You Are Caring and Thoughtful and Good

Absolutely Almost - Lisa Graff



That is what Albie's mom tells him when she is there for bedtime. But, she isn't always there, so Albie has a nanny (Calista) who takes care of him when his parents are working. Albie's parents love him, but they make some questionable choices (in my opinion).


Albie has difficulties in school. He gets kicked out of his private school and ends up in public school. When Albie's mom finds out he is reading Captain Underpants, she tells him the books are for "babies" and he should be reading something meant for kids his age instead. She insists he read Johnny Tremain.


I tried to read Johnny Tremain. I really did. I read all the words in the first paragraph, and the the second one. Then I started over with the first paragraph. That book didn't make any sense. Captain Underpants was still out on the pile of mail in the kitchen, and that book did make sense. Plus it was funny. But Captain Underpants was for babies, and I wasn't a baby.

- Albie


Why can't he read the books he enjoys? He is logging more reading than ever, and his teacher is proud, but his mother makes him feel bad about it. That is just wrong and pisses me off.


When Albie's dad finds out that Albie has a D in spelling, he tells Albie that he expects him to get a perfect score on the next spelling test. Albie worries because he only ever gets 4 words right out of 10.


It's not up for debate, Albie. Any son of mine should be able to spell. Do better.

- Albie's dad


I wondered how such a perfect speller like Dad could end up with a son like me.

- Albie


Seriously?? Why do dads say things like this to their kids? My husband does it too. It's like they don't think about how their words will affect the way the kids feel about themselves.


Albie has low self-esteem and worries about why he isn't "smart". But, he is a genuinely nice boy and while he is sometimes confused about social cues, he tries to do the right thing.


When one of the boys at school calls Albie a retard, the school decides to outlaw the word.


Darren Ackleman doesn't call me "retard" anymore. But I think maybe it's not words that need to be outlawed.

- Albie


Even Albie (who supposedly isn't that smart) knows that outlawing words is not the answer to the bullying problem.

This is a touching story about a boy trying to fit in, and trying to figure out his own self-worth, and about how the people in his life affect him (good and bad). Unfortunately, what happens in this book is sad and very realistic, but it also shows how resilient people are.


Recommended to:

This Sunshine State nominated book is good for readers in grade 3 and up who enjoy stories about school and friendships.