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The School Story by Brian Selznick Review

Title: The School Story

Author: Brian Selznick

First published June 1, 2001

224 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780689851865 (ISBN10: 0689851863)

Rating: 3.98


In “The School Story” by Brian Selznick, two middle school girls embark on a daring plan to publish a book. When twelve-year-old Lila writes a novel, her best friend, Maya, is convinced that it’s good enough to be published.

However, Lila’s father is a struggling writer and Lila doesn’t want to burden him with the expense of publishing her book. Then Maya comes up with a brilliant idea: Lila can submit her manuscript under a pen name, with Maya acting as her literary agent.

But it’s not easy for two sixth graders to pull off such a scheme. Can Lila and Maya convince the grown-ups in their lives to support them and help them achieve their dreams?

Find out in “The School Story”.

About the Author

Hey there! My name is Brian Selznick, and I’m the author and illustrator of the popular book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was born in 1966 in the state of New Jersey, and I have a sister who is a teacher, a brother who is a brain surgeon, and six nieces and nephews.

After I graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design, I worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City, where I learned all about children’s books from my boss, Steve Geck. During my time there, I also painted windows for book events and holidays.

My first book, The Houdini Box, which I both wrote and illustrated, was published in 1991 while I was still working at the bookstore. Since then, I have illustrated several children’s books, including Frindle by Andrew Clements, The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin, Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan, and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which received a 2001 Caldecott Honor.

I’ve also written a few books myself, including The Boy of a Thousand Faces, but The Invention of Hugo Cabret was by far the most challenging book I’ve ever worked on.

Currently, I split my time between Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.

Editoral Review

In his debut novel, The School Story, Brian Selznick delivers a heartwarming tale about perseverance and the power of friendship. Selznick, best known for his bestselling work The Invention of Hugo Cabret, showcases his unique talent for combining words and images in a style that is both accessible and engaging for young readers.

The School Story follows the journey of twelve-year-old writer, Natalie, who understands precisely what it takes to get a book published. However, when she finds out that her editor mother has rejected her work, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

With the help of her best friend and colleague, Zoe, Natalie develops a plan to publish her book anonymously, with the hope of gaining recognition from her mother. Selznick’s tale captures the essence of the middle school experience – navigating social hierarchies, building and losing friendships, and dealing with parental expectations.

The characters are well-crafted, with relatable and authentic personalities, making it easy for young readers to connect with them. The setting, a New York City middle school, creates an environment that many students will recognize and relate to, adding to the book’s charm and appeal.

One of the strengths of The School Story is Selznick’s writing style, which is concise, clear, and effective. Selznick seamlessly weaves together the characters’ stories, creating a beautiful tapestry of rich and layered themes of perseverance, friendship, and the pursuit of one’s dreams.

The book’s pacing is well-balanced and keeps readers engaged throughout, without feeling rushed or dragging on unnecessarily. While the book itself is timeless, it does have cultural significance, as it challenges the traditional power structures in the publishing industry, which often shut out marginalized voices.

Selznick’s book is a message of hope and encouragement for young writers everywhere and demonstrates that, with hard work and determination, anyone can achieve their dreams. Overall, The School Story is a delightful read that is sure to inspire young readers to pursue their passions, no matter the obstacles.

With its engaging plot, relatable characters, and gorgeous illustrations, this book is perfect for children ages 8-12. It earns a five-star rating for its heartwarming story, relatable characters, engaging plot, and seamlessly integrated illustrations.

Selznick gives us another literary masterpiece that will stand the test of time.

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