by Avi. (Orchard/Jackson, 1991. ISBN 0531059596. Order Info.) Novel. 192 pages. Grades 5-9.
To begin a discussion of the Bill of Rights you can use Avi's novel Nothing But the Truth. It shouldn't take more than one class period to read it aloud to fifth or sixth graders. Subtitled, "A Documentary Novel," this book is almost guaranteed to provoke discussion, certainly the incident around which it revolves did so. We follow the plot through a series of documents: memos, journal-entries, newspaper and talk show stories and written conversations as a simple incident grows. The truth, as I see it, is that a ninth grade student, annoyed by a teacher's perceived inflexibility, decides to annoy her in turn by humming the National Anthem when it is played over the loud speaker during opening exercises even though the rule states that students should "stand at respectful silent attention." The teacher, a sincere and dedicated woman, rises to the bait, and throws the kid out of her class. From then on things just grow bigger and more and more out of focus: a man running for school board grabs it as an election cause; the story is picked up by the national press; a talk show personality gets people even more roused; there are telegrams and letters to all concerned. Has free speech been violated? Whose? The results are calamitous for both teacher and student. Who's wrong?
Following these links will take you off our web site. You will have to use your back button to return or, bookmark our site now so you can return anytime.
Subscribe to our Free Email Newsletter.
In Times Past
by Carol Hurst and Rebecca Otis
Integrating US History with Literature in Grades 3-8.
Enliven your US History curriculum!
Teach US History using great kids books.