Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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New York : Orchard Books, 1991.
IL YA RL 6.9 .
ISBN 0531059596

(5 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Have you ever felt like one of your teachers just didn't like you?  In Nothing But the Truth, ninth-grade Philip Malloy was convinced that his English teacher, Miss Narwin, was out to get him.  She complained about him not working, didn't smile at this classroom jokes, and gave him a failing grade which kept him from being able to join the track team.  Philip devised a plan to get himself transferred out Miss Narwin’s class.  Although the school policy was to remain “respectfully silent”, he continually sang along with the taped national anthem that was played over the school intercom each morning.  Philip’s attempts to agitate Miss Narwin by expressing his patriotic freedom spiraled out of control and eventually caught national attention.  Did Philip ever get transferred out of Miss Narwin’s class?  Did he get to join the track team?  What happened with Miss Narwin?  Find out by reading Nothing But the Truth.  (Carolyn Davis,, Sedgefield Intermediate Media Specialist, Berkeley County)

Booktalk #2

How could something as innocent as humming during the Star Spangled Banner make news across the country and cause an experienced teacher to take early retirement? Read "Nothing But the Truth" to find out all about it.

Booktalk #3

       Phillip Malloy is an average student that wants to run track.  Margaret Narwin is a veteran teacher that tries to instill of love of learning in her students.   The two collide when Phillip’s grades in Mrs. Narwin’s class are not sufficient to keep him on the track team.
       Phillip attempts to be removed from her classroom and homeroom in hopes of finding a more lenient teacher.  When this fails, he hums the National Anthem and gets sent to the office for not standing at “respectful, silent attention”.  The events that follow are detailed in letter, memo and diary form.
      Mrs. Narwin’s stellar teaching record is under attack and Phillip is questioning his own actions amid a storm of controversy.  Did Phillip do the right thing?  Did Mrs. Narwin do the right thing?  Does anyone even know what the right thing is?
       Read Nothing but the Truth and decide for yourself…  (Laura Blevins,, University of South Carolina, graduate candidate)

Booktalk #4

Nothing But The Truth is a story told through script-like conversations, memos, journal entries and letters. It is about a ninth-grader, Philip Malloy, who is suspended from school. Philip’s father thinks it is because Philip was humming the National Anthem while it was played over the school intercom. Philip’s teacher, Miss Narwin, who sent him to the office, did not want Philip to be suspended and said that Philip was not being quiet as asked during the playing of the national anthem, and therefore sent him to the office. She never dreamed he would be suspended. Philip just thinks Miss Narwin doesn’t like him and has it in for him. The newspapers get a hold of Philip’s story and suddenly it is national news with possibly serious consequences for Philip, Miss Narwin and the school.

Nothing But The Truth is a fast read and a story told from many different points of view.  (Melissa Bowman,, Armstrong Middle School)

Booktalk #5

Philip Malloy is a ninth grade student who is failing English and feels the teacher Ms. Narwin is out to get him. He begins humming the National Anthem during the morning announcements to annoy his teacher, and in violation of school rules, in hopes of getting out of Ms. Narwin's class. The minor incident turns into a national scandal when he gets suspended from school and Ms. Narwin is forced to take early retirement. Avi lets readers make their own judgments about what happens, but only the reader knows the whole story. Philip's fellow students easily figure out what really happens, and taunt him, punishing him more than the school authorities can and his parent go along with his lies to show their support, instead of finding out what is really wrong with their son. Through a series of letters, memos and journal entries the story unfolds and the surprising results are revealed in the final sentence of the book.  (Valerie Johnsen,, college student)

SUBJECTS:    High schools -- Fiction
                        Schools -- Fiction


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