Absolutely Almost.

By Lisa Graff. Read by Noah Galvin.

5 hrs. CD. Recorded Books, 2014. 9781490620930. Grades 4-6.

Albie is a little slow. He’s almost good at things, but there is nothing he is really good at. He is starting a new school for fifth grade, after getting kicked out of his last school for not being good enough (he doesn’t know that yet though). Albie is really worried that is isn’t good enough at anything and really tries to find out what he should be in life. His father pushes him. He tells Albie that only an A is good enough on his spelling tests. That means Albie can only get one word wrong. He practices and practices, but can’t do it.  Albie feels left out until he meets his new nanny (or as Albie likes to put it, “friend who hangs out with him.”), Calista. She is new to New York City, and Albie has fun showing her around the city. He likes her because she is nice to him and doesn’t tell him he’s bad at anything. She also finds that he is a good tour guide and he is good at being kind to people, even if they aren’t always nice to him. This is great reading for kids that are average. Not all kids are rocket scientists at things and this book says that that’s OK. It’s also a good food for Social/Emotional Standards in school for the older elementary and middle school kids to discuss. This is a sweet book. The narrator is good but not spectacular. I could have just as readily read the book instead of listened. But it didn’t take anything away either.

Try more social/emotional dilemnas with Crash by Spinelli. Try more out of place kids with Something About Georgie by Graff also. Try more awesome nannies with Harriet the Spy. Also recommended are Liar and Spy-Stead; Wonder-Palacio; and Rules-Lord (I don’t always like this read alike list because Albie is not special needs).