Book 3 (out of 26): No Talking
Author: Andrew Clements
Illustrated by: Mark Elliott
Copyright: 2007, Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers
First I have to say this. Mark Elliott's illustrations are BEAUTIFUL. The expressions he drew were just perfect.
The fifth-grade girls and the fifth-grade boys at Laketon Elementary don't get along very well. But the real problem is that these kids are loud and disorderly. That's why the principal uses her red plastic bullhorn. A lot.
Then one day Dave Packer, a certified loudmouth, bumps into an idea - a big one that makes him try to keep quiet for a whole day. But what does Dave hear during lunch? A girl, Linsey Burgess, jabbering away. So Dave breaks his silences and lobs an insult. And those words spark a contest: Which team can say the fewest words during two whole days? And it's the boys against the girls.It was a very interesting story, one I wished happened to me. It was funny and thought-provoking. This was the first Andrew Clements book I read. I don't know why since my brother used to read him a lot when he was younger. The way Clements wrote No Talking was different from other children's books I've read. It was like hearing a story from a friend with an agenda. Clements jumped timelines and spoke directly to the reader. It would have been confusing if he didn't do it so very well. But he did. He pulled it off so that he told the story and the moral lessons along the way without speaking down to the audience. If I didn't feel spoken down to, I can only imagine how entertaining this book would be to kids.
I picked up this book because I'm an introvert and I love silence. In the book, Dave Packer starts the entire thing. SPOILER ALERT, but maybe it's okay because it's revealed very early on. Dave decides to stop talking for a whole day because he read about Ghandi and how he stopped talking one day a week. When I was still in college, I gave a Youth Night sermon about silence. The youth pastor introduced me, gave me the floor, I opened my mouth, and closed it. Said nothing. I decided for go for a whole minute. The reaction was both funny and informative. Silence always is.
No Talking is a wonderful book for anyone to read. Yes, adults should give this a go. Clements tackles not just the problems and challenges the kids face by not talking, but how the adults in their lives were affected as well. There were insights to how different adults might handle silence, their agreements and their objections. Right when I was nodding my head, Clements flips around and turns on different light bulbs. It was great!
I think kids would find this book very intriguing. Kids who stop talking for two whole days? I'm sure they'll wonder if they can do it too, and maybe some daring kids will try. There's a lot to be learned from being silent. Clements brings it up in the book, but I hope his book inspires kids to take silence to heart.