The Word Gang is the story of three kids in school who start using big words to be disruptive. Kalisha Jackson is a girl with a stomach-churning secret - she cut school for a year and never got caught! A new year begins. Kalisha decides to go back to school. While waiting for the bus she sees an old man struggling with a cart full of groceries. She stops to help and meets Albrecht Spiza, a man who can speak seventeen languages, but who's had one to talk to since the death of his beloved wife, Rosa. Kalisha is late the first day setting off a conflict with her teacher, Jack Ralston. She's been stuck in something called Project Restart, a strange new program in which the penalty for t doing well is a special classroom in Juvenile Hall. Mr. Spiza gives Kalisha a copy of the Compact Oxford Dictionary. But the more big words Kalisha learns, the less everyone understands her and the madder Jack Ralston seems to get. Which to Kalisha and her new friends sounds like fun - and a great way to destroy Project Restart! That is, if they don't get trammeled, proscribed, or incarcerated, first.