Bryan Podell, English Teacher, Intrinsic Schools
Frindle tells the story of Nick Allen, a student who, after learning about the origin of words, creates his own word for a pen (much to the dismay of his English teacher): he calls it a frindle. Although Nick’s teacher and principal attempt to stop the usage of the word frindle, it takes on a life of its own and grows organically within his school, community, and beyond. Frindle looks at the themes such as creativity, limitations, environment, support systems, sense of place, and conflict.
The suggested sets and lessons below stem from the idea of helping students understand the complexity of conflict, how to maintain an identity when making compromises, and what it means to discover one’s own identity. Younger readers can examine basic approaches to the many parts of a conflict through various short fictional pieces, while progressing readers can get a head start on what it means to discover what they believe and how to interact with adults when those beliefs feel threatened. Although Frindle is intended for younger readers, students of any age can analyze the book at various levels of complexity to gain a better understanding of finding one’s identity and creativity, as well as the many factors that play into it, in what may appear to be a limited world.