A Question of Fairness
There has been no teaching so far this year in Mr. Larson's classroom. There has been learning, but there has been no teaching. There is a teacher in the classroom, but he does not teach.
Cara Landry is a budding journalist. When she posts a scathing editorial about her burned-out teacher on the bulletin board one afternoon, everything changes. Prodded into action for the first time in years, Mr. Larson challenges his fifth-grade students to create a real newspaper. Soon The Landry News gets more attention than either Cara or her teacher bargained for, as the principal uses the paper to try to get Mr. Larson fired. While the whole town is swept up in a dramatic debate over The Landry News and the First Amendment, Mr. Larson uses the controversy as raw material for some of the finest teaching of his career. And Cara and her classmates learn the importance of tempering a newspaper's truth with mercy. But will their lessons cost Mr. Larson his job?
Written by the author of the immensely popular Frindle, this is a compelling new novel about the collision of a student in need of a teacher with a teacher in need of inspiration.
Writer Andrew Clements: Revealed
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"Cara Louise, I am talking to you!"
Cara Landry didn't answer her mom. She was busy.
She sat at the gray folding table in the kitchenette, a heap of torn paper scraps in front of her. Using a roll of clear tape, Cara was putting the pieces back together. Little by little, they fell into place on a fresh sheet of paper about eighteen inches wide. The top part was already taking shape -- a row of neat block letters, carefully drawn to look like newspaper type.
"Cara, honey, you promised you wouldn't start that again. Didn't you learn one little thing from the last... see more
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Reading Group Guide
Before Cara came to Denton Elementary School, she wrote a newspaper in her old school. What motivated her to start that newspaper? What was its tone?
"Truth is good," Cara's mother says. "But when you are publishing all that truth, just be sure there's some mercy, too." What does she mean by that? Do you agree that mercy is as important as truth?
Over the years, Mr. Larson became a lazy and sloppy teacher, and students became bored and restless in his classroom. How was the class's atmosphere good for Cara? Would it be good for you?
Mr. Larson was stung by Cara's first editorial, but The Landry News ended up reviving his love of teaching. How?
The Landry News starts small, but soon the whole school is reading it. How did Cara's duties change as the newspaper grew? What were the advantages of having a larger readership? What were the risks?
Mr. Larson's students know very little about his life outside of school. How much do you know about your teachers? What do you imagine they do on their own time? Do you believe they have different in-school and out-of-school personalities?
Why was the principal so upset by the "Lost and Found" article in The Landry News? Would you be?
"Some people are newsmakers," observes Cara, "and some aren't." Who are the newsmakers in your school or neighborhood? What makes them so interesting to others?
Activities and Research
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Behind the Book
Letter from Andrew Clements
The moment that salutation appears, you know what’s going on: It’s a letter, and someone hopes it has reached you.
We write a letter, send it off, and then we trust it arrives, hope it gets opened and read and thought about. It’s that way with a book as well, and my new novel, Extra Credit, is no exception. Plus, this book has a special kinship with letter writing: it’s built around a pen pal exchange between two sixth graders–a gi