Monday, July 18, 2016

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Fifth-grader Albie has just been kicked out of his fancy Manhattan private school because he couldn't keep up with the other students. He always feels like he's just a little bit behind everyone else - even at his new public school. Albie rarely gets more than 4 words correct on his spelling tests, math is hard, and his dad can't understand why he can't do better.

Only a couple of grown-ups seem to understand Albie. Mr. Clifton, the math club teacher who tells terrible math jokes every day, and Calista, Albie's nanny/babysitter. Mr. Clifton helps Albie to do math without even having to think about it. And Calista has a remarkable ability to see Albie for who he is, instead of who he should be. Somehow she can always make him feel like he might be okay after all.

Absolutely Almost deals with issues of friendship, loyalty, self-worth and bullying while emphasizing the importance of being caring, thoughtful and kind. It reminds readers that there are things to be proud of that don't involve fastest times or even perfect scores. Absolutely Almost has been nominated for the 2016-2017 Intermediate Golden Sower Award.

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