(#38 on School Library Journal‘s Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results from 2012. This was first written for my History of Youth Literature class.)
My book for the letter “F” is Frindle by Andrew Clements (1996), which is about a boy named Nicholas (Nick) Allen who comes up with a new word and gets everyone at school to start using it. Eventually, it gets into the press and becomes a worldwide sensation, earning itself a spot in the dictionary.
I loved this book, even though I related more to the villain (the strict teacher that makes them use *gasp* the dictionary) than the kids. The way that the word spread worldwide and made Nick an extremely wealthy college student seemed a little unrealistic, but the idea that words have the meaning we give them is something that I wish all my students would be as excited about as Nick was. It reminded me of when I taught “Jabberwocky” to my students and showed them how the word “chortle” was listed in the dictionary as being coined by Lewis Carroll. Many of them already knew what the word meant, and they thought it was so cool that the first time it appeared in print was in the poem they were reading.
I wish I’d known about Frindle before, but I definitely want to teach it with “Jabberwocky” in a lesson sometime soon.
Also, I kept wondering why the illustrator’s name sounded so familiar, and then I realized that it was because Brian Selznick is the author of another Top 100 book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (which I’d checked out at the same time).
This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter F.