No Talking

by Andrew Clements (Author) Mark Elliott (Illustrator)

No Talking
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
"You have the right to remain silent." However...

The fifth-grade girls and the fifth-grade boys at Laketon Elementary don't get along very well. But the real problem is that these kids are loud and disorderly. That's why the principal uses her red plastic bullhorn. A lot.

Then one day Dave Packer, a certified loudmouth, bumps into an idea -- a big one that makes him try to keep quiet for a whole day. But what does Dave hear during lunch? A girl, Lynsey Burgess, jabbering away. So Dave breaks his silence and lobs an insult. And those words spark a contest: Which team can say the fewest words during two whole days? And it's the boys against the girls.

How do the teachers react to the silence? What happens when the principal feels she's losing control? And will Dave and Lynsey plunge the whole school into chaos?

This funny and surprising book is about language and thought, about words unspoken, words spoken in anger, and especially about the power of words spoken in kindness...with or without a bullhorn. It's Andrew Clements at his best -- thought-provoking, true-to-life, and very entertaining.

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Publishers Weekly

Clements's ("Lunch Money") latest thoughtful school tale opens as fifth-grader Dave researches a report on India. He is fascinated to learn that for years Mahatma Gandhi did not speak at all one day each week to bring order to his mind. Dave, an inveterate blabber, tries to keep silent for a day at school, a plan that derails when he cannot contain his outrage at his classmate Lynsey's superficial, nonstop monologue at lunch (She "knew "I wanted that sweater more than anything, and she bought it anyway. And then? After school on Friday at soccer practice? She "smiled" at me, like she wanted to be friends or somethingas "if"!). After she erupts at his complaint, the pair enlists their entire grade in an experiment to determine which gender can utter fewer words during a two-day period. The rules allow students to answer teachers' questions with a three-word-only response, but they are prohibited from speaking after school is dismissed. Enhancing the challenge is the fact that the fifth grade has a reputation for being particularly loquacious, prompting the teachers to dub them The Unshushables. The contest plays out at an occasionally plodding pace, as Clements dwells on the teachers' musings about the competition as they find ways for the kids to learn and communicate nonverbally. Despite the rivalry that started the contest, the longstanding animosity between the boys and girls dissipates as the students bond over the experiment. Presuming the novel doesn't generate similar contests in real life, readers may be compelled to use their voices to praise Clement's deft handling of an interesting premise. Ages 8-12. ("Jun".) Copyright 2007 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review
Gr 36Dave 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" Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Andrew Clements set the standard for the school story in 1996 with his first novel, Frindle, which went on to sell more than two million copies...No Talking is Clements's best school story since." - The New York Times Book Review
Andrew Clements
Andrew Clements (1949-2019) was the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he was nominated for a multitude of state awards, including a Christopher Award and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He was also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. Find out more at

Adam Stower has a rich imagination and loves fantasy and adventure stories. He studied illustration at the Norwich School of Art and Design and at the University of Brighton, and lives with his daughter in Brighton, England.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date
June 20, 2007
Land of Enchantment Book Award
Nominee 2008 - 2009
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award
Nominee 2009 - 2009
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award
Nominee 2009 - 2009
Nevada Young Readers' Award
Nominee 2009 - 2009
Beehive Awards
Nominee 2009 - 2009
Colorado Children's Book Award
Nominee 2009 - 2009
Flicker Tale Children's Book Award
Nominee 2009 - 2009
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
Recommended 2008 - 2008
Golden Archer Award
Nominee 2009 - 2009
Great Stone Face Book Award
Nominee 2008 - 2009
Black-Eyed Susan Award
Winner 2008 - 2008
Volunteer State Book Awards
Nominee 2009 - 2010
West Virginia Children's Book Award
Nominee 2009 - 2009
California Young Reader Medal
Winner 2010 - 2010
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award
Winner 2009 - 2009
Young Reader's Choice Award
Nominee 2010 - 2010
South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award
Nominee 2009 - 2010
Iowa Children's Choice (ICCA) Award
Nominee 2009 - 2010
Virginia Readers Choice Award
Nominee 2010 - 2010
Nutmeg Book Award
Nominee 2011 - 2011
Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award
Nominee 2011 - 2011
Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award
Winner 2009 - 2010
Massachusetts Children's Book Award
Honor Book 2010 - 2011

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