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Absolutely Almost

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  8,228 ratings  ·  988 reviews
Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 12th 2014 by Philomel Books (first published June 1st 2014)
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I had only one thought before the slaughter This man will not make an orphan of my daughter No. Not at all. This book is really informative and it is really modern in one way. I think middle school age kids should like it and even primary…moreNo. Not at all. This book is really informative and it is really modern in one way. I think middle school age kids should like it and even primary school kids should like it too!(less)

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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,228 ratings  ·  988 reviews

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In the stage musical of Matilda, lyricist Tim Minchin begins the show with the following lines about the state of children today: “Specialness is de rigueur. / Above average is average. Go fig-ueur! / Is it some modern miracle of calculus / That such frequent miracles don't render each one un-miraculous?” This song ran on a bit of a loop through my cranium as I read Lisa Graff latest middle grade novel Absolutely Almost. For parents, how well your child does reflects right back on you. Your chil ...more
Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in this review.

Albie is a fifth grade boy with academic and social problems. He is almost good at many things, but not quite good enough. His new babysitter, Calista, helps Ablie discover the things in life that make him happy and that he is good at.

I always hate it when everyone else loves a book, and I don't! Some of the problem with Absolutely Almost is that I look at literature through the lens of sixth graders because that is the grade I teach. I think this
Honest and funny, Lisa Graff's newest book had me cheering for the main character, Albie, by the first chapter. Struggling at school, teased by bullies, pressured by his parents, Albie has a lot going on in his life, and how he handles it all makes him all the more endearing. By the end, my husband and I (we read it during a road trip), were clamoring for Team Albie t-shirts. A lot of kids (and their parents, teachers, and librarians) are going to love this one.
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One day at work, I overheard a girl describing a book she couldn't wait to read to her mother: "Mom, I can't wait to read the next book! The last book ended on such a hangover!" She meant cliffhanger, her mother corrected her, we all giggled, and it was one of the many cute stories I see in a day being a children's librarian. But, I have to say, after staying up way too late to finish this book, sobbing uncontrollably at the end of it, and then being unable to sleep because I kept rolling it aro ...more
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
I have to say this book broke my heart and put it back together. I'm sure it's a great book for kids, but it has wisdom to spare for adults, especially for parents who are still learning how to parent the children they have, rather than the children they wish they had. I have just passed it along to my 19-yo to see if she finds the appeal transcends the middle-grade and middle-aged demographics.
به معنی واقعی کلمه، محشر بود.
یعنی فقط میخوام البی رو محکم بغل کنم و مواظب باشم براش اتفاقی نیفته. چقدر این پسر شیرین و دوست داشتنیه.

پ.ن۱: چقدر کتابای لیزا گراف فرق دارن با هم. باورم نمیشه همین نویسنده کلاف پرگره و چتر تابستان رو هم نوشته.

پ.ن۲: گوگل این کتاب رو به عنوان یک کتاب مناسب برای "میدل اسکولرها" معرفی کرده! ولی من دوستش دارم، و توصیه میکنم شما هم بخونیدش و دوستش داشته باشید.
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of when you reach me and if you aren't one, why why why in your name why
You want to know how much I liked this book? I liked it thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much.

"Some people aren't good at anything. Some people just really like donuts."

Lisa Graff always writes the best books ever. And they almost always fall into my lap just when I need them the most. She is my re-bound author but also so much more because the more you read her book, the better you like it, even if the wonder of first-time read her stories have isn't there. There's the wonder of revising an old, gold f
Barb Middleton
As a kid I would pretend I was a great athlete or genius. My dad is a genius. Really. He's been tested and his IQ is in the 140s. Of course I can't remember the exact number. I am not a genius. I am average. I didn't go to Harvard like dad. I wasn't a straight A student like dad. I didn't get high scores on college entrance exams. I was plain ole boring ...average. It took me a long time to be okay with that. As a kid, I would deal with it by reading books and vicariously become a superhero thro ...more
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile_fiction
Awwwww, this was achingly sweet and difficult at the same time. A good reminder for parents that while your kid is extraordinary in many ways just being OK in some aspects of life is fine too.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm adding Albie to my small collection of characters whom I keep close and wonder about from time to time.
Ms. Yingling
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Albie's parents are both very demanding and very busy with their work, and his Grandpa Park also has high expectations for him, so when Albie is asked not to return to Mountford Prep, everyone is disappointed. Albie feels like he isn't talented at anything. His best friend and neighbor, Erlan, is very busy over the summer since his family (which has two sets of triplets) is filming a reality show, so he is stuck with his new nanny, Calista. Calista is very different from the other nannies, and w ...more
This is the book I most desperately wish I read a few years ago, but it's still very relevant to me right now. Albie is more real than 98% of the characters I have read in books, from children's to adult's to non-fiction books. So much to write about this, so little idea of where and how to start. Proper review to come!!!
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: neda-s-books
قشنگ بود و دوسش داشتم، ولی داستان منو یاد شگفتی میانداخت. ینی یه جورایی یه سری جاهاش واسم تکراری بود.
و اگه هم نمیخوندمش قطعاً از اینکه یه کالیستا و آقای کلیفتون رو از دست دادم، ناراحت میشدم.
Elwood Christen
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
best book I have read in a long time
Clare Cannon
A hard-done-by kid who's not very smart gets a new 'not-babysitter' who helps to challenge his low self-esteem. The story has a sweet, positive message, even if the execution is not really engrossing as a story.

We gradually relate more to young Albie, and begin to suffer his disappointments - a disengaged father, a struggling mother, getting expelled from school for not getting good enough grades, struggling with calculations, with spelling and all things educational, and finally finding a wise
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This goes to my list of 'one of the most beautiful and sensitive books I have read till date.' I want every child and every grown up to read this book. The book contains a much needed message of loving a child for who s/he is and not for what what s/he has achieved. Math and reading do not come easily to 10 year old Albie so the expensive private school that his parents struggled to get him in kicked him out. Albie goes to a new school where the 'cool' kids call him retard and dummy. It hurts hi ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Oh, Albie.

Newbery criteria mentions "distinguished" a lot, which I know is not the same as "distinctive," but Graff has created a unique character here in that he is in fact NOT distinctive. He's just kind of stumping along in a below average way. And by the end, he's kind of ok with that (although disappointed to not be diagnosed with a reading disorder, because that would have made his parents feel better).

In a society where the pressure is on to not only keep up but edge out, and in a liter
Michelle Simpson
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grades
This is a wonderful book. The characters were ordinary people, like those we meet every day, and I felt instantly connected. I so wanted Albie to succeed, to win, to get revenge, etc., but he just kept chugging along... Readers will like him and root for him throughout the story!

The book reminded me a little bit of Calli Be Gold, in that the adults in the story didn't always have realistic & even fair expectations for the child. Sometimes the child doesn't seem to have a voice when with his/
Ghazaal B.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When reading this book as an adult, or better to say as a "no longer a teenager", you will have a total different understanding.
Very strong. I felt every single character. Every act and react made sense to me. it made me laugh, it made ke cry, it made me pause and start over even a few days later cause I needed to digest the whole thing, And now I'm just sad that I've finnished reading it and the fact that I can't read it again as if I've never read it before.
Michelle Glatt
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Top notch perspective in this book--and I can say that I haven't ever read a book about a child with learning challenges that is quite like this one. I can definitely think of a number of students who would be inspired to understanding and kindness by this novel.
Fatemeh Noorani
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fatemeh by: Ghazaal B.
از سادگیِ آلبی خوشم میاومد. در واقع میشه گفت متن کتاب، درد دلهای من راجع به مدرسه بود. اینکه همش تلاش کنی کول به نظر برسی و خودت رو توی یه اکیپ جا بدی و دوست صمیمیت چقدر به فکرته و توقعات و انتظارات والدین چیه و یه معلم خوب چقدر میتونه دلگرمی بده به آدم و خیلی چیزهای دیگه.
خیلی از دیالوگها، لبخند روی لبم آورد. دغدغههای یه بچهی دبستانی رو به زبان ساده، بیان کرده.
دوستش داشتم.
Susan  Dunn
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Albie is going to be starting 5th grade at a new school. He isn't quite sure why he's being transferred, but it has something to do with a letter from his old school that really upset his parents. Albie has always struggled in school. He's a kind, gentle soul - the kind of kid who, when he gets to be captain of the basketball team picks the worst play first because he feels bad that she's always picked last. But being a nice kid isn't getting Albie anywhere with his peers, or ...more
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this - it's another story that has you loving and rooting for the main character from the first few pages. This has the emotional power of Wonder, Mockingbird and Out of my mind. I would love to offer my students the audiobook as well as the print copy as it would be wonderful read aloud with the right voice. As I was listening I could hears the voices from Augie and family from the Wonder audio in my head - that might just be my need to hear an American accent with this one!
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, childrens
Lisa Graff is definitely one of my favorite new (to me) middle grade novelists. I really liked her characters and the honesty with which they were portrayed. I could see trouble coming a mile away in the instances there was trouble, and it was so painful when Albie could not. Similar to The Thing About Georgie, there was the clear cut nasty name calling bully, and the individualistic caring friends. I felt vaguely unsatisfied at the end, but that felt realistic, like life.
Ryan Johnston
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked the book a lot, I recommend it. It is about a kid named Albie who is not really good at anything, School, sports, art, nothing. I can relate because I am not good at school or art! It stinks not being good at anything. His new babysitter helps him figure out the things he is good at and being ok with the things he is not. I was rooting for him.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Oh, this book had me from the first page. Will be my first read aloud of the school year. Beautiful.
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Review was originally posted on Children's Atheneum

Albie has never been the smartest kind in his class. He almost passes, but as his father says, almost isn't enough. And it seems that everything Albie does is 'almost'. When Albie is kicked out of his old school, his best friend becomes part of a reality show, and he gets a new nanny/babysitter, Albie finds himself looking for something that he can be good at. Can he be the cool kid in school? Run for class vice-president?

After finishing this bo
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
When ten-year-old Albie is asked to leave his rigorous, private New York City prep school and starts public school, he isn’t sure at first why. But he soon perceives that his “tiger mom,” who insists he read Johnny Tremain rather than his beloved Captain Underpants, is disappointed in his less than stellar academic ability. Meanwhile, his father doesn’t seem to have the time of day even to work on a model plane they’re supposed to do together. The new school also brings new challenges: a great d ...more
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: randomly-reading
When my Kiddo was around 8, we were at the beach, sharing a vacation house with family from Washington DC. Her older cousin Mary was a gymnast with a few nice wins under her belt and her cousin Daniel was quite a good artist. One day, after watching Mary do gymnastics all over the house, the beach and the street, and after watching Daniel sit with his ("no, I don't share them") art supplies, she turned to me and, with a crestfallen face, asked why she didn't have a talent, too. "Talented" was a ...more
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j, life, not-graphic, voice
"So what's Donut Man's superpower, anyway?" Calista asked . . . "Eating donuts?" She scratched her nose with the end of her marker. "Making donuts?"

I shook my head. "He doesn't have a superpower. He just really likes donuts."

"But he's a superhero," Calista said. "That means he has to have a superpower.

"Nope," I said, because I was pretty sure she was wrong. "Some people aren't good at anything. Some people just really like donuts."
Some people aren't good at anything. It's an uncomfortable truth;
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Lisa Graff is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the National Book Award nominee A Tangle of Knots, as well as Lost in the Sun, Absolutely Almost, Double Dog Dare, Umbrella Summer, The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower, The Thing About Georgie and Sophie Simon Solves Them All. Originally from California, she lived for many years in New York City and now makes her home just o ...more
“Everyone deserves a sad day once in a while,” Calista told me. “Sometimes things are too big for cheering up. Sometimes the best way to make things better is just to let yourself be sad for a little bit.” 13 likes
“You can’t get where you’re going without being where you’ve been.” 10 likes
More quotes…