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Absolutely Almost is realistic fiction by Lisa Graff that many students will relate to. Albie has a whole list of things that he is not really very good at. As an only child, he just doesn't seem to measure up to the expectations. He has some learning difficulties. He messes up when he tries to give correct money to the delivery guy. No matter how much he studies he just can't get his spelling words right on the test. His Dad wants him to try harder. His Mom does not consider Captain Underpants appropriate reading for a fifth grader. His grandfather predicts he will wind up in a ditch! Kids at school are mean. He has been attending a private school, but must switch to public school (again, he doesn't measure up).
Albie's life begins to change when he gets a new babysitter. Calista is different, and she likes him for who he is. An artist, she creates a new cover for his favorite Captain Underpants books that says "Johnny Tremain!" One of the best things about this story by one of my favorite authors is that there is no neat wrap-up, happily ever after. Albie does, however, come through difficulties to feeling more self-worth.
And while I'm on the subject of Lisa Graff, I just read "A Clatter of Jars," her most recent book. I loved her 2014 story "A Tangle of Knots" and was excited to see that she was publishing a book in the same world. This one is set at a summer camp and has a whole new set of characters with just a cameo appearance by a few of the Tangle cast. If you read the first book and were wondering what happened to all those jars filled with talents this book will answer your questions!