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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

No Talking by Andrew Clements

No TalkingThe boys and girls in the fifth-grade class at Laketon Elementary School, nicknamed the Unhushables by their teachers, do not get along very well. When two class ringleaders, Dave and Lynsey, get into an argument over whether boys or girls talk more, Dave proposes a “no talking” contest between the sexes, loosely inspired by a project on Mahatma Gandhi.

The terms: no talking for two whole days, with only three-word sentences allowed in response to direct questions from teachers and adults while at school, and using the honor system in the evenings. Every word spoken not following the agreement is a point against their team, and an extra challenge pits Dave against Lynsey with the threat of a permanent marker “L” on his or her forehead for losing.

Even though their teachers have wished for quiet for years, they find it difficult and insulting to teach students who won’t participate properly. The principal and some teachers try to end the contest, while others embrace the concept with creative assignments. Life at Laketon Elementary changes as the kids are forced to communicate in new ways, plot together, and defend their right to remain silent.

Anyone who has ever gone to school or believed in cooties will enjoy this 2011 Bluestem nominee!


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