Clements, Andrew 1949- (Andrew Elborn)
Clements, Andrew 1949- (Andrew Elborn)
Born May 29, 1949, in Camden, NJ; son of William Denney, Jr. (an insurance executive) and Doris Clements; married Rebecca Pierpont (an actress and homemaker), December 16, 1972; children: John, Nathaniel, George, Charles. Education: Northwestern University, B.A., 1971; National Louis University, M.A., 1972.
Home—Westborough, MA. Agent—Writers House, 21 West 26th St., New York, NY 10010.
Writer, editor, and educator. Sunset Ridge School, Northfield, IL, fourth-grade teacher, 1972-74; Wilmette Junior High School, Wilmette, IL, eighth-grade teacher, 1974-77; New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL, English teacher, 1977-79; Allen D. Bragdon Publishers, New York, NY, editor, 1980-82; Alphabet Press, Natick, MA, sales and marketing manager and editor, 1982-85; Keller Graduate School of Management, Chicago, IL, director, 1985-87; Picture Book Studio, Ltd., Saxonville, MA, vice president and editorial director, 1987-93; Houghton Mifflin, School Division, Boston, MA, editor, 1994-95; Christian Science Publishing Society, Boston, MA, editor, 1997-98. Member of executive board, Children's Book Council, 1983-85; frequent speaker in schools and at writing and education conferences.
New York Public Library One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing listee, 1996, Horn Book Fanfare Book designation, Parents' Choice Honor Book designation, Christopher Award, and Judy Lopez Memorial Honor Book Award, all 1997, Great Stone Face Book Award, 1997-98, Chicago Public Library Best of the Best listee, Family Fun Best Kid's Book designation, and Rhode Island Children's Book Award, all 1998, William Allen White Children's Book Award, 1999, and nominations for Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award and others, all for Frindle; Maud Hart Lovelace Award, Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award, Nevada Young Readers' Award, North Carolina Children's Choice Award, Young Hoosier Book Award, Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award, all 1998-99; Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award, 1999-2000; Utah Children's Choice Award, 2000.
"JAKE DRAKE" SERIES
Jake Drake, Bully Buster (also see below), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Jake Drake, Know-It-All (also see below), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Jake Drake, Class Clown, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
Jake Drake, Bully Buster/Jake Drake, Know-It-All, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.
Slippers at Home, illustrated by Janie Bynum, Dutton's Children's Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Naptime for Slippers, illustrated by Janie Bynum, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Slippers at School, illustrated by Janie Bynum, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Slippers Loves to Run, illustrated by Janie Bynum, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2006.
READING PROGRAM BOOKS FOR SCHOOLS
Karen's Island, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995.
Three Wishes for Buster, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995.
Bill Picket: An American Original, Texas Style, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1996.
Hurricane Andrew, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1998.
Ham and Eggs for Jack, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1998.
Life in the Desert, Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1998.
Desert Treasure, illustrated by Wayne Anthony Still, Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1998.
Inventors: Making Things Better, Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1998.
Milo's Great Invention, illustrated by Johnansen Newman, Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1998.
OTHER BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Bird Adalbert, Picture Book Studio (Saxonville, MA), 1985.
Big Al (miniature book), illustrated by Yoshi, Picture Book Studio (Saxonville, MA), 1987.
Santa's Secret Helper, illustrated by Deborah Santini, Picture Book Studio (Saxonville, MA), 1990.
(As Andrew Elborn) Noah and the Ark and the Animals, illustrated by Ivan Gantschev, Picture Book Studio (Saxonville, MA), 1991.
Temple Cat, illustrated by Alan Marks, Picture Book Studio (Saxonville, MA), 1991, illustrated by Kate Kiesler, Clarion (New York, NY), 1996.
Mother Earth's Counting Book, illustrated by Lonni Sue Johnson, Picture Book Studio (Saxonville, MA), 1992.
Billy and the Bad Teacher, illustrated by Elivia Savadier, Picture Book Studio (Saxonville, MA), 1992.
Who Owns the Cow?, illustrated by Joan Landis, Clarion (New York, NY), 1995.
Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers, illustrated by Kate Kiesler, Clarion (New York, NY), 1996.
Frindle (middle-grade novel), illustrated by Brian Selznick, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.
(Adaptor) Philipp's Birthday Book, illustrated by Hanne Turk, North-South Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Riff's BeBop Book, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.
Real Monsters Go for the Mold!, illustrated by Matthew Stoddart, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.
Things That Go Eek on Halloween, illustrated by George Ulrich, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.
Real Monsters Stage Fright, illustrated by Matthew Stoddart, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.
Music Time, Any Time!, illustrated by Tom Leigh, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.
Double Trouble in Walla Walla, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca, Millbrook Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Workshop, illustrated by David Wisniewski, Clarion (New York, NY), 1998.
Gromble's Haunted Halloween, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.
Where the Moon Lives, North-South Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Hey Dad, Could I Borrow Your Hammer?, illustrated by Jackie Snider, Millbrook Press (New York, NY), 1999.
The Landry News (middle-grade novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.
The Janitor's Boy, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
Circus Family Dog, illustrated by Sue Truesdell, Clarion (New York, NY), 2000.
Ringo Saves the Day!, illustrated by Donald Cook, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
The Publishing Club, illustrated by Brian Selznick, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
The School Story (middle-grade novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Brave Norman: A True Story, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
The Jacket, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Things Not Seen, Philomel Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Dolores and the Big Fire: A True Story, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
Big Al and Shrimpy, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
A Week in the Woods, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
Tara and Tiree: Fearless Friends, a True Story, illustrated by Ellen Beier, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
The Report Card, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
Because Your Daddy Loves You, illustrated by R.W. Alley, Clarion (New York, NY), 2004.
Lunch Money, illustrated by Brian Selznick, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.
Dogku, illustrated by Tim Bowers, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.
A Million Dots, illustrated by Mike Reed, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.
Room One: A Mystery or Two, illustrated by Chris Blair, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.
Things Hoped For, Philomel Books (New York, NY), 2006.
No Talking, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.
Also translator and/or adaptor of more than a dozen picture books for Picture Book Studio and North-South Books, including Where Is Mr. Mole?, The Christmas Teddy Bear, Brave As a Tiger, The Beast and the Boy, Little Pig, Bigger Trouble, A Dog's Best Friend, and Where the Moon Lives.
Things Not Seen was adapted as an audiobook, Listening Library, 2002.
Andrew Clements has all the bases covered in the field of children's books. An avid reader as a child, he later taught the joys of reading to students in elementary and high school, then went on to the world of publishing, acquiring, editing, marketing, and developing quality children's books for several publishing houses. In 1985 he decided to contribute his own work to that market, beginning with his first picture book, Bird Adalbert. The author of the award-winning Frindle, a book about the power of words that a Kirkus Reviews contributor called "something of a classic," Clements has also attracted a wide readership for his picture books, including the popular Big Al, Santa's Secret Helper, Temple Cat, Bright Christmas, and his "Real Monsters" books.
"I've got a special place in my heart for libraries and librarians," Clements once commented. "As a kinder-gartner in Oaklyn, New Jersey, I confess that I was something of a showoff. I was already a good reader, and I didn't mind who knew about it." With parents who were compulsive readers themselves and who passed on the love of books to their children, it was no surprise at home that Clements should be such an early reader. At school, however, it was a different story. On his first trip to the school library, Clements chose a thick book on myths. The next day he asked his teacher if he could take it back to the library. "‘Is it too hard, dear?’ she asked sympathetically," Clements recalled. The teacher's eyebrows shot up when Clements informed her that it was not the difficulty of the book that was the problem. He had already finished it and wanted more. "That event created for me an open invitation to head to the library just about any old time I wanted to. And the librarian was a gem. She kept me well stocked."
Clements made his way through the classics, from A.A. Milne to Robert Louis Stevenson, and from Robin Hood to King Arthur. Later loves included Sherlock Holmes and the Hardy Boys, Robinson Crusoe, The Swiss Family Robinson, works by Alexandre Dumas and Jack London, as well as adventure stories and biographies. "I loved owning books. And I will always love that librarian at my elementary school, because she made me feel like I was the owner of every book. That's one of the greatest things about reading a book—read it, and you own it forever."
Clements attended Northwestern University and then earned a master's degree in education at National Louis University. For the next seven years he taught school, both at the grade-school level and high school. "I liked it," Clements related. "The kids and I laughed a lot. I enjoyed the hundreds of little conversations every day, the running jokes—I even liked the noise and the craziness of a Friday afternoon right before Christmas vacation. And I loved reading good books with kids—the kids at school and also the four boys my wife and I had at home. As a teacher, it was a thrill to read a book aloud, and see a whole class listen so carefully to every word, dying to know what would happen next. And I was amazed at the wonderful discussions a good book can spark. Good books make good things happen in real life. They can make a big difference. So when I was given the chance to start writing for children, I jumped at it."
That chance began, initially, as an editor of children's books at various publishers, including Alphabet Press and Picture Book Studio, where he not only acquired titles but also helped translate and adapt European picture books for the U.S. market. "I didn't start writing books until I was about thirty-five years old," Clements commented. "But I began writing a long time before that. And the way I really got started writing was by reading. Before too long I found myself reading something good and saying to myself, ‘I wish I had written that!’ I think the more good books you read, the better you learn what good writing sounds like and feels like. Every good writer I know started off as a good reader."
One of Clements's most popular titles is his second picture book, Big Al, a "simple story about the need for friendship," as Gratia Banta described the book in School Library Journal. Big Al of the title is a rather ugly and scary-looking fish who desperately tries to be liked by the smaller fish. When Big Al saves the lives of the little fish, he accomplishes his mission, becoming their fast friend. Noting the illustrator Yoshi's use of silk batik and painting, Banta wrote that the "magnificence" of the illustrations matched "Clements's international story of friendship…. The book offers a welcome sense of something other than western culture."
Other picture books followed. Illustrated by Debrah Santini, Santa's Secret Helper features Mrs. Santa as a stand-in for her exhausted husband, dressed just like Santa and filling stockings with great care. Back at the North Pole, she gets a big hug from her husband. Another holiday title is Clements's Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers, the story of the Nativity told from the point of view of an angel. A contributor to Publishers Weekly remarked that in "the voice of a seasoned spinner of yarns, Clements imagines a heavenly perspective on the birth of Jesus." Writing in Booklist, Shelley Townsend-Hudson described the book as a "lovely blend of words and pictures" that "attempt to explain the idea of eternity." School Library Journal reviewer Jane Marino noted that the book is told "in spare, tempered, and reverent prose," and concluded that Bright Christmas "is a fine combination of text and illustration that tells a familiar story."
Clements has explored themes ranging from strengthening counting skills to accepting differences to the concept of ownership in his ambitious picture books. A simple task such as learning how to count is transformed by Clements into an exploration "of the diverse wonders of our planet," as Steven Engelfried described Mother Earth's Counting Book in a School Library Journal review. The seven continents and four oceans of this planet all figure into Clements's counting scheme. The picture book A Million Dots is a visual presentation of the concept of one million, peppered with fun number-based facts to keep children's interest. "Enormous numbers are often difficult for children to conceptualize," noted School Library Journal reviewer Grace Oliff, "but Clements makes the process enjoyable." A critic for Kirkus Reviews appreciated the book's "clarity of design and variety of facts presented."
Billy and the Bad Teacher tells a story of acceptance that "will have students and teachers rolling out of their chairs," according to Jeanne Marie Clancy in School Library Journal. Neat and compulsive Billy is initially horrified when he gets the unorthodox Mr. Adams for his new teacher, but slowly comes to love this teacher who makes long division fun and reads The Swiss Family Robinson to the class each day. "The story makes a nice point about accepting the foibles of others without hitting readers over the head with it," concluded Clancy.
The concept of ownership comes under scrutiny in Who Owns the Cow?, a story about a cow, a farmer, and the many people who come into contact with both. A little girl thinks of the cow when she hears its bell; a milkman earns a living by delivering its milk; an artist paints it. So who really owns it? While several reviewers felt this question of ownership might be too philosophical for most young readers, Deborah Stevenson of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books maintained that Who Owns the Cow? is an "offbeat book with an appealing style" that "will puzzle some and become the favorite of others." Relationships also figure in Temple Cat, the story of an ancient Egyptian feline who is the lord of a temple but is tired of being pampered. The cat longs simply to be loved, and finds such love in the arms of two children after it has run away. Susan Middleton, writing in School Library Journal, asserted that "this endearing tale is sure to find favor wherever cat stories are in demand," while a Kirkus Reviews critic remarked that "Clements pens a tale for consummate cat enthusiasts or lovers of antiquity."
The "Slippers" series of picture books introduces a lovable puppy and his family of owners: Mommy, Daddy, Laura, and Edward. The stories are told from the perspective of the eager dog, and "youngsters will quickly be won over by the gusto with which Slippers embraces his daily tasks—and his descriptions of them," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "The simple text is well suited to emergent readers," noted Linda Ludke in a School Library Journal review of Slippers at School, in which the puppy hitches a ride to school in Laura's backpack, managing to evade detection in a series of misunderstandings. In Slippers Loves to Run, the puppy takes his first adventure outside the family's yard, only to find that there is no place like home. Ludke remarked: "The repetitive, patterned text cleverly provides a dog's-eye view of the world."
A further adventure in the picture-book format is Double Trouble in Walla Walla. Young Lulu is sent to the principal's office when she cannot stop speaking in a sort of hyphenated slang, in a book that Barbara McGinn in School Library Journal dubbed "side-splitting fun." "In this breathlessly verbose tale, a rash of compound nonsense words infects an elementary school," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who concluded that "children with a fondness for wordplay may delight in this dizzying romp."
More wordplay is served up in Clements's first novel for middle graders, Frindle. The book was inspired by comments Clements once made when talking to students at a Rhode Island school, "teaching them a little about the way words work," as the author later recalled. "I was trying to explain to them how words only mean what we decide they mean. They didn't believe me when I pointed to a fat dictionary and told them that ordinary people like them and like me had made up all the words in that book—and that new words get made up all the time." To illustrate his point, Clements pulled a pen from his pocket and told the students that they could change the name of this instrument from pen to anything they made up. Clements chose a made-up word, "frindle," and challenged students to start calling it by that name instead of "pen" to see if such a name would stick. "The kids loved that story, and for a couple of years I told that same story every time I went to talk at a school or a library. Then one day in 1990 as I was sifting through my life, looking for a story idea, I wondered what would happen if a kid started using a new word, and other kids really liked it, but his English teacher didn't. So the idea for the book was born."
In the novel, Nick, who always stays one step ahead of his teachers, can usually manage to sidetrack the teacher from assigning homework. However, when he meets Mrs. Granger, his new fifth-grade language-arts teacher, this simple ruse breaks down. To irritate her, he invents the word "frindle" for pen and convinces other kids in the school to use the neologism. Soon the word spreads to the city, the state, the nation, and ten years later "frindle" has even made it into the dictionary. And only then does Nick realize that Mrs. Granger has secretly been rooting for him and his new word all the time. "The chesslike sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling," commented a Kirkus Reviews critic, who concluded that "this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves." A Publishers Weekly commentator remarked that "dictionary lovers will cotton to this mild classroom fantasy, while readers who have a hard time believing that one person could invent a word out of thin air will be surprised to learn that the word ‘quiz’ was invented the same way." Booklist's Kay Weisman concluded her review of Frindle by noting that the book is sure to be "popular with a wide range of readers [and] will make a great read-aloud as well." Elizabeth S. Watson of Horn Book remarked that Clements "has created a fresh imaginative plot that will have readers smiling all the way through, if not laughing out loud." Award committees agreed with the critics: Frindle garnered more than thirty award nominations and won the 1997 Christopher Award.
In The Landry News Clements tells of Cara Landry, a bright student who wants to become a journalist someday. When she begins to publish her own newspaper, the Landry News, she runs into trouble with the school principal over her claims that a particular teacher does no teaching at all. Issues of censorship, teacher incompetence, and administrative cover-up come to the fore in this novel. A critic for Publishers Weekly claimed that "the affecting conclusion brings triumph for both teacher and students, and will elicit cheers from readers," while a Horn Book reviewer dubbed The Landry News a "terrific school story."
Jack Rankin undergoes persistent teasing from his classmates in The Janitor's Boy because his father works as the school janitor. When Jack rebels against his father, the punishment—that he must assist his father in his duties—drags him into his father's world and an understanding develops between the two. William McLoughlin in the School Library Journal found that many readers will "identify with the beleaguered Jack and his struggle to make peace with his father and with himself." According to Kay Weisman in Booklist, "Clements's strength is his realistic depiction of public schools, both from the child and the adult point of view."
In A Week in the Woods young Mark's family has just moved to New Hampshire where the boy, knowing his inattentive parents plan to soon ship him to a distant private academy, refuses to fit in at his temporary school. When he is wrongly accused by his teacher, Mr. Maxwell, of bringing a knife to a school nature outing, Mark hides in the forest, gets lost, and must survive in the rugged terrain on his own. "The story explores both Mark's and Mr. Maxwell's point of view," Jean Gaffney noted in School Library Journal, "and the final resolution of their conflict is effective." "Clements's compassionate character studies are realistic and hopeful," added Francisca Goldsmith in Booklist.
The Report Card features Nora Rowley, a gifted fifth-grader whose less-than-stellar report cards are really diversion tactics, purposely designed to avoid attention while she takes college-level astronomy classes online and teaches herself to speak Spanish. When her best friend Stephen takes the results of a standardized test a little too personally, Nora decides to teach her teachers a lesson about the arbitrariness of testing by earning straight Ds. The result is the start of a rebellion with far-reaching implications. New York Times Book Review contributor Sandy MacDonald commented that Clements is a "proven master at depicting the quirky details of grade school life and the not-so-petty skirmishes that color school politics." The novel, remarked Lee Bock in a review for School Library Journal, "will easily capture the attention of even the most reluctant readers." "Solid characters, convincing dialogue and a topic certain to spark dialogue earn Clements high marks," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Clements explores the concept of financial responsibility and the importance of teamwork in Lunch Money. Money-wise Greg sees an opportunity to generate cash flow while at school, in the form of self-produced comic books. The venture lands him in trouble as the books are banned by the school principal; Greg then turns his efforts toward rallying his fellow students in a fight against censorship. School Library Journal reviewer Carol L. MacKay commented on the novel's "fast-paced and humorous story line," and a Publishers Weekly found that it "delivers a meaningful message about friendship, perseverance, and proper priorities." Lunch Money "hits the jackpot," concluded a Kirkus Reviews writer, who maintained that Clements "weaves intriguing information about comic book illustration into this entertaining, smoothly written story."
The novel Room One: A Mystery or Two touches on topical issues while addressing the concepts of responsibility and generosity. Ted is the only sixth-grader at a ten-student school that is in jeopardy of being closed. A self-professed mystery nut, he takes on the detective work of figuring out a way to keep his family farm open. The task keeps him occupied until he notices the face of a young girl in the window of an abandoned farmhouse. After sniffing out the true story behind the girl's identity (her mother is the widow of an Iraq War soldier), Ted struggles to keep her presence a secret even as he tries to help her. "Once again Clements captures real people and real issues, as he shapes another fine work of fiction," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer. School Library Journal contributor Elaine E. Knight declared: "Clements's usual excellent sense of character is evident. Both adults and young people are multidimensional, with true-to-life emotions and concerns." In an article for Kirkus Reviews, a critic wrote that Clements "offers readers an intelligent protagonist, trustworthy adults, an interesting school situation and a real-life problem."
In addition to stand-alone novels, Clements has written several novels featuring fourth-grader Jake Drake. In Jake Drake, Bully Buster Jake recounts how he comes to terms with Link Baxter, a boy who has bullied him for years. When the two boys are assigned to work on a Thanksgiving project, Jake finds that Link is good at making models. He also discovers that Link is scared to speak before the class. Jake agrees to do the talking for the pair when they present their project, thereby earning Link's respect and gratitude. "While the tone of the book is light and humorous," Elaine E. Knight noted in School Library Journal, "it is a realistic look at a common problem." In Jake Drake, Know-It-All Jake enters a science-fair contest to win a computer, but he refuses to work with his friend Willie because he wants the prize all to himself. When Jake realizes he is becoming someone he does not like, he changes his mind, works with Willie, and the pair win second prize. Pat Leach, writing in School Library Journal, felt that in recounting his story, Jake "sounds like a regular fourth grader as he describes his teachers and classmates. But he also digs deep to reveal the character-building lessons in everyday events." Linda Perkins in Booklist found that "Clements portrays a common, annoying classroom situation, resolves it in an upbeat way, and inserts a little practical advice."
In Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet Jake finds that for several days, he is everybody's favorite, a situation he does not enjoy because the other kids resent him. Leach noted: "Jake embodies the average boy who seldom draws attention to himself, but who is quietly observing and tries to do the right thing." Jake Drake, Class Clown finds the boy being a little too funny for his own good when a substitute teacher comes to his classroom. Kay Bowes in a review for School Library Journal called Jake "an endearing boy who uses his head to sort out appropriate conclusions to bad situations."
Clements continues his commitment to the world of children's books with classroom appearances and the writing and/or illustrating of early readers, picture books, and more novels for middle graders. "There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the decline of reading," he once commented, "the overpowering influence of the television and multi-media screens, even a national descent into illiteracy. Everyone is so upset when these ideas are voiced, and everyone feels sure that reading and books are important—but why? Apart from the basic skill of functional or task-related reading, why is there a universal conviction that books and literature are indispensable? I think it's because when we read, we're in charge. That's probably the most significant difference between pagetime and screentime. When we read, we decide when, where, how long, and about what. One of the few places on earth that it is still possible to experience an instant sense of freedom and privacy is anywhere we open up a good book and begin to read."
Clements once told CA: "Most of my characters are fairly normal people who are dealing with the basics of everyday life—getting along with others, finding a place in the world, discovering talents, overcoming challenges, trying to have some wholesome fun along the way, and getting into some scrapes and a little mischief now and then too. I guess I hope my readers will be able to see bits and pieces of themselves in the stories, particularly the novels that take place in and around school. School is a rich setting because schools and education are at the very heart of every community. The stories that are set in school seem to resonate with kids, teachers, parents, librarians—readers of all ages. Everyone's life has been touched by school experiences. And I also hope, of course, that kids and others will enjoy reading, enjoy the uses of language, and enjoy the storytelling.
"I'm often asked: ‘Among your works, of which are you most proud?’ I know people mean of which book am I most proud, but I choose to hear the question literally. Of all my works, the one I'm proudest of is the fact that I've been able to keep living a fairly normal life and still manage to carve out some creative accomplishments. When I visited a school recently a boy asked, ‘Mr. Clements, is writing your whole life?’ And the answer is quite simply, no. Sometimes writing and the surrounding responsibilities of that career would try to become a person's whole life. Writing is hard, solitary work—work that is not helped along by continual interruptions. But the fact is, I am many other things before I am a writer. I am a son; I am a brother; I am a church member; I am a neighbor and a citizen. And then somewhere along the way and in the midst of that life, I am also a writer. I would not be the writer I am without these ‘interruptions’ that collectively comprise the work of which I am most proud.
"Regarding the books I've written, I couldn't pick out one as a favorite. But taken together, I'm glad that my school stories might give kids and parents some insights into how much unselfish care and thought and love teachers pour into their work every day. It's an extraordinarily difficult job to do well, and teachers rarely get either the recognition or the compensation they deserve.
"Looking to the future, I'd like to keep finding ideas that are worth exploring, and I think every good idea is worth exploring, and I think there is no shortage of good ideas. So that sounds like a recipe for full employment."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 1996, Kay Weisman, review of Frindle, p. 125; September 30, 1996, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers, p. 136; March 1, 2000, Kay Weisman, review of The Janitor's Boy, p. 1243; December 1, 2000, Elaine Hanson, review of The Janitor's Boy, p. 740; November 1, 2001, Linda Perkins, review of Jake Drake, Know-It-All, p. 474; January 1, 2002, Catherine Andronik, review of Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet, p. 856; October 1, 2002, Francisca Goldsmith, review of A Week in the Woods, p. 324.
Bookseller, January 18, 2002, Wendy Cooling, review of Frindle, p. 48.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 1995, Deborah Stevenson, review of Who Owns the Cow?, p. 49.
Horn Book, November-December, 1996, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Frindle, p. 732; July, 1999, review of The Landry News, p. 462; July, 2000, review of The Janitor's Boy, p. 454.
Instructor, January-February, 2003, Judy Freeman, review of A Week in the Woods, p. 79.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 1995, review of Temple Cat, p. 1768; July 1, 1996, review of Frindle, p. 965; November 1, 2001, review of Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet, p. 1546; August 1, 2002, review of A Week in the Woods, p. 1124; June 15, 2005, review of Lunch Money, p. 679; June 1, 2006, reviews of A Million Dots and Room One: A Mystery or Two, p. 570.
New York Times Book Review, April 18, 2004, Sandy MacDonald, review of The Report Card, p. 26.
Publishers Weekly, July 15, 1996, review of Frindle, p. 74; September 30, 1996, review of Bright Christmas, p. 90; October 13, 1997, review of Double Trouble in Walla Walla, p. 74; June 7, 1999, review of The Landry News, p. 83; May 1, 2000, review of The Janitor's Boy, p. 71; August 21, 2000, review of The Landry News, p. 75; October 29, 2001, review of Jake Drake, Teacher'sPet, p. 66; April 1, 2002, Sally Lodge, interview with Andrew Clements, p. 25; August 12, 2002, review of A Week in the Woods, p. 301; March 8, 2004, review of The Report Card, p. 75; April 11, 2005, review of Slippers at Home, p. 53; June 20, 2005, review of Lunch Money, p. 77; June 12, 2006, review of Room One, p. 53.
School Library Journal, June, 1989, Gratia Banta, review of Big Al, p. 86; June, 1993, Steve Engelfried, review of Mother Earth's Counting Book, p. 72; January, 1994, Jeanne Marie Clancy, review of Billy and the Bad Teacher, p. 87; March, 1996, Susan Middleton, review of Temple Cat, p. 167; October, 1996, Jane Marino, review of Bright Christmas, p. 34; January, 1998, Barbara McGinn, review of Double Trouble in Walla Walla, p. 81; May, 2000, William McLoughlin, review of The Janitor's Boy, p. 170; May, 2001, Elaine E. Knight, review of Jake Drake, Bully Buster, p. 114; November, 2001, Pat Leach, review of Jake Drake, Know-It-All, p. 113; April, 2002, review of Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet, p. 102; July, 2002, Kay Bowes, review of Jake Drake, Class Clown, p. 86; November, 2002, Jean Gaffney, review of A Week in the Woods, p. 160; March, 2004, Lee Bock, review of The Report Card, p. 20; August, 2005, Carol L. MacKay, review of Lunch Money, p. 122; September, 2005, Linda Ludke, review of Slippers at School, p. 167; June, 2006, Linda Ludke, review of Slippers Loves to Run, p. 108; July, 2006, Grace Oliff, review of A Million Dots, p. 70; July, 2006, Elaine E. Knight, review of Room One, p. 98.
Andrew Clements Home Page,http://www.andrewclements.com (July 3, 2007).
Official Frindle Web site,http://www.frindle.com (July 3, 2007).