Module 7: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
Look, L. (2009). Alvin Ho: Allergic to girls, school and other scary things. New York: Yearling.
The story of an Asian American second grader who is scared at school but not so much at home. He is scared of many, many things and is so shy at school that he never even says a word. The book details his second grade life as he deals with his fears and learns to overcome them.
What Did I Think?
I enjoyed the way Alvin’s Asian heritage is integrated into the story. It helps to create an unforgettable character in second grader Alvin Ho. It also discusses relevant topics such as dealing with a bully and facing fears in life.
From School Library Journal
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Horn Book (July/August, 2008)
Fearful second-grader Alvin Ho has never, not once, said a single word in school. His voice works at home, in the car, on the school bus. “But as soon as I get to school…I am as silent as a side of beef.” Like the author’s Ruby Lu chapter books (Ruby Lu, Brave and True; Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything, rev. 5/06), this one acknowledges kids’ troubles while lightening them in a funny yet respectful way. For instance, Alvin plays cards with the psychotherapist he sees for his anxiety. When he realizes she’s letting him win, he says his first words to her — swear words he’s learned from his dad. But they’re Shakespearean swear words (“Sit thee on a spit, then eat my sneakers, thou droning beef-witted nut hook”), so she’s impressed. There’s no miracle cure for Alvin’s missing voice, and the book nicely focuses more on his need for friends. At the end, he’s still afraid of school, scary movies, etc., but he’s made a friend — and it’s (yikes!) a girl. Generously illustrated short chapters include laugh-out-loud descriptions of Alvin’s attempt to grow taller (his siblings leave him hanging from a tree branch where he remains forgotten until his mother spots his empty seat at dinner), his fateful decision to bring his dad’s beloved childhood Johnny Astro toy for show-and-tell, and his brief membership in a not-so-tough neighborhood gang. Readers will hope Alvin has enough fears to fill yet another small but hugely amusing chapter book.