Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
Albie is forced to change schools because of his very low grades. He starts fifth grade with realistic expectations. He tries; it's not as if he is lazy. He struggles with math and spelling due to his learning difficulties. He survives because he knows that he is not stupid. He also knows that kindness and caring go a long way. He empathizes with a classmate who has a speech impediment and wants to be her "cool" friend. Calista is hired to help him, but his parents feel a need to fire her. He is an only child; you would think his parents would spend more time with him.
Me and Albie would have found more help sooner. You know how people talk casually that it almost sounds normal. Don't dwell on all the grammatical errors in this book. This book has several culturally diverse characters. The best part of the book is the development of self esteem. You get a sense of what it is actually like for a child growing up in New York City. I didn't know what the title of this realistic fiction was suppose to mean. I do now and almost is good enough for me.
* Bluestem 2017 Award Nominee *