I know the book is aimed at kids, but I think it is one both kids and parents should read. Absolutely Almost (Philomel, 2014) by Lisa Graff is one of those books that affects the kid in me and the parent in me. No one is great at everything–no matter what we think of others–and we often don’t reach or only almost reach our goals. So I feel Albie from the inside–that struggle of not quite fitting in. That feeling of not being good at anything (at least anything we can see as a kid.) But I also feel it on the parent side, where I’m desperately sorry for him and want to help make it right. The book is an NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor Book for Outstanding Fiction for Children.
Here’s a brief intro: Albie wasn’t supposed to hear when his grandfather says, “Not everybody can be the rock at the top of the rock pile.” But Albie knows he’s not good at figuring out how much to tip the delivery man bringing the Chinese food, which frustrates his parents. He also knows he was asked to leave Mountford Prep, which made his dad really mad. Even at his new school he can’t get a perfect on his spelling test, something else his dad is unhappy about. Why does everyone else figure out things quicker, faster? What can Albie do to make his parents proud of him?
There’s an interview with the author about why and how she wrote this book. Read it here. Find out more about Lisa Graff and her other books on her website.