Monday 22 August 2016

Extra Credit - Andrew Clements

Extra Credit
Andrew Clements
Mark Elliott (Illustrator)
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
A Division of Simon and Schuster

ISBN 9781416949299
ASIN B0070Y3268

This was the 10th book by Clements that I have read over the last few months. Most of his books have a lesson but this one dealing with hostilities between the US and Afghanistan as experienced by students in both countries pushes the boundary for Clements. It is an interesting read but not one of my favorites by Clements.

 This is primarily a story about pen pals, Abby Carson and Sadeed Bayat. Abby is in desperate need of a pen pal because she is about to repeat her grade and an Extra Credit project. The project she get's if to have a pen pal and share at least 5 letters and do a bulletin board in the classroom to share the information she learns with her classmates. Her teacher gives her the choice of a few locations where she has contacts in school. Abby decides to write Afghanistan because they have mountains and her favorite thing is the rock climbing wall in the gym at school, because Illinois. 

The story deals with some typical stereotypes, but also breaking down boundaries. At first Sadeed is reluctant to write to Abby because he is to work with his younger sister and do it. For a boy and girl writing is not appropriate. He feels writing a girl is below him. But as the letters exchange his feelings change. Both Abby and Sadeed encounter resistance, some parents at Abby's school complain about the Afghan flag on her display. And a stranger is furious when he sees American flag stamps on a letter Saeed has. Even accusing Saeed of being a traitor or spy.  

Both children learn to deal with their feelings. They both encounter feelings they did not expect. They also both learn to appreciate aspects about the others culture and day to day life.

In some ways this book was more intense than many of Clements other books. Because of the political nature and the content. But in other ways it was slower as letters were written and events going on in between the letters travelling back and forth. 

The book was an interesting read. It also does a fairly good job of trying to handle such political issues. It was also the first book by Clements that I have encountered that has some budding romance in it. It was a little slower read than many of his other books but still one with a good message. It helped me think about my biases or preconceived notions, and any book that makes us think is good in my books. 

Books by Andrew Clements:
Bird Adalbert
Noah and the Ark and the Animals
Santa's Secret Helper
Temple Cat
Mother Earth's Counting Book
Billy and the Bad Teacher
Who Owns the Cow
Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers
(Adapter)Philipp's Birthday Book
Riff's BeBop Book
Real Monsters Go for the Mold
Things That Go EEK on Halloween
Real Monsters Stage Fright
Music Time, Any Time
Double Trouble in Walla Walla
Gromble's Haunted Halloween
Hey Dad, Could I Borrow Your Hammer
The Landry News
Look Who's in the Thanksgiving Play
The Mouse Family
The Janitor's Boy
Circus Family Dog
The Christmas Kitten
The School Story
Things Not Seen 
The Jacket 
A Week in the Woods
Slippers at Home
Naptime for Slippers
The Report Card
The Last Holiday Concert
Slippers at School
Slippers Loves to Run
A Million Is a Lot of Dots
Lunch Money
Things Hoped For
Room One: A Mystery or Two
No Talking
Things That Are
Lost and Found
Extra Credit
About Average
The Map Trap
The Friendship War
The Losers Club

Pets to the Rescue Series
Ringo Saves the Day!
Brave Norman
Tara and Tiree, Fearless Friends
Delores and the Big Fire

Jake Drake Series
Jake Drake Know-It-All
Jake Drake, Bully Buster
Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet
Jake Drake, Class Clown

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School Series
We the Children
Fear Itself
The Whites of Their Eyes
In Harm's Way
We Hold These Truths

Reading program Books
Karen's Island
Three Wishes for Buster
Bill Picket: An American Original, Texas Style
Hurricane Andrew
Ham and Eggs for Jack
Life in the Desert
Desert Treasure
Inventors: Making Things Better, Steck-Vaughn
Milo's Great Invention

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