Author Spotlight: Andrew Clements, Master of the American School Story
Children’s Author: Andrew Clements, May 29, 1949 – November 28, 2019
With nine books with a Christmas theme, December is a great time to read an Andrew Clements book. Start with The Last Holiday Concert, a novel of Winterhope, the last sixth grade choral concert due to fiscal cut backs for arts and music teachers. Clements also has Christmas picture books for younger readers as well as board books for toddlers. With over 80 published works, Andrew Clements has a book that is sure to delight any level of reader.
Andrew Clements is a master of the American School Story genre. Students and teachers recognize that Clements career as a writer has centered on his ability to authentically relate the everyday concerns, issues, and challenges of growing-up and going to school in America. In addition to his young adult, middle, and elementary novels, he has early readers and chapter book series for newly independent readers set in primarily school settings. The classic Clements “school story” novel is of a boy’s exploration of language that leads to him creating a new word – Frindle. Frindle, the book that lead to Clements becoming a full time writer, has received 48 awards and honor nominations.
In addition, to writing about student school life, Andrew Clements also encourages children to be readers and writers. Many of his works have additional resources for teachers and students that promote curriculum exploration. In his presentations and videos he mentions the importance of his parents in developing his love of reading and ability to think like a writer, which he sees as the foundation for an author. Moreover, he relates the encouragement his own 12th grade teacher gave him for his own creative writing. His book, The School Story, is about the friendship of two 12 year old girls as they work towards getting a “school story” professionally published.
Andrew Clements is a voice that will be missed in children’s literature. One of the hallmarks of his works is the theme of hope in the face of challenges. And a little hope is something that every school story can use.
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