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Special Edition

Illustrated by Brian Selznick

About The Book

From bestselling and award-winning author Andrew Clements, a quirky, imaginative tale about creative thought and the power of language that will have readers inventing their own wordsnow available in a deluxe paperback edition!

Is Nick Allen a troublemaker? He really just likes to liven things up at school--and he's always had plenty of great ideas. When Nick learns some interesting information about how words are created, suddenly he’s got the inspiration for his best plan ever...the frindle. Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle?

Things begin innocently enough as Nick gets his friends to use the new word. Then other people in town start saying frindle. Soon the school is in an uproar, and Nick has become a local hero. His teacher wants Nick to put an end to all this nonsense, but the funny thing is frindle doesn’t belong to Nick anymore. The new word is spreading across the country, and there’s nothing Nick can do to stop it.


Frindle one

IF YOU ASKED the kids and the teachers at Lincoln Elementary School to make three lists—all the really bad kids, all the really smart kids, and all the really good kids—Nick Allen would not be on any of them. Nick deserved a list all his own, and everyone knew it.

Was Nick a troublemaker? Hard to say. One thing’s for sure: Nick Allen had plenty of ideas, and he knew what to do with them.

One time in third grade Nick decided to turn Miss Deaver’s room into a tropical island. What kid in New Hampshire isn’t ready for a little summer in February? So first he got everyone to make small palm trees out of green and brown construction paper and tape them onto the corners of each desk. Miss Deaver had only been a teacher for about six months, and she was delighted. “That’s so cute!”

The next day all the girls wore paper flowers in their hair and all the boys wore sunglasses and beach hats. Miss Deaver clapped her hands and said, “It’s so colorful!”

The day after that Nick turned the classroom thermostat up to about ninety degrees with a little screwdriver he had brought from home. All the kids changed into shorts and T-shirts with no shoes. And when Miss Deaver left the room for a minute, Nick spread about ten cups of fine white sand all over the classroom floor. Miss Deaver was surprised again at just how creative her students could be.

But the sand got tracked out into the hallway, where Manny the custodian did not think it was creative at all. And he stomped right down to the office.

The principal followed the trail of sand, and when she arrived, Miss Deaver was teaching the hula to some kids near the front of the room, and a tall, thin, shirtless boy with chestnut hair was just spiking a Nerf volleyball over a net made from six T-shirts tied together.

The third-grade trip to the South Seas ended. Suddenly.

But that didn’t stop Nick from trying to liven things up. Lincoln Elementary needed a good jolt once in a while, and Nick was just the guy to deliver it.

About a year later, Nick made the great blackbird discovery. One night he learned on a TV show that red-wing blackbirds give this high-pitched chirp when a hawk or some other danger comes near. Because of the way sound travels, the hunter birds can’t tell where the high-pitched chirp is coming from.

The next day during silent reading, Nick glanced at his teacher, and he noticed that Mrs. Avery’s nose was curved—kind of like the beak of a hawk. So Nick let out a high, squeaky, blackbird “peep!”

Mrs. Avery jerked her head up from her book and looked around. She couldn’t tell who did it, so she just said, “Shhh!” to the whole class.

A minute later Nick did it again, louder. “Peeep!” This time there was a little giggling from the class. But Mrs. Avery pretended not to hear the sound, and about fifteen seconds later she slowly stood up and walked to the back of the classroom.

Without taking his eyes off his book, and without moving at all, Nick put his heart and soul into the highest and most annoying chirp of all: “Peeeeep!”

Mrs. Avery pounced. “Janet Fisk, you stop that this instant!”

Janet, who was sitting four rows away from Nick, promptly turned white, then bright crimson.

“But it wasn’t me . . . honest.” There was a catch in Janet’s voice, as if she might cry.

Mrs. Avery knew she had made a mistake, and she apologized to Janet.

“But someone is asking for big trouble,” said Mrs. Avery, looking more like a hawk every second.

Nick kept reading, and he didn’t make a peep.

At lunchtime Nick talked to Janet. He felt bad that Mrs. Avery had pounced on her. Janet lived in Nick’s neighborhood, and sometimes they played together. She was good at baseball, and she was better at soccer than most of the kids in the whole school, boys or girls. Nick said, “Hey Janet—I’m sorry you got yelled at during reading. It was my fault. I was the one who made that sound.”

“You did?” said Janet. “But how come Mrs. Avery thought it was me?”

So Nick told her about the blackbirds, and Janet thought it was pretty interesting. Then she tried making a peep or two, and Janet’s chirps were even higher and squeakier than Nick’s. She promised to keep everything a secret.

For the rest of Nick’s fourth-grade year, at least once a week, Mrs. Avery heard a loud “peeeep” from somewhere in her classroom—sometimes it was a high-pitched chirp, and sometimes it was a very high-pitched chirp.

Mrs. Avery never figured out who was making that sound, and gradually she trained herself to ignore it. But she still looked like a hawk.

To Nick, the whole thing was just one long—and successful—science experiment.

And Janet Fisk enjoyed it, too.

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Topics
Describing his novel, Andrew Clements writes that Frindle "is about discovering the true nature of words, language, thought, community, learning." Take each of these ideas one at a time. How is each explored in Frindle? What do you think is the true nature of each?
The frindle is just one of Nick's great ideas. Brainstorm about ways you could improve your own school. How can you turn your ideas into action?
"Every good story," Mrs. Granger writes to Nick, "needs a bad guy, don't you think?" Do you agree? Does every good story have a villain? Can you think of any that don't?
Brian Selznick's illustrations add their own sly humor to Frindle. Discuss a few of your favorites in detail. For example, how does his first illustration, opposite the title page, help set up the novel? How do you know from his fullpage portrait of Mrs. Granger that she can't be pushed around?
Although Nick didn't know it until he turned twenty-one, his new word earned him a huge amount of money. Do you think his parents were right in setting up a trust fund for him? What do you think he might have done with the money if he could have spent it earlier? What would you do if you suddenly had a lot of money of your own?
"School," the author writes in Frindle, "was the perfect place to launch a new word." Why? What makes schools such good breeding grounds for fads? Do companies or community organizations ever use your school for promoting products or services? How?
Years after he leaves Mrs. Granger's class, Nick finds a perfect way to show her how important she was to him. What's your teacher's idea of a perfect gift from a former student? Has he or she received it yet?
Activities and Research
Create and define your own new word. Think of an object, a situation, or behavior that you think needs a single new word all its own.
When Nick decides to call a pen a frindle, he creates a new synonym for a word that has few. But many words, such as friend or attractive, already have several common synonyms. On your own or with a group, make a list of words with many synonyms. What's the largest number of synonyms you can come up with for one single word?
New inventions and ideas or changing cultural influences continually add new words to our language. With the help of your parents or another adult, assemble a list of new words or new meanings for old words that have entered common usage within the last generation. Ask them as well about common words from their own childhood that are now seldom used.
Nick makes his mark on the world even though he's just a fifth grader. Research and report to your class on other individuals who made significant contributions to literature, science, music, or other fields while still very young. If possible, bring in examples of their work.
Interview a parent or a close adult friend about the teacher who meant the most to them when they were young. Did they always admire that teacher or did they grow to respect him or her more over time? What did they learn from that teacher? How did they learn it? Have they kept up with the teacher since leaving school?
Mrs. Granger is a firm believer in improving vocabulary by studying word lists, but there are also playful ways to boost your word power. Look for board games based on words, crossword puzzles, or any books that feature word games. And, of course, reading more good books is another sure way to increase your vocabulary.
News about Nick's new word spreads fast. First within his class, then in his hometown newspaper, later on television news shows and entertainment talk shows. Track a current news story through the media. Where did you first learn about the story? Keep a record of all the media outlets -- newspapers, magazines, the Internet, radio and television newscasts, or entertainment shows -- that also feature the same story.

About The Author

Photo Credit:

Andrew Clements (1949–2019) was the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he was nominated for a multitude of state awards, including a Christopher Award and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About AverageTroublemakerExtra Credit, Lost and FoundNo TalkingRoom OneLunch Money, and more. He was also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. Find out more at

About The Illustrator

Brian Selznick is the author and illustrator of the bestselling The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was awarded the Caldecott Medal and was a National Book Award finalist. He is also the illustrator of many books for children, including Frindle and Lunch Money by Andrew Clements, as well as the Doll People trilogy by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which was a Caldecott Honor Book. Mr. Selznick divides his time between Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.

Why We Love It

Frindle is a phenomenon with over 8 million copies sold, and just one of dozens of beloved books that Andrew Clements published with Atheneum. With this 25th anniversary edition with a special cover treatment and bonus material from Clements’s files, we celebrate his legacy, and we hope the book will inspire a new generation of Frindle fans to start making up their own words.”

—Sophia J., Associate Editor, on Frindle

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (November 23, 2021)
  • Length: 128 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665906227
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Lexile ® 830L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

**Winner of the 2016 Phoenix Award**

"Will have readers smiling all the way through...hilarious."

– The Horn Book, starred review

"If there's any justice in the world, Clements may have something of a classic on his hands. . . . A captivating tale--one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves."

– Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Awards and Honors

  • Pacific Northwest Young Reader's Choice Award
  • California Young Reader Medal Nominee
  • Horn Book Fanfare
  • Garden State Children's Book Award Nominee (NJ)
  • Virginia Young Readers List
  • Kentucky Bluegrass Award Master List
  • William Allen White Children's Book Award (KS)
  • NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Georgia Children's Book Award
  • Young Hoosier Book Award (IN)
  • Christopher Award
  • Massachusetts Children's Book Award
  • Maud Hart Lovelace Award (MN)
  • Oregon Battle of the Books List
  • Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
  • Maine Student Book Award Reading List
  • Nutmeg Book Award Nominee (CT)
  • Arizona Young Reader Book Award Nominee
  • NAPPA Gold Award Winner
  • Capital Choices Noteworthy Books for Children's and Teens (DC)
  • Great Stone Face Book Award (NH)
  • Parents' Choice Silver Honor Winner
  • Children's Sequoyah Book Award Master List (OK)
  • Prairie Pasque Award Nominee (SD)
  • Land of Enchantment RoadRunner Award Nominee (NM)
  • Golden Sower Award Nominee (NE)
  • Sunshine State Young Readers' Award List (FL)
  • Texas Bluebonnet Master List
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Master List (VT)
  • Prairie Pasque Award Nominee (SD)
  • Phoenix Award Winner
  • Crown Award Nominee (TX)
  • Nevada Young Readers' Award
  • Judy Lopez Memorial Award Honor Book
  • Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award
  • Black Eyed Susan Book Award (MD)
  • Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award (AR)
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award (IL)
  • Family Fun Magazine - Best Kids Books
  • North Carolina Children's Book Award
  • Rhode Island Children's Book Award
  • Sasquatch Book Award (WA)
  • Utah Children's Choice Award
  • Utah Children's Book Award

Resources and Downloads

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More books from this author: Andrew Clements

More books from this illustrator: Brian Selznick