by Andrew Clements
Abby Carson does not want to repeat sixth grade next year, and she is determined to do whatever it takes to make sure that that does happen. To boost up her grade in language arts and social studies, Abby begins a pen pal project with a student in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Sadeed may be the smartest student in his class and the best choice to write letters to the American girl, but it isn’t proper for a boy to write letters to a girl. So, Sadeed is assigned to help his younger sister write the letters to Abby. However, Sadeed starts slipping his own thoughts into the letters.
As letters are exchanged, the two start forming a friendship. But not everyone is happy about this.
I grew up reading a lot of Andrew Clement’s novels, so it’s always fun when I reread one of his novels. It was fun to read a book about people becoming friends through letter writing since snail-mail is almost a thing of the past.
Extra Credit gives a brief glimpse into the juxtaposition of cultures and traditions of America and Afghanistan. Over the course of the novel, Abby and Sadeed grow as they learn from and are challenged in a way by the other. It also gives a brief look at people’s perceptions and prejudices against other countries.