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The Landry News (1999)

por Andrew Clements

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1,615278,340 (3.9)3
A fifth-grader starts a newspaper with an editorial that prompts her burnt-out classroom teacher to really begin teaching again, but he is later threatened with disciplinary action as a result.
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Cara Landry is a new fifth grader at Denton Elementary School, and she's placed in Mr. Larson's class - but Mr. Larson stopped actively teaching years ago, so in his "open classroom," Cara sits in the back and quietly makes a newspaper, which she tacks up on the wall. The first edition of her paper includes an editorial - about Mr. Larson, who realizes, with the help of his wife (also a teacher) that his students do need him. Together, they all become involved in a "journalism unit," which morphs into a lesson on the First Amendment and freedom of the press when the principal, Dr. Barnes, decides to try to use the Landry News as a tool to fire Mr. Larson.

Quick, clever, funny, and poignant. Slightly dated now in its ideas about divorce as a controversial topic, and in technology, but still very entertaining and incisive.

See also: Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, Frindle by Andrew Clements

Quotes

Teachers don't burn out all at once. It happens a little at a time, like the weariness that can overtake a person walking up a steep hill - you begin to get tired and you slow down, and then you feel like you just have to stop and sit and rest. (23)

Finishing a conversation with Ms. Steinert always made him feel like he had just escaped from drowning. (54) ( )
  JennyArch | Sep 18, 2021 |
00015096
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
It was on a list of summer reading for my fourth-grade daughter. Plus, I used to write an “underground” newspaper, so I couldn’t pass this up.

But it reads like it was meant to be used for curriculum. It reeks of “written to be taught”, not because the author had something to say or a good story in mind. I deduce this because it’s padded badly. The beginning doesn’t match the ending–it switches themes partway through. After about a third of the way, it stops being about the student-published newspaper and becomes about the “evil principal” trying to “get” the teacher. And then the news story he hides behind is reprinted word for word in the book. And it has nothing to do with either idea. Its content is about a kid’s divorce. It has nothing to do with the themes of the main plot. I don’t know what its meant for. I think it’s trying to cover different themes at once so there’s plenty for the class to discuss.

The inciting incident is also too implausible — I cannot believe that at teacher would sit at his desk for eight hours a day, reading the paper, while the kids futz in the classroom semi-supervised and not being taught. From 7AM to 3PM. Teachers have been fired for less, tenure or not.

It’s so instructive I expected there to be a study guide in the back. Just skip this one. ( )
  theWallflower | Feb 14, 2019 |
While it contains an introduction of sorts for middle readers to censorship and the First Amendment to the Constitution, this story is only adequate. Because of its brevity, there's not much room to develop characters, but the discussions on the First Amendment, especially as they apply to student writing, create more heft and momentum. The book does, like its titular newspaper, contain truth and mercy, but it also provides a primer as to why so many writers skirt technology. The passages about computer use will seem (not surprisingly given the 1999 copyright) primitive to today's 10-year-old digital natives.

As a teacher, I find it hard to believe the premise that the burnt-out teacher, who reads the newspaper during his classes, is allowed to continue for seven years before 5th grader Cara Landry revivifies his classroom & salvages his pride & his career. Might this premise might fly for its intended audience? Not likely. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
While it contains an introduction of sorts for middle readers to censorship and the First Amendment to the Constitution, this story is only adequate. Because of its brevity, there's not much room to develop characters, but the discussions on the First Amendment, especially as they apply to student writing, create more heft and momentum. The book does, like its titular newspaper, contain truth and mercy, but it also provides a primer as to why so many writers skirt technology. The passages about computer use will seem (not surprisingly given the 1999 copyright) primitive to today's 10-year-old digital natives.

As a teacher, I find it hard to believe the premise that the burnt-out teacher, who reads the newspaper during his classes, is allowed to continue for seven years before 5th grader Cara Landry revivifies his classroom & salvages his pride & his career. Might this premise might fly for its intended audience? Not likely. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
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For my brother Denney--
a good writer, a good journalist,
a good man
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"Cara Louise, I am talking to you!"
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Her mother smiled at her and said, "Truth is good, and it's all right to let the truth be known. But when you are publishing all that truth, just be sure there's some mercy, too. Then you'll be okay.
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A fifth-grader starts a newspaper with an editorial that prompts her burnt-out classroom teacher to really begin teaching again, but he is later threatened with disciplinary action as a result.

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