New from Simon & Schuster

About Average

About Average

Illustrated by: Mark Elliott
For Ages: 8 - 12
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Can average be amazing? The bestselling author of Frindle shows that with a little kindness, it can.

Jordan Johnston is average. Not short, not tall. Not plump, not slim. Not gifted, not flunking out. Even her shoe size is average. She’s ordinary for her school, for her town, for even the whole wide world, it seems.

Then Marlea Harkins, one of the most popular girls in school—and most definitely the meanest—does something unthinkable, and suddenly nice, average Jordan isn’t thinking average thoughts anymore. She wants to get Marlea back! But what’s the best way to beat a bully? Could it be with kindness?

Called “a genius of gentle, high concept tales set in suburban middle school” by The New York Times, bestselling author Andrew Clements presents a compelling story of the greatest achievement possible—self-acceptance.
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 128 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416997269 | 
  • July 2012 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7
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Writer Andrew Clements: Revealed

Author Andrew Clements finds inspiration in Benjamin Franklin's contributions to American history.

Read an Excerpt

About Average CHAPTER ONE CERTAINTY
It was a sunny spring morning, but there was murder in the air. Jordan Johnston was killing Pomp and Circumstance. Actually, the whole elementary school orchestra was involved. It was a musical massacre.

But Jordan’s violin was especially deadly. It screeched like a frightened owl. Mr. Graisha glared at her, snapping his baton up and down, side to side, fighting to keep all twenty-three students playing in unison. It was a losing... see more

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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for

About Average

By Andrew Clements

About the Book

Jordan Johnston wishes she were extraordinarily popular, pretty, athletic, musical, intelligent . . . something! She dreams about escaping her average existence but what she can’t figure out is exactly how. Then nature intervenes and Jordan discovers something way above average about herself that may have been there all along.

Discussion Topics

1. From the start of the novel, it is clear that Jordan is frustrated by her lack of special talents. Reread the first ten pages of the novel and then list at least four things at which Jordan appears to have skill. Can you think of a word or phrase to describe the types of aptitudes Jordan possesses? What kind of “above average” abilities does she want?

2. What does Marlea Harkins do that upsets Jordan? What options does Jordan consider to retaliate against Marlea? Do you agree with her thought process? What advice would you give to Jordan at the end of Chapter Four?

3. At the end of Chapter Six, Jordan observes that: “Numbers were so clean and simple. No words, no feelings, no mind tricks. Numbers were like a hiding place, a quiet corner of the world.” Do you feel this way about numbers or can you understand what Jordan means? Is there another school subject or activity that brings you comfort? Explain your answer. see more

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