5 Middle Grade Books for Fans of Frindle
by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Andrew Clements’s award-winning Frindle is a modern classic, and with good reason. Clements has said that the idea for the book came about when he wondered, “What would happen if a kid started using a new word, and other kids really liked it, but his teacher didn’t?” Featuring legendary prankster Nicholas Allen, who seems to have met his match in his fifth grade language arts teacher, Mrs. Granger, Frindle is a celebration of the power of words, creativity, and the thrill of challenging rules.
Young readers around the world have adored Frindle since it was first published in 1996, and if your readers are hooked by this sweet and funny school story, chances are they’ll love these too:
The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman
Scrabble was a favorite pastime of mine, and this one is a Scrabble nerd’s delight. I love so much about this sweet and wryly funny novel about a group of kids thrown together to compete, but winning more just a game in the end. It’s a tale of friendship and family, of looking for oneself and being happy with what you find. Wolitzer’s deep knowledge and respect for the inner lives of young people makes this one shine.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
This first book featuring “Fudge” is still my favorite. First published in 1972, Blume’s classic still holds up beautifully. As an older sibling, I related deeply to Peter’s frustrations with his scene-stealing little brother, and readers of all ages will laugh out loud at some of Fudge's familiar-feeling antics (like trying to fly … and breaking a couple of teeth in the process) and sigh with recognition at others (like the temper tantrums, food-throwing — mashed potatoes, no less! — and attention-hogging that only a toddler can do with such expertise).
Property of the Rebel Librarian
This spirited coming-of-age tale is irresistible — a classic school story about a passionate reader, a secret locker library, and banned books. Twelve-year-old June takes on her own parents and blossoms as a passionate young activist who’ll go far to protect the freedom to read. Property of the Rebel Librarian will delight book lovers everywhere and spark conversations with young readers about censorship, community activism, and what it means to question authority.
And of course, Frindle lovers will adore just about any of Andrew Clements’s books, including more recent ones like:
The Friendship War
When Grace, usually the sidekick, accidentally starts a button-collecting fad at school, she enjoys the attention it brings and the feeling she gets from being a winner for once. But when that attention threatens to destroy her friendship with the ever-popular Ellie, Grace wonders if it’s all worth it. A masterful tale of navigating the little intricacies of school life, The Friendship War is poignant, funny, and will ultimately remind readers of the enduring things, like authentic friendships, that matter.Preorder from:
The Losers Club
Bookworms will root for sixth grader Alec, who just can’t stop reading — and that’s a problem when he’s supposed to be paying attention in class. Alec is not exactly popular at school, and books offer Alec a version of life that he can handle and he doesn’t want to give that up. So when he starts a club for reading, and plans to be the sole member, he thinks he’s got it all worked out. But then other people find and actually join Alec’s “Losers Club,” which makes Alec wonder if his real life story has to be so bad — and lonely — after all.