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Extra Credit

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  8,843 ratings  ·  599 reviews
It isn’t that Abby Carson can’t do her schoolwork. She just doesn’t like doing it. And in February a warning letter arrives at her home. Abby will have to repeat sixth grade—unless she meets some specific conditions, including taking on an extra-credit project to find a pen pal in a distant country. Seems simple enough. But when Abby’s first letter arrives at a small schoo ...more
Hardcover, 183 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published June 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,843 ratings  ·  599 reviews

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Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Andrew Clements is one of those authors who can slip by you unnoticed, if you let that happen. His books never received vocal support in Newbery discussions, but were read by lots of kids. He had a robust, loyal following among grade schoolers, and with the release of Extra Credit in 2009 I was intrigued to hear, really for the first time, Newbery talk about an Andrew Clements book.

I can see why this book would receive the praise that it's been given. The narrative deftly weaves in and out of t
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always liked Clements' books, but was really impressed with this one. Some things I liked about it:
1)It effectively portrays a student who doesn't really care to do her work; it's not that she can't, she just doesn't want to. I think I have many students who could relate to this. I expected the stereotypical "never really learned how to read", but that wasn't it.
2) There are caring parents and teachers. (Sure, the dad is a bit gruff at times, but that's probably realistic.)
3) Kids can learn
Rachel Aranda
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very sweet and endearing middle schooler book. I like how both Abby and Sadeed changed a little throughout the story. One issue I have with books is how characters change drastically from who they are with hardly any effort. Nothing and nobody changes without any effort or reason. Amira and Mariah act as constants for both Sadeed and Abby so readers notice the change. I also liked how Mr. Clements showed a realistic way that children see ether world at a young age (in this case 10 and ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Abby Johnson
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blogged
When Abby Carson learns she's in danger of failing the sixth grade, her teacher assigns her an extra credit assignment to help with her social studies grade. Abby will write to a pen pal in Afghanistan and then present a report to the class. When Sadeed writes back to her, Abby learns that although they are different, they are also the same, and she begins to see her life in America through new eyes.

Andrew Clements is a master of realistic fiction for middle graders. Abby and Sadeed came to lif
Garrin Reiter
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was fun and exciting. It was sad and got weird at some moments but overall it was a good book
Steven R. McEvoy
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
This was the 10th book by Clements that I have read over the last few months. Most of his books have a lesson but this one dealing with hostilities between the US and Afghanistan as experienced by students in both countries pushes the boundary for Clements. It is an interesting read but not one of my favorites by Clements.

This is primarily a story about pen pals, Abby Carson and Sadeed Bayat. Abby is in desperate need of a pen pal because she is about to repeat her grade and an Extra Credit pro
Maximilian Lee
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was BORING because it didn't have any adventure or excitement in it and those are my favorite things in books. A basic summary of the book is that Abby is a 6th grader who goes to school in Illinois. She was failing 6th grade so she might have to repeat it next year, so if she doesn't want to repeat 6th grade next year she has to do EXTRA CREDIT. The extra credit is that Abby has to be a pen pal with someone in Afghanistan. In the end she does pretty well on the tests but I d ...more
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-enjoy-again
Well-done. Highly recommended, especially to the target audience of 3rd - 6th grade children, especially to female reluctant readers grade 5 or 6. Because that's Abby. And she's easy to empathize/ identify with, and a good role model, too. Maybe a little too earnest for the full five stars, but a wonderful story nonetheless.

Very mild spoiler:

(view spoiler)
Susy  *MotherLambReads*
Such a great kid's book for those kids who like to learn about different countries and how kids are in other parts of the world. This book created a lot of dialogue for us as we listened. I was impressed how Clements (as always) can make a setting come alive for young readers. We were able to talk about differences that we experience here as a family, the freedoms we have that so many others don't. Yet in the same vein children are the same every where with the same desires. I like how Clements ...more
This started out slow for me and I wasn't sure about it. Then something happened and it became a fantastic story. This is about Pen Pals between Abby in Illinois and Sadeed in Afganistan. It does a great job of showing difference between the two cultures and all the privileges Americans have. The story was so well done. Andrew Clements can be counted on for a fantastic story. I've never been let down. It also reminds me of my youth and the pen pals I had. I think that is such a great experience. ...more
Arica Lingerfelt
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
My 8 year old recommended this book to me since she really loves books by Andrew Clements. This was a sweet book about understanding others and their culture as well as friendship. I think this book was written in a way that kids can relate to and is interesting for them to read.
Libby May
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Kids weren't very well behaved, had a bad attitude. Beside that, I liked the political look it gave. ...more
Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
Andrew Clements is a great middle-grade writer and this was a good, slightly anti-climatic/boring story.

The MC must become penpals with a brother and sister pair in Afghanistan in order to pass the 6th grade. The reader gets to see both worlds and their differences, though it is a very small window into the worlds.

I liked that it can introduce children to new cultures and encourage them to learn about different people.
I also liked that the MC struggles with school and prefers nature and rock
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very unique, creative, thoughtful, and timely book dealing with realistic fiction in the authentic and powerfully meaningful ways Andrew Clements is so well known for. Firstly, his approach toward helping students grasp the seriousness of slacking off on their academic responsibilities - putting their promotion onto the next grade in serious jeopardy - was wonderful. I've never heard of an author seriously broaching this topic and showing failing students the steps they can take to turn their ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This book begins with the opposite premise from "The Report Card" by the same author. Whereas The Report Card is all about questioning the hyperfocus on grades and the effectiveness of memorization testing, Extra Credit takes this all as the status quo and does not question it. The main character is failing 6th grade and under threat of being held back, takes on an extra credit assignment becoming a penpal with someone in Afghanistan. As with several of the author's books, the story touches on s ...more
Jack Bianchi
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Choice book #1 Quarter #2

Extra Credit written by Andrew Clements is a realistic fiction book and it takes place in Illinois and Afghanistan.

Abby and Sadeed

Abby: Abby is a determined girl who loves to rope climb, but she doesn't do that well is 6th grade so she has to do some extra credit to bring her grades up. She loves to explore in the woods and she has a good mind for creating stuff. But sometimes exploring can interfere with her homework.

Sadeed: Sadeed is a strong, brave kid who works for
Plot: Abby Carson is in danger of being held back in the 6th grade. As part of an extra credit assignment she writes to a pen pal in Afghanistan. Amira is the girl who receives Abby's letters, but it's her brother who handles writing back even though it's not considered proper by the men of the village for a boy to write to a girl. Abby's growing friendship with Amira and her brother Sadeed must come to a quick end when it becomes unsafe for the village to receive letters from America.

Why I pick
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
A sweet story about penpals in different countries. Perhaps not entirely realistic, but still a sweet tale. As someone who still writes/sends actual letters to people, I loved reading a book that championed just that.
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Abby Carson has perfected the art of homework avoidance. It's not that she can't do it, she just finds other things more enticing. She discovers to her shock, however, that unless she can make up some of the missing work, she will be held back a year. Abby finds herself working on a project involving a pen pal from Afghanistan.

Sadeed loves his schoolwork and is the best student in his class, but he cannot correspond with Abby directly, because she is a girl. His younger sister is given the task
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Abby Carson hasn't done well in school and might have to repeat sixth grade is she doesn't bring up her grades and do an extra credit project. The project is a penpal exchange with a student in Afghanistan.
She writes and gets a letter in return. It is supposedly from a girl, but in fact she's helped by her able brother who is two years older and the best student in the school. He couldn't write directly because the culture deems an exchange between 12-year-olds of the oppposite sex inappropriat
jessica wilson
Jan 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have to say I am quite fond of Andrew Clements. I have yet to read one of his books that I didn't like. This one was just as delightful as the rest. Maybe I best relate to the twelve year olds of his world?

Last night I began reading and as I crawled into bed to finish up the chapter I was on I found myself turning page after page until I was done. Finished! I finished the whole book in one reading. I know it is a kids book and all but the story was sweet, and telling. Andrew Clements has a way
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Andrew Clements: Man? God? Who can tell. What we have here is another brilliant story about the drama of eleven year olds from two perspectives a world away. Afghanistan has been in the news a lot lately because of that wedding singer who looks like Justin Trudeau (and also because American foreign policy, the end of the USSR, and maybe Saudis), but Abby chooses an Afghani penpal because Afghanistan is mountainous and her favorite thing at school is rock climbing. Abby doesn't like school and ch ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I'd really like to give this 3 1/2 stars, but I can't do the half star. This story is about a penpal project between an American girl and a boy in Afghanistan, who has to let his little sister appear to write the letters for the sake of propriety. It was an interesting look at two very different cultures, and showed how both children had misconceptions about each other's country. Through their contact, Abby learns to appreciate her country more, and Sadeed learns that the Americans fighting in h ...more
Felix Raeber
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is really good book for me because it has a lot of good things in it like expressions, emotion and enthusiasm. I like how it is a girl and a boy who talk to each other from far away.From Afghanistan to the United States of America. They communicate by writing letters to each other from Afghanistan to USA.

I recommend this book to people that like adventure books. They would write letters every day to each other. It is hard for the boy in Afghanistan to write in English so he figures it
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
When Abby learns she may need to repeat sixth grade she vows to do anything to prevent this from happening. Her teacher offers her an extra credit opportunity: start a penpal correspondence with a kid in another country. Abby writes to a school in Afghanistan and Sadeed Bayat responds, except it's supposed to be his sister who does. The letters allow Abby and Sadeed to learn more about each other and discover that although they live very different lives, they actually have much in common. This i ...more
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-caudill
A disappointing outing by Clements, who is usually so dependable at writing stories kids will read and like. This overly simplistic story of an American girl who must write to an Afghan pen pal to earn enough extra credit to be promoted to 7th grade feels forced, flat, and rushed. Kids deserve a more thoughtful look at the conflict in Afghanistan and the feelings of resentment and misunderstanding on both sides than Clements provides here.
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This book wasn't really my favorite book but I'd still recommend my friends to read it. It is about this girl named Abby. Instead of doing her homework, she likes to do outdoor activities like rock climbing. She then starts to fall behind in her classwork/homework in school and has a consequence of failing the 6th grade. In order for her to pass, her teachers make her do an extra credit. Now, Abby is doing her best to pass. ...more
Nancy Kotkin
In order to graduate sixth grade and move on to junior high school, an under-achieving student must take on an extra-credit assignment of a foreign pen-pal. Both she and her Afghani counterpart grow and change in unexpected ways throughout their correspondence with one another. This book manages to be realistic without being too scary or gruesome for middle school readers. Kid-centric and nuanced, this is definitely Andrew Clements at his finest.
Natalie Votipka
Good read for our homeschool book group that gave us a reason to learn where Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush mountains are. It illustrated how Afghani kids live in a very different culture in an engaging and age-appropriate way.
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I was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1949 and lived in Oaklyn and Cherry Hill until the middle of sixth grade. Then we moved to Springfield, Illinois. My parents were avid readers and they gave that love of books and reading to me and to all my brothers and sisters. I didn’t think about being a writer at all back then, but I did love to read. I'm certain there's a link between reading good books an ...more

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