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Loser Becomes Winner: Review of Natural Born Loser by Oliver Phommavanh

July 30, 2018

‘That’s just it – I’m no captain or leader. Just a follower. A team player. That usually works out for me. Except when nobody wants to be on my team.’

Everyone loves a funny school yard story where the good kids take on the bullies and Natural Born Loser delivers this, and so much more.

Raymond is a follower who comes from a long line of followers. He’s more than happy to get involved in things, especially a game of soccer but as part of a group or even in the background. Luckily his best friend, Zain, is the soccer star of lunch time sports.

Disappearing into the background also helps Raymond avoid being targeted by some of the bullies that roam the playground at Barryjong Primary School. Russell Carney, who has been suspended more times than all the students combined, is to be avoided at all costs. Then, maybe the truth is that Raymond doesn’t really believe he’s capable of all that much – nothing special anyway.

The new principle Mr Humble however, wants to turn the school around and he has Raymond in his sights as one of the new school leaders. Raymond can’t understand why Mr Humble would choose him – he’s not a soccer hero like Zain, brainy like Randa or artistic like Ally – he’s just ordinary.

When Mr Humble and the rest of the school start to believe in Raymond and he actually has a few good ideas about how to improve the school, Raymond starts to see the possibilities. Can he break with tradition and lead the way? But it’s not quite that simple.

A fun read for 10+yrs, Natural Born Loser looks at what a bit of encouragement and bravery can achieve.  Inspirational Thai – Australian author, comedian and primary school teacher, Oliver Phommavanh was a lot like the character of Raymond when he was a kid until he decided to put himself out there and discovered that he did have something special to offer. In Natural Born Loser he challenges kids to push themselves to the limits of their comfort zones, so they can find out exactly how capable they are.

Oliver Phommavanah’s first book, Thai-riffic!  was published to critical acclaim and he is an ambassador for Room to Read, an innovative global non-profit that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children. With that in mind you know your child will be in good hands when opening up a copy of Natural Born Loser.

Purchase a copy of Natural Born Loser | Read an extract | Read more from Oliver Phommavanh

Oliver is a young Thai-Australian writer for children. He has featured on panels at the Sydney Writers’ Festival among many other appearances at festivals and writing events as well as in blogs. He has worked as a primary school teacher and now spends his time writing and sharing his writing passion with kids, engaging them with humour. He’s also a stand-up comedian and has appeared on national TV and radio as well as at a number of well-known comedy venues such as the Comedy Store in Sydney. His first book, Thai-riffic!, was published to critical acclaim, followed by Con-nerdPunchlines, Thai-no-miteEthan in the Stuff Happens series in 2015, The Other Christy and, most recently, Super Con-nerd.


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