunch-Box Dream / by Tony Abbott

Lunch-Box Dream / by Tony Abbott


Title:  Lunch-Box Dream
Author: Tony Abbott
Publisher:  Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN:  978-0-374-34673-7
Year:  2011

Concepts: discrimination, social justice, consumers, income inequality

Review: Two interwoven stories relate how two families, one black and one white, experience the South's Jim Crow laws during the late 1950s.

Nine-year old Jacob and his sister's husband travel from Atlanta to a small country town to visit family. Already at this young age Jacob knows the rules, formal and informal, about using separate public facilities and avoiding confrontations with whites. When Jacob goes missing, his family fears that he has become yet another black victim of a hate crime.

Bobby and his mother and brother drive south from Cleveland to help Grandma get to Florida and to visit Civil War Battlefields along the way. As they approach Atlanta, it becomes clear that their white privilege and segregated lives have led to a distinct distrust of blacks that actually throws an enormous wrench into their travel plans.

The book presents a carefully-crafted portrayal of family and race relations, with a good dose of economic themes related to racial discrimination in the market and income inequality. The writing is subtle and will appeal to readers who can read between the lines and make connections that are not immediately obvious. 

Review by:  Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

How to Get This Book