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.
A perfect companion to Lisa Graff's National Book Award-nominated A Tangle of Knots, this novel explores a similar theme in a realistic contemporary world where kids will easily be able to relate their own struggles to Albie's. Great for fans of Rebecca Stead's Liar and Spy, RJ Palacio's Wonder and Cynthia Lord's Rules.
Praise for ABSOLUTELY ALMOST
* "Albie comes through significant emotional hardship to a genuine sense of self-worth."--School Library Journal, starred review
* "A perfect book to share with struggling readers."--Booklist, starred review
* "Achingly superb, Albie’s story shines."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Graff’s...gentle story invokes evergreen themes of coming to appreciate one’s strengths (and weaknesses), and stands out for its thoughtful, moving portrait of a boy who learns to keep moving forward, taking on the world at his own speed."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Lately the patrons of my school library have been asking, 'Do you have any books like Wonder by R.J. Palacio?' and now I have the perfect offering."--BookPage
"Maybe the wonder of Absolutely Almost is that it’s willing to give us an almost unheard of hero."--Betsy Bird, Fuse #8 Blog
"Graff...again draws on her ability to create rich lifeworlds for her characters to present a boy who is gifted in many ways....[T]his is a sharp portrait of an outsider’s inner perspective, and Albie’s coming to terms with himself will be cheered by many."--BCCB Reviews
About the Author
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Chapter 1: Rocks
Excerpted from "Absolutely Almost"
Copyright © 2014 Lisa Graff.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
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What People are Saying About This
Gr 4-6–Albie, an only child living in New York City, has learning difficulties. No matter how hard he tries to give the correct change to the takeout delivery guy, or get all his spelling words correct, he inevitably fails to get it right. When readers meet the fifth-grader, he’s just left his fancy private school and is about to be the new kid at public school. His dad is mostly absent and forgetful, except when demanding that Albie try harder. His mom tells him that Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” (Scholastic) is for babies, and gives him Esther Forbes’s Johnny Tremain instead. His exacting Korean grandfather predicts that he will end up in a ditch. At school, despite some sympathetic teachers, he is bullied and teased. His only friend is Betsy, reserved and bullied herself. Things begin to change when Albie gets a new babysitter. Calista is an artist and definitely unusual: she makes a cover for Albie’s Captain Underpants that says “Johnny Tremain.” She takes him for donuts and to art exhibits and, most importantly, she likes him for who he is. Albie’s just-believable naiveté leads him into social difficulties as he is given an opportunity to be one of the “cool” kids, even though this entails abandoning his friendship with Betsy. Despite the fact that Graff is scrupulously honest in refusing to provide a conveniently happy ending, Albie comes through significant emotional hardship to a genuine sense of self-worth. Albie himself would find this book inviting at first glance: short chapters, an accessible sans serif font, and plenty of white space, and even his mom might think it acceptable for a fifth grader.
Ten-year-old New Yorker Albie is starting at P.S. 183, having been kicked out of his fancy prep school because of low grades. Albie tries hard, but he’s a middle-of-the-road (at best) student, an “almost,” as he calls it. At his new school, he starts a tentative friendship with fellow outcast Betsy, who has a stutter, and he’s buoyed by small successes in math club and on spelling tests. Most importantly, though, his new babysitter, Calista, is a sympathetic adult. Her low-key approach to confidence-boosting includes teaching him to draw superheroes and taking him to the zoo for a “sad day” after a particularly challenging day of school—which, unfortunately, leads to her dismissal. Like Kevin Henkes’s Billy Miller (The Year of Billy Miller, rev. 9/13), Albie is a sweet, vulnerable kid who just needs a little extra help and to whom readers may well relate. Short chapters—some just one page—add to the story’s accessibility and keep the pace moving. The characters are well rounded, and, gratifyingly, even Albie’s seemingly single-minded, results-driven parents come through for him in the end.
Rave reviews for Absolutely Almost!
" Graff’s gentle story invokes evergreen themes of coming to appreciate one’s strengths (and weaknesses), and stands out for its thoughtful, moving portrait of a boy who learns to keep moving forward, taking on the world at his own speed.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Achingly superb, Albie’s story shines.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“…Albie comes through significant emotional hardship to a genuine sense of self-worth.” – SLJ, starred review
“Beautifully written, Albie’s story is accessible and dignified, with a gentle message that will touch any reader’s heart. Middle-grade readers will love the references to Dav Pilkey’s inexhaustibly popular Captain Underpants series, which has introduced so many children to the fun side of reading. A perfect book to share with struggling readers.” - Booklist, starred review
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I lov this book AND lisa Graff. You should really get this book. You won't regret it- I promise.
This book is good i have it at home