October 6, 2007

No Talking - by Andrew Clements

Anyone who's spent any time on this site will know that I'm a HUGE Andrew Clements fan. It should really be saying something, then, when I say that this is my favorite of his books so far. Sure, I loved Landry News and School Story, and The Report Card, and I have a soft spot for Room One, but this book may top them all.

Can not talking for two days make you a better person? Or will it just make you better than the other gender? These are some pretty odd questions, but they're important to this story. Imagine an entire fifth-grade group of students who just love to talk, and nobody can get them to be quiet. They're so bad that the principal has to stand in the cafeteria every day and shout into her megaphone just to be heard. Got it? Now imagine that they were all suddenly silent, and you could hear a pin drop in that same cafeteria. A little weird, right? Absolutely, and that's the beauty of this story. Not only is it an amazing book about two kids who decide to have a little contest and learn a lot about what it really means to be leaders, but the concept of the story has my teacher brain spinning. For two full days, fifth-graders Dave and Lynsey lead the boys and girls in a no-talking contest, and the result amazes everyone, especially their grumpy principal.

Read this book if you love school stories, if you have ever wondered whether boys or girls talk more, or if you are one of those folks who has always known that kids are really smarter than their teachers.