By Andrew Clements
2007, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
One of my favorite things about Andrew Clements' books is that the characters are never stereotypes. He's written quite a few books that are set in elementary schools (like this one), but he never repeats the same story or the same people. I also truly appreciate that he avoids the "adults are stupid and kids know better" view that lots of books and especially movies take now-a-days. Nothing is more annoying and zaps me right out of the story than unbelievably stupid adults that are made fun of by incredibly clever children.
This book tells the story of a rowdy 5th grade class that challenges each other to a "no talking" contest. My mom reads this to her 5th graders at the beginning of the school year (because she's a genius). It's a well-written and rounded story that shows the importance of thinking before you speak, the effect your words can have on others, and much more. All great stuff for kids to think about, and if we're honest, some lessons that adults could use too.