by Andrew Clements, published 2007
“Because he wasn’t talking, Dave had focused all on his energy on listening. Listening at the lunch table, really listening, was a brand-new experience for him. Because most of the time Dave was a loudmouth.”
If you love education, students, teachers, and the dynamics that happen in a middle school, this children’s book is a must. Of course, for kids themselves, it’s superb. My school librarian says most of the grades love to check this one out. It’s not hard to see why it works – the author is a former teacher, totally tuned in to school dynamics.
Similar to his other children’s book, Frindle, Clements presents what happens when a student, or in this case, students, take a lesson to heart, and put it into action. Teachers are confounded, not sure what to do, and yet, of course, the intention of education is just that – to make the lessons relevant. In this case, one student read about Gandhi, and the next thing you know, the entire fifth-grade class is experimenting with silence, with hilarious results.
This children’s book could easily be used in a fifth-grade classroom, but it is also just fun to read at home. Who knows how many kids might also be inspired to find out for themselves the power of talking less!