Monday, March 30, 2015
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff (for ages 8 to 12, Philomel, June 2014)
Source: my local library
Synopsis (from Indiebound): Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.
Why I recommend it: Kudos to Lisa Graff for being brave enough to create a character who is ordinary. This is a quiet, thought-provoking novel (if you're looking for fast-paced action, you'll need to look elsewhere). But if you like the idea of reading about an "almost" kid, who's not the best at anything (in other words, maybe you or someone you know), this book will warm your heart. Because even though Albie isn't good at anything like math or reading or art, he's kind and compassionate. And that's good enough, right?
I've lived in New York City and the city setting is perfect for this book. I also loved Albie's math club teacher, Mr. Clifton, who starts each class with a really bad math joke.
Bonus: Short chapters and smooth writing make this a winner for reluctant readers.
My favorite quote: "Then won't you be glad you found something you love?"
(This comes after Calista tells Albie to find something he wants to keep doing, and maybe if he practices enough, one day he'll discover he doesn't stink at it. Albie responds that he might still stink at it.)
Lisa Graff's website
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