Title: The School Story
Author: Andrew Clements
Major Themes: Children’s Books, Writing, Book Publishing
Synopsis: Natalie has written a story—but even with her best friend backing her, will she be able to get it published?
Andrew Clements was one of my favorite mid-elementary authors. I remember going to our library full of wonderful new books and checking out the ones I could find that were written by him, enjoying each exciting new plot. My favorite one was always The School Story. That probably came about because I’ve always been interested in books, and learning about how they’re published was an adventure worth reading.
Natalie’s dad died when she was young, and she misses him reading her stories in the evenings. Natalie’s mom works at a big publishing house as an editor, and when Natalie learns that one of the things the publishing house needs is stories about children in school, she decides to write one. Her best friend, Zoe, loves the story—and says it should be published. Natalie has seen the slush pile at her mom’s office, and doesn’t want her story to end up anywhere near there—forgotten. Zoe is sure together they can pull it off. But can two sixth-graders get the book to an editor who will read it? And if they can, will the book ever be good enough in the end to sell?
The School Story traces the exciting maze a book goes through to land on the shelf. Until I read this, I didn’t really have a good idea of what it takes for a book to go from the writer’s hands to being edited by a professional, and then being published. This is a great story, perfect for introducing the way the publishing industry works to young children.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12, 10 – 12