Nothing, but the Truth (Avi)
Ninth-grader Philip is upset, because his English grade is keeping him off the track
team. Though the rule is "respectful, silent attention", he hums along with the daily
playing of the national anthem. He's moved to the homeroom of Miss Narwin, his English
teacher who is rigid, humorless and out of touch with modern kids. When she tries to
enforce the silence rule, Philip responds with offhand rudeness. The ensuing confrontation
escalates into a two-day suspension followed by national media attention based on the
erroneous belief that Philip has been denied the right to express his patriotism.
Skillfully composing his story from school memos, news clips, dialogs and Philip's
diary, Avi shows how people can generate misinformation through a combination of
interrupting and not listening, shaping the facts to suit their own goals, letting
preconceptions prevail or just lacking the will and the skill to get things straight.
The conversations are all too believable: only one reporter makes an intelligent
effort to find out what really happened and his story is never printed. Nobody wins:
Philip transfers to a school that doesn't have track and Miss Narwin is forced to take
leave. Wryly satirical: nothing, but the deplorable truth about our increasingly
insensitive, media-driven society!