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Frindle is an American children's novel written by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Brian Selznick, and published by Aladdin in 1996. Announced June 2015, it is the winner of the 2016 Phoenix Award – that is, named by the Children's Literature Association the best English-language children's book that did not win a major award when it was published twenty years earlier.
Frindle was Clements's first novel. All his previous works had been picture books. Clements described the idea as having come to him in the form of the thought, "What would happen if a kid started using a new word, and other kids really liked it, but his teacher didn't?"
At the start of fifth grade in 1987, Nicholas "Nick" Allen is unhappy because his English teacher is the much-disliked Mrs. Granger. One day, to stall for time in class, Nick decides to question where each word comes from. After hearing Mrs. Granger's explanation, and having to write an essay about it for homework, he creates a new name for the pen: "frindle".
His classmates really like the idea and soon, every child in school is using the word. It starts to gain national attention at that point. Mrs. Granger dislikes this new word because she thinks it is not respectful to the word "pen", which has a long history. She makes children stay after school and write lines for saying the word "frindle", but this proves to be a problem, as almost every pupil has to stay after school. Parents complain, and the bus drivers who have to work overtime are also unhappy and threaten to go on strike.
The school principal decides to visit Nick's house to end the use of the word, but the situation is beyond Nick's personal control, and the word's usage cannot be curtailed.
At one point, a person puts up a sign in town advertising the word "frindle" and another person makes merchandise with the word "frindle" somewhere on it.
The epilogue shows Nick as an adult in his own house. At this point, the word "frindle" has become a common part of the language. He becomes wealthy from the fund of his dad's longtime friend, a businessman who bought the rights to the word "frindle" when Nick was in fifth grade.
Mrs. Granger sends Nick a new copy of the dictionary, recently updated to include new words, including frindle. She includes a letter, which Nick saw her write back in fifth grade, in which she explains that she intentionally stood against the word in order to make it more popular. He sends back a present, a gold pen with Mrs. Granger's name on it saying, "This object belongs to Lorelei Granger and she may call it any name she chooses to."
Awards and honors
The U.S. National Education Association named Frindle one of "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children" based on a 2007 online poll. In 2012 it was ranked number 38 among all-time children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience.
The book has received more than 35 awards and honors, including: