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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Ling Sung doesn’t like school. The other children can do things that he can’t. But Ling Sung soon finds out that there is something very special that only he can do…

Terry can tie up his shoes – Ling Sung can’t. Manjit can write her name but Ling Sung’s letters go all wrong and Sharon can button up her coat perfectly. Ling Sung doesn’t want to go back to school every again.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published October 7th 2002 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks (first published 1991)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  69 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Sosanna Milad
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first full book I read in English This helped me to learn some new words and the story is enjoyable and aimed at not to despair and face bullying
Paula Alejandra Londono-Martinez
The book captures accurately the story of frustration and then identity assertion of a little boy who is exposed to the school environment and the ways children seek to stand out and demonstrate the abilities they have learned. The culture here is depicted as a matter of expressing own and unique ways that make part of our everyday activities. Our main character, for instance, reveals his unique way to eat using chopsticks (unique in the sense no one other than him does that in the classroom). ...more
Amy Chong
Cleversticks is a book about a boy that finally finds what he is good at. Ling Sung could not tie his shoes,paint, or button his jacket like some of his classmates. That was until he used his paint brushes to pick up something. Using his "Cleversticks" was his special talent and was something the other students could not do. This book goes well with my topic because I liked how using chopsticks was a special talent Ling Sung could claim. I feel like many Asian immigrant students feel discouraged ...more
Farhana Begum
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about a little boy named Ling Sung. Ling Sung does not enjoy going to school because he fears he cannot do the things that the other children are able to do. For example, Ling Sung is unable to tie his shoe laces like Terry can, nor write his name like Manjit can. One day, Ling Sung finds a few paint brushes and pretends to use them like chopsticks just like he does at home. Ling Sung’s teacher soon realises his talent and applauds him. Soon, all the children begin to use paint ...more
Latosha Finch
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-culture
Ling Sung is the main character in this book by Bernard Ashley. Ling is having a difficult time finding his niche and where he fits in. All of the things Ling’s classmates could do, he could not. Ling could not tie his shoe, he could not button his jacket correctly, he could not write his name, but there was one thing Ling found out he could do that no other student or his teacher could do, eat with chopsticks. Ling began to show his peers and teacher how to eat with chopsticks. As a teacher I ...more
Becky B
Aug 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Multicultural classrooms
Ling Sung has decided he doesn't like school. It seems like all the other kids can do things that earn claps, like tying shoes and writing their names, but he can't do anything. Then one day he picks up two paint brushes and uses the ends as chopsticks to eat his snack. His teacher notices and everyone claps. Soon Ling Sung is teaching everyone how to use chopsticks, and in turn, he is willing to let others teach him things too.

If kindergarten teachers are looking for a multicultural book about
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ltcy504
I would not use this book for my class, so I will write the book talk for the pre-K-2 gr.

Have you ever wished you could do something special? Something that would make your friends and teachers clap and cheer? How many of you have not been able to do something that one of your friends could do - like a cartwheel or ride a two wheeler or read a book by yourself? How did that make you feel? Well Ling Sung feels the exact same way, until he discovers something he can do that is totally clever!

Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Basically, this is a story that every kid can relate to. Everyone has a unique talent for or ability to do something. In this case Ling Sung improvises a pair of chopsticks from the handles of two paintbrushes and impresses his classmates, who then try to imitate him. What gave me the heebie jeebies a little was the thought of using unsanitized paintbrush handles that everyone's grubby hands have touched to put food into your mouth. And the teacher was doing it too! If only there had been a ...more
The Styling Librarian
Cleversticks by Bernard Ashley, illustrated by Derek Brazell – publ. in 1992 – Great for preschool and up – Special little book that I’d heard about multiple times over the past few years, had to finally pick it up to read… Special little book about a little boy who feels quite left out at his school because many of his classmates are recognized for their special abilities like tying shoes and writing their name… until he does something so natural to him that he doesn’t realize it is special.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book. The theme is "everyone is good at something." A little boy just started Kindergarten and he is feeling left out because everyone knows how to do certain things and the teacher is complimenting them on what they can do. He finally does something that the other kids can't do and the teacher compliments him on it and he teaches the rest of the class how to do it. Good book, you should read it.
Mar 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books, kidlit
A young Chinese boy has a frustrating experience going to school for the first time. He's not clever in any of the ways the other kids are (writing ins name, tying his shoes, etc). But when he picks up two paintbrushes and uses them like chopsticks, he finally has a tLent everyone can admire. Easy reader in picture book format.
Brittany Quigley
about a young Chinese boy who doesn't like school because he doesn't fit in and can't do things others his age can
Ling Sung ends up teaching the class how to use chopsticks and everyone is amazed at what he can do
Sung Baick
Great read for students of all elementary school grade levels. This can lead into some great discussion about how everyone has their own special talents as well as weaknesses. This is also good for having students encourage and point out strengths of other students.
Neil Nicholson
This is the story of a little Asian boy who thinks that everyone at his school has some better talent than he does. When Ling realizes that people admire his use of chopsticks, he becomes confident in himself. I would recommend this book for k through 2nd.
Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cute story about what makes everyone special, and how we need to use our unique talents to help others.
Great story about a child that feels like he doesn't have any special talents, until he realizes otherwise. I would use this story to discuss culture in the classroom.
Jan Clancy
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Learning self-confidence without arrogance. Accepting oneself and accepting others. Wonderful story.
We're all good at something.
Mrs H. Hawksworth
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UEL Primary PGCE ...: Cleversticks by Bernard Ashley 1 1 Jan 07, 2015 03:32AM  

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Bernard Ashley lives in Charlton, south east London, only a street or so from where he was born. He was educated at the Roan School, Blackheath and Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School, Rochester. After National Service in the RAF Bernard trained to teach at Trent Park College of Education, specializing in Drama. He followed this with an Advanced Diploma at the Cambridge Institute and has ...more
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