Mock Newbery 2022 discussion

All the Answers
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Book of the Month - 2016 > May Read - All the Answers

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message 1: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 560 comments Mod
Kate Messner's new book, All the Answers, about a magic pencil is being hailed as one of her best yet. Do you think it has Newbery potential?

Julie | 27 comments I just finished reading All the Answers. While I liked it, it doesn't scream "Newbery" to me. This is a book that I enjoyed reading but I will probably not remember in a few months. I don't think I'll order it for my elementary library as I can see it having very limited appeal.
The best part of the book is the lead character, Ava. Messner does a wonderful job making an anxious girl come alive. As a reader, she seemed completely believable to me. My problem was with the conclusion & explanation for the pencil's "magic". The quick ending didn't make sense to me & as a reader I felt the explanation would have generated way more questions that it answered!! In my opinion it's a fine book, just nothing spectacular.

message 3: by Czechgirl (last edited May 01, 2015 05:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Czechgirl | 214 comments I really liked this book. I have two students in my class that have already predicted this book to be next year's Newbery. I was a "What if" girl when I was young--well, I guess the "What if" never leaves oneself, but I am less of a "What if" person today than I was as a girl. The book's title, All the Answers, starts off as the pencil having all the answers, but then the title, "All the Answers" becomes deeper than that. I really like how Ava used the pencil not just to find out her own selfish curiosities, but to learn about other people's lives (ie--the people in the nursing home). I like how the author wrapped up the book also.

Meghan (hypermak) | 1 comments I started this book, and loved the quirky dad...hated the over worrying narration... I gave up after a hundred pages. I was bored.

message 5: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen Ferry (librarygarden) | 86 comments I read All the Answers on spring break and thought this might be the Messner book that my students would read. I did fly through the book and enjoyed it. The premise is far fetched, but hey so is The Fourteenth Goldfish and my copies are never in the library, and isn't that why we love to have the impossible be possible. The story would make a great writing prompt for students about what they would do with the pencil if they had it.
Not a Newbery contender for me.

Jenny (jennygr4) | 19 comments I enjoyed this book and read through it quickly. Did a book talk with my 4th graders and they have been reading and enjoying, too. I liked the idea of having all the answers, and think it would be a good discussion/writing topic. I liked how Ava used the pencil selflessly (mostly). Even though Ava could be frustrating at times, she felt well-developed as a character and I felt like I got to know her well through the story. Not sure if I'd say it was a Newbery book, but one that I did like, and I think MG readers will too!

My blog post here:

Debbie Tanner | 24 comments I read this one during our book fair this year. I really liked the characters and I liked the situation. It certainly gave my students pause to think about what it would be like to have all the answers. It was a fun book and I think it will be a big hit. Newbery award winner? Mmm, maybe not.

message 8: by Kate (new)

Kate | 173 comments All the Answers provides an engaging format for discussing important ethical issues. Such as, what is the difference between accepting help with school work and cheating? Or, does providing a benefit to another person justify invading privacy?

message 9: by Candice (new)

Candice | 1 comments Agreed. I like that the ethics are not didactic as well. She's entered into different situations where she can use it - but doesn't always. I'm going to use All the Answers for a 5th grade lunch-time discussion group next school year. I think they'll love it!

Barbie | 13 comments Would also pair well with Dan Gutman's The Homework Machine.

message 11: by Nan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nan | 6 comments I enjoyed All the Answers and have already recommended to several teachers (I haven't added to my collection yet). I think this would be a fun for a read aloud or a book club. I can see some lively discussions about the ethics of using the pencil or what it would be like to really have "all the answers". You really can't go wrong with Kate Messner.

Angie  (almemoore) | 10 comments I was able to read this as an advance copy and while I liked the book, and thing that my students will as well, I just don't see it as a Newbery book. But like others have said, that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it anyway. :) I like the idea of using it as a read aloud and for a discussion about what's right and wrong too.

Carol M | 46 comments I liked this okay. I thought the characters were well depicted-even the minor ones. I thought the part where Ava's friend wants to use the pencil differently was realistic. I can think think of kids I can reccommend this book to. But I am not wowed by this story. It;s just okay for me.

message 14: by Emily (last edited May 26, 2015 03:21PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Emily Andrus | 15 comments I also think it was just okay--not necessarily Newbery worthy. Personally, the over-worrying felt tedious (though I recognize that anxiety is a real issue, it was just tedious for me to read). And the way everything wraps up so nicely in the end (and so quickly) it didn't finish quite as superbly as it could have. Still, I really enjoyed the other characters, especially her mom. The other characters had awesome little insights into their deeper character (like the mom's feeling towards politics). I enjoyed the supporting characters.

Jenni Frencham (jennifrencham) I agree with what others have said. The book is cute, has a very Disney-esque ending, and might be enjoyable for some elementary readers but does not, in the end, stand out as Newbery material. I do like that the girls used the pencil to help the residents at the senior facility, but overall this book is not memorable.

Jenni | 77 comments I also found the book "just okay" and did not feel very invested in the character. The plot did go in a little different direction than I expected, which was nice. I'd be surprised to see this on anyone's short list at the end of the year.

message 17: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy | 17 comments Not Newbery worthy, but I do think it has merit. I think it would be great for a young book club to read. Just talking about how you would use the pencil would be a fun conversation with 4th graders.

Beverly (bevarcher) | 23 comments I loved this book. My 4th and 5th Grade Book Club will be reading it in the fall for our shortened "Mock Newbery" discussions. It's one of the few books that is centered completely around girls that I believe I can get the boys to read and enjoy.

Stephanie Sapp | 50 comments I enjoyed reading and it will be easy to recommend this one to my elementary students, just not Newbery worthy to me.

message 20: by Mark (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mark Parker | 12 comments I finally finished All the Answers. It took a long time to get into it. I almost quit half way through. I ended up enjoying it, mostly when the pencil wasn't so prominent and the characters took center stage. I'm sure young girls will love it, but I don't see Newbury in it's future.

Geebowie | 10 comments I really enjoyed this one . I was not bothered by Ava worrrying like other readers were. It was very very good but probably not a newbery book. Maybe a honnor at the most.

message 22: by Beth (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 9 comments I liked this book, it's was enjoyable and well-paced, and the characters were mostly believable, though a little cheery. the premises of the book is unique, but it just doesn't have the "wow" factor or emotional impact I'd expect from a Newbery. Maybe and Honor book as someone else mentioned, but probably not "the one".

Barbie | 13 comments Finally read this one! I agree with other posters- liked but didn't love this one by Messner. Ava's worrying became tedious which made the story predictable in places. The pencil channeling Grandmas spirit just didn't work for me.

message 24: by Donna (new)

Donna Preece | 21 comments I just finished reading, and I too agree with other readers. The pencil did not work for me. I lost interest and put the book down many times. I forced myself to finish it while on a car trip with nothing else available. I did enjoy the eye book more when the characters started using the pencil to help the seniors. Ok read, but not Newbery quality.

Mary HD (marymaclan) | 96 comments I liked this OK. Hadn't read a book before which focused so exclusively on a child's anxieties. But the appeal of the premise wore thin, and the pencil was too obviously a literary device. Not a Newbery contender, in my opinion.

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