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The Landry News

Rich with understanding of students and teachers.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A very strong message about showing mercy comes through. 

Positive role models

Cara defies her teacher and her mother.

Violence

Cara is filled with anger following her parents' split.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids love the humor and the complex issues raised. Adequate art adds little to the already exciting story. This shows the power of creativity, the written word, and the First Amendment. Cara deals bravely with the consequences of her actions.

What's the story?

Cara seems headed for trouble with her teacher, Mr. Larson, when she prints an editorial criticizing his teaching. But instead Cara and Mr. Larson find themselves joined in the fight of their lives against the principal and the school board. Once Mr. Larson was a great teacher. Now he is burned out, and spends his class periods hiding behind a newspaper while his students do as they please.

Cara Landry is new in school. She expresses her anger over her parents' divorce by creating a viciously accurate little newspaper, and includes an editorial on Mr. Larson's nonexistent teaching. This forces Mr. Larson to face what he has become, and Cara's mother, in despair, tells her, "When you are publishing all that truth, just be sure there's some mercy too."

Mr. Larson encourages Cara to lead the class in creating a school newspaper, whose motto is "Truth and Mercy." But while Mr. Larson begins to reconnect with his students--and Cara connects with her peers and channels her formidable talents into something positive--the principal sees the newspaper as the weapon he has been waiting for to force Mr. Larson out.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Andrew Clements has created another winning novel, rich with understanding of that peculiar institution -- school. Like the author's earlier novel, Frindle, this is about a gifted student and a gifted teacher in conflict. But if Frindle was about a student and a teacher -- each in top form -- engaged in an intellectual war, Mr. Larson and Cara Landry are near the bottom -- and each may be the other's hope for redemption.

This book deals with big, complex issues, including First Amendment rights in light of the Hazelwood decision, the spirit of a teacher ground down by the realities of his life, and the place where "mercy and truth are met together." Clement's strengths include respect for the intelligence of his readers. This book is inspiring because Clements, a former teacher, knows education is an ultimately ennobling activity that is concerned as much with the heart as with the head.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about responsible journalism. Cara's mother urges her to show mercy along with telling the truth. 

  • Do you think the media generally demonstrate mercy? Should they?

Book details

Author:Andrew Clements
Illustrator:Sal Murdocca
Genre:School
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:January 1, 1999
Number of pages:123

This review of The Landry News was written by

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Parent of a 12 year old Written byjhoel arredondo October 11, 2010
l think landay news book is ok. but the best book ever111111111111best 3333333333
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
really great book!!!!!!!
Teen, 17 years old Written byokthenisadaddymiko August 25, 2012

One of the worst books I have ever read.

This book is the worst book that I have ever read. I swear to you, I have read plenty of books in my life and this is one of the worst. There is no plot. It's ridiculously boring, it drones on over and over, and it feels like it's been stretched. I expected more from this, as it was a required summer reading book.