The School Story

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She also learns that most of the manuscripts sent to Shipley come from literary agents.

Questions?

When her manuscript is submitted, she learns about the revision process that manuscripts must go through. From her father and from reading the trade journal Publishers Weekly , Zoe learns how difficult it is to get a book published and how important a good agent is to the process.

In the book, it is clear that Natalie and her mother take care of each other. What evidence is there in the story to show how each one cares for the other? Natalie and her mother are very close. They spend hours every day commuting together from New Jersey to Manhattan, and during that time they talk openly about their lives.

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When Natalie notices that her mom seems tired and overworked, she feels concerned and asks her about her job pp. For Natalie, it is very important that her mother, and not Letha Springfield, handle her novel, because she wants her mother to get the recognition for the project. Concerned for her daughter's safety as she travels alone in Manhattan, Hannah Nelson gives her daughter detailed instructions about how to navigate the city alone pp. When Natalie spends all her free time writing in secret, her mother is concerned that Natalie is working too hard on homework, and urges her daughter to rest and relax more p.

Natalie and Zoe go to the same school, but their lives are very different. Compare what you know about Zoe's life to what you know about Natalie's life. Natalie lives with her single mother in Hoboken, New Jersey. She spends a couple of hours every day waiting for her mother to finish working, and then commuting home together.

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Natalie is close to her mother and misses her father, who died several years before. Zoe comes from a wealthy family and lives with both parents on the upper east side of Manhattan. She has two sisters, and to get time alone with her busy father, she likes to go with him to work at his law office on Saturdays.

Although Natalie's father has died before the story begins, he plays an important role in the book. Based on evidence in the book, how would you describe how Natalie feels about her father?


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Natalie still respects and loves her father, and her story The Cheater is a tribute to him. As Zoe notices, "The book was like a good-bye poem from Natalie to her father" p. She thinks about him often, and when she writes, she uses his old desk chair and Macintosh computer so that she can continue feeling close to him p.

She often feels sad about losing her father, and seeing her good friend Zoe with her dad makes her remember how much she misses him p. Natalie and Zoe run into some obstacles trying to get Natalie's book published. What are three problems they encounter and what solutions do they find? One obstacle is Natalie's resistance to sending her book to a publisher, and through her persuasive persistence, Zoe is able to convince her friend to try.

She then has to convince Natalie to use a pen name and to let the Sherry Clutch Literary Agency represent her, and again through persistence she is able to persuade Natalie. Then both girls must present their plan to their teacher Ms. Clayton and get her to help them, and though Ms. Clayton is reluctant at first, Zoe is able to talk her into helping. What do you think the result would be if Natalie and Zoe had gone to their parents with their plan in the first place? Students' answers will vary.

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For both girls, getting Natalie's novel published by themselves without their parents' help gave them a great sense of achievement. Given her situation with the difficult Letha Springfield, Natalie's mother may have had some trouble getting Natalie's book published at Shipley if the author's true identity had been revealed.

It would have appeared that Hannah Nelson was seeking special treatment for her own daughter. Best friends Natalie Nelson and Zoe Reisman prove that opposites attract…and create powerful results. Natalie is the quiet one of the pair, a born writer who has been working on a novel that is almost finished. Zoe is the talker who gets things done, and woe to anyone who stands in her way! When Zoe reads Natalie's manuscript, she doesn't believe how great the story is, and can't wait to read the ending. In fact, she is so convinced that it's a great book, she believes it should be published.

And once something gets in Zoe's head, there is no turning back.

Zoe sees the perfect opportunity to publish the book Natalie's own mother is an editor at Shipley Junior Books, but Natalie doesn't want special treatment from her Mom. Andrew Clements is the author of the enormously popular Frindle. He lives with his wife in Maine and has four grown children. Visit him at AndrewClements. Tell us what you like, so we can send you books you'll love.

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