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It isn't that Abby Carson can't do her schoolwork. She just doesn't like doing it. And consequently, Abby will have to repeat sixth grade—unless she meets some specific conditions, including...
It isn't that Abby Carson can't do her schoolwork. She just doesn't like doing it. And consequently, Abby will have to repeat sixth grade—unless she meets some specific conditions, including...
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  • It isn't that Abby Carson can't do her schoolwork. She just doesn't like doing it. And consequently, Abby will have to repeat sixth grade—unless she meets some specific conditions, including taking on an extra credit project: find a pen pal in a distant country. But when Abby's first letter arrives at a small school in Afghanistan, complications arise. The elders agree that any letters going back to America must be written well, but the only qualified English-speaking student is a boy. And in this village, it's not proper for a boy to correspond with a girl. So, Sadeed's sister will dictate and sign the letters for him. But what about the villagers who believe that girls should not be anywhere near a school? And what about those who believe that any contact with Americans is...unhealthy?

    As letters flow back and forth—between the prairies of Illinois and the mountains of central Asia, across cultural and religious divides, through the minefields of different lifestyles and traditions—a small group of children begin to speak and listen to each other. And in just a few short weeks, they make important discoveries about their communities, about their world, and most of all, about themselves.
 

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About the Author-

  • Andrew Clements (1949–2019) was the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he was nominated for a multitude of state awards, including a Christopher Award and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He was also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. Find out more at AndrewClements.com.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine This intercultural story of pen pals introduces us to two young people: Abby, who needs to address her lack of interest in school by completing a letter-writing project, and Sadeed, who's helping out his sister, who has less education than he. Gabra Zackman's thoughtful portrayal of Abby and Sadeed's exchanges demonstrates how each character comes to think differently about the world, and it will encourage young listeners to do so, too. Her smooth voice is particularly easy on the ears, and she handily depicts a broad range of characters of diverse ages and cultures. As she quietly depicts each child's life, thoughts, and letters, Zackman allows listeners to draw their own insights about culture, gender, and personal values, including the question of what an education is worth. J.C.G. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 8, 2009
    Clements (Frindle
    ) successfully bridges two cultures in this timely and insightful dual-perspective story. When Abby learns that her teachers want her to repeat sixth grade, the Illinois girl pledges to improve her grades and complete an extra-credit pen pal project. Since her favorite pastime is scaling a climbing wall, she's fascinated by Afghanistan's mountainous terrain and sends a letter to a one-room school there requesting a pen pal. So it will reflect well on his village, the teacher decides that his best student, Sadeed, should reply, but with a letter supposedly written by his sister, since it's deemed improper for a boy to correspond with a girl. In chapters devoted to Sadeed and in his missives to Abby (which he eventually admits he's composing), the sensitive boy shares illuminating information about Afghan beliefs and traditions, as well as his own aspirations. Abby responds with similar candor and the two gain much from their correspondence—as will readers. Clements effectively broadens his canvas in this worthy addition to his oeuvre of school-themed novels. Ages 8–12.

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