I like to have a list of "go to" authors in the library. Authors I know that write great stories, usually short, and always easy to relate to. Authors like Barbara O'Connor, James Preller, Gordon Korman and Andrew Clements just to name a few. I know I can always count on authors like these when I recommend their books to kids who are having trouble finding something to read.
One of those "go to" authors has a new book out and just like the others, I know kids are going to like it. Andrew Clements new book, About Average is about Jordan Johnston a sixth grade girl who was hoping this would be her year to stand out at something. However, it's in the last week of school, and she still isn't the most athletic, the most talented musician, or even the tallest or shortest. She's just Jordan, plain and average like the character in one of her favorite books, Sarah Plain and Tall. To make matters worse she is the victim of a bully.
Andrew Clements has a way of writing about kids that is completely accurate and true. In About Average he does it again. Jordan struggles with how to handle Marlea the bully. She has learned all of the right things to do, tell an adult, talk to the guidance counselor, walk away, everything we teach kids to do with a bully, but, like most kids, she doesn't believe any of them will work and feels they will probably make things worse for her.
The relationships between Jordan and her friends and teachers are so realistically written that I know a lot of kids will see them in this story. The end has some pretty dramatic changes that hopefully most kids won't have to go through, but the message that you need to be ready in case of anything is loud and clear. I'll be recommending this book to all of my students grades 3 through 5 as I do all Andrew Clements books.