NO Talking by Andrew Clements

Starred Review. Grade 3–6—Dave Packer's fifth-grade classmates are so boisterous and difficult to quiet down that the teachers have dubbed them "The Unshushables." Dave has just read about Mahatma Gandhi and learned that the man practiced silence one day a week to bring order to his mind. Though Dave likes to talk nonstop, he's determined to give the idea a try. An encounter with Lynsey, another chatterbox, sparks the boys and girls into challenging each other to a no-talking contest for 48 hours. They can answer direct questions from adults with three-word sentences but must otherwise remain silent. The teachers are bewildered at the extreme change in the kids until several of them figure out what's going on. Principal Hiatt demands that the quiet students return to their normal behavior. When the children continue with their silent ways, Dave finds himself at the center of the controversy. This is an interesting and thought-provoking book, similar to Clements's Frindle (S & S, 1996). The plot quickly draws readers in and keeps them turning pages. The author includes the viewpoints of both the students and the teachers, and the black-and-white pencil drawings add immediacy to the story. This lively offering would make a great book-group selection or classroom discussion starter.—Elaine Lesh Morgan, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

Basic Outline:
Opening Game: Charades
Book Talk w/ snacks

Prepare: Print and cut out the actions that they boys will try to act out.
(Action words like: Fishing, cooking, camping, riding a bike, skating, skiing, playing baseball. Movies: Superman, Spiderman, Hannah Montana- just for fun, The Incredible, Finding Nemo, Peter Pan, etc…)

Opening Game: Play Charades
Let the boys one at a time take turns drawing a slip of paper and acting out the word. Remember, NO Talking…

For home schooling families: this book introduces briefly Gandhi and the way India gained her independence. This book would be a great lead into a study about these topics.
Book Talk
1. Why did Dave want to try and not talk for a day? (p8)

2. How did his “experiment” of not talking- turn into a competition? (pg 23)

3. Which classes were hard to keep the rule of 3-words only? Which ones were easier?

4. Why did the teachers permit or let the kids continue- even when the principal told them to stop?

5. Why was the principal concerned in the first place? Was she right to try and make them talk? What do you think your principal would do? Or Your teachers?

6. What is the reward of the “head-to-head” competition between Dave and Lynsey? (pg 78)
7. Who won?

8. Why did Dave say the kids had a right to remain silent? (p130)

9. Why does Dave forgive the Principal? Do adults make mistakes?

10. Why did Dave offer the Principal join them?

11. Why did Gandhi have a day of silence? Was he playing a game? Is there any value to listening more?


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