Andrew Clements

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Minimum grade level: 


Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Before reading this book, had you ever thought about how words are created? What did you find interesting about the process of creating a word?
  2. Is it believable that "frindle" took off and became so well known? Why or why not?
  3. Many illustrations accompany this novel. 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 full-page portrait of Mrs. Granger that she can't be pushed around?
  4. "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?
  5. "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?
  6. 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?
  7. although Nick didn't know it until he turned 21, 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?
  8. Do you think it's true that if you're good you'll make lots of money or that if you make lots of money, you can consider yourself good?
  9. 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?
  10. Frindle has been nominated and has won several children's choice awards. Why do you think this book is so popular?


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. Divide up into teams and come up with ten words you think you won't find in a standard dictionary. Check the dictionary and give yourself a point for each word you don't find. The team with the most points wins.

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 or ugly, 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?

Portions of this guide are credited to Simon and Schuster's Online Teaching Guide.

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.