Jennifer's Reviews > Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

Alvin Ho by Lenore Look
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Feb 03, 11

Read in January, 2011

Alvin Ho is a story about a second grade chinese american boy who suffers from selective mutism or "so-so performance anxiety disorder" as Alvin calls it. As a result, Alvin has never spoken a word at school. Alvin creates his own personal disaster kit (PDK) to help him "survive" second grade. The book follows Alvin as he struggles to be a part of the "cool crowd" which is made difficult due to his disability. Alvin must decide whether to befriend the school bully in order to fit in or to choose to befriend Flea who is also an somewhat of an outcast due to her physical disabilities. The books depicts a loving relationship with his parents who are supportive of Alvin and his condition.

Other reviews claim that the author doesn't treat the selective mutism seriously, but as someone with a family member who suffered from this condition, I have to disagree. Alvin's interaction with the therapist, its affect on his ability to make friends, and the lack of a cure at the end of the book lends this story credibility.

Relatable characters, lighthearted text and cute illustrations will appeal to young and reluctant readers.

This book is a Virginia Readers' Choice Award nominee.

Themes: Fear, Friendship, Family, self-esteem, psychological and physical disabilities

Classroom uses:

Students can create their own PDK. They should include illustrations and explanations for why they chose each item in their kit.

Students can research different chinese words and foods and make a glossary similar to the one in the book.

Students can write a paragraph about a time when they were scared. Students should describe how they felt at the time and how the situation was resolved
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