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December 23

Avi was born in 1937.

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Avi was born in 1937.

Grades 5 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





Edward Irving Wortis was born on December 23, 1937, in New York City. As a child, his twin sister Emily called him "Avi," which is now the only name he uses. Despite his struggle with dysgraphia, Avi decided to focus on writing as a senior in high school. His first book was published in 1970 and he has published over 30 books since then. Avi was honored with the Newbery Medal for Crispin: Cross of Lead and a Newbery Honor for Nothing But the Truth.




In Nothing But the Truth, Avi writes in a documentary style, using journal entries, dialogue, and other writing genres. After reading this novel, have your students explore a current event topic and write their own short work of fiction in a similar multigenre format.

  • Have students research and select a current event topic of interest. Provide print resources such as magazines and newspapers, as well as access to news on the Web.

  • As a group, brainstorm a list of possible genres to include in a documentary-style story. The list could include those used in Nothing But the Truth, such as maps, poems, letters, or interviews.

  • Have students make brief presentations to the class on the topics they have chosen, including the resources they have selected for inclusion in their writing. Encourage constructive criticism and sharing of ideas for alternate resources students might include.

  • Have students use the feedback to plan their stories before writing. You may wish to have students use the Literary Elements Mapping tool to help with planning.

  • Finally, have students write their stories. Publish the stories on a bulletin board or in a class book.



  • Avi

    Avi's official website includes lists of his books, organized by genre or topic, as well as biographical information and information for teachers.


  • A Video Interview With Avi

    In this interview with Reading Rockets, Avi talks about the challenges of writing, his years as a librarian, and his symptoms of dyslexia.


  • A Guide to Nothing But the Truth

    This guide, from Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., provides a list of characters, chapter summaries, and related activities for Avi's novel.



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Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Alter Egos and More with Avi's "Who Was That Masked Man, Anyway?"

After reading Avi's novel "Who Was That Masked Man, Anyway?", students create an alter ego for themselves and use it to write their own radio show, modeled after the book.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Timelines and Texts: Motivating Students to Read Nonfiction

In an effort to help motivate students to read nonfiction, students are challenged to use a timeline to help them name the year when certain products were invented.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Freedom of Speech and Automatic Language: Examining the Pledge of Allegiance

This lesson has students explore freedom of speech by examining the Pledge of Allegiance from a historical and personal perspective and in relationship to fictional situations in novels.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Exploring Free Speech and Persuasion with Nothing But the Truth

Students read Avi's Nothing But the Truth and examine the First Amendment and student rights, and then decide whether the rights of the novel's protagonist, Philip, are violated.