Andrew Clements followed up the wildly successful novel, Frindle, with a series of school stories with main characters working to push through adversity. The School Story is about two middle school girls who are determined to show that they have what it takes to publish a novel of their own by whatever means necessary. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Andrew Clements has a special knack for treating his readers with respect by writing tween characters as intelligent, witty, and clever. This technique has worked well and has made him one of the most popular tween authors of our time. In The School Story, he used this talent well in writing about two smart and determined female protagonists.

From the Book Jacket:

Natalie’s best friend, Zoe, is sure that the novel Natalie’s written is good enough to be published. But how can a twelve-year-old girl publish a book? Natalie’s mother is an editor for a big children’s publisher, but Natalie doesn’t want to ask for any favors.

Then Zoe has a brilliant idea: Natalie can submit her manuscript under a pen name, with Zoe acting as her literary agent. But it’s not easy for two sixth graders to put themselves over as grown-ups, even with some help from a couple of real grown-ups who are supportive but skeptical. The next bestselling school story may be in their hands—but can Natalie and Zoe pull off their masquerade?

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Try a free sample of the novel study for The School Story HERE.


Students will quickly empathize with and relate to the main character, Natalie, who works through the grief of losing her father in a car accident by writing. Students will also admire Natalie for wanting to succeed on her own merits and not by favors through connections with her Mom’s employer. With the help of a good friend and a trusted teacher, Natalie is able to persevere and is a great role model for tween students to emulate.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany The School Story for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

You can purchase this novel study at the following locations:

Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

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