Friday, November 6, 2009

Extra Credit

Abby Carson is stunned when her teachers tell her that she might get held back in sixth grade. It isn't that she can't do the work, she doesn't like to, so she hasn't been doing it. Now she's willing to do almost anything to move on to seventh grade. She makes a deal with her teachers. She will do ALL her assignments for the rest of the year and take on a special extra credit assignment, which is to correspond with a student in another country at least three times, create a bulletin board, and do an oral report for her class. She chooses a country with lots of mountains, because she loves to climb (and she lives in flat farm country) -- Afghanistan.

The story is told both from Abby's point of view and that of her penpal, Sadeed. Their lives are very different, as you will see, but they do build something of a friendship in a short time. One of the things I liked about this book is that you learn about the similarities of the two kids as well as their differences.

Andrew Clements has written quite a few books for young readers. This one seems different to me than some of his others. He helps kids learn about a part of the world that is often in the news, but rarely visited by Americans other than soldiers, through the eyes of someone their own age.

If you would like to read the first chapter online, click on the title Extra Credit above. You can also hear a sample of the audio book here.