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Fads and Friendship in a Fun Novel for Both Middle School Students and Their Teachers Who Understand School Fads

Updated on January 14, 2019
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Who Likes Buttons?

Fads can make or break a friendship in middle school.  Competition with button collections creates The Friendship War between Grace and Ellie
Fads can make or break a friendship in middle school. Competition with button collections creates The Friendship War between Grace and Ellie | Source

Friends Must Choose Between Friendship or Button Collections

All kinds of fads can get started with students in sixth grade. Both students and teachers can think of fads that begin as just a fad and then turn into a kind of competition. Fights can even begin if the competition gets fierce. Andrew Clements' The Friendship War tells the story of a fad that began with Grace and Ellie and escalated into the entire school. Who knew that buttons could be so popular? Ellie and Grace have been friends since the second grade. Ellie is somewhat competitive and is not accustomed to being second in attention. Grace comes up first in attention when she is helped by her friend Hank in collecting the most buttons in the sixth grade. Ellie is not on board with Grace's attention-getting button collection. Grace must decide to end this fad in order to save her friendship with Ellie.

Andrew Clements knows kids from his years as a teacher. The Friendship War is written from his perspective as a teacher and familiarity with fads that get started in schools. The text is easily read because it is written in typical speech from students in sixth grade. Young readers will relate to the chapter that features texting between Grace and her grandpa. Clements includes an Author's Note that will appeal to teachers. He tells the story of fads that he saw in his own classrooms through the years with his students. Many teachers will remember these as fads in their own schools.

The Friendship War has a lesson that young readers will relate to. A button collection or any other fad should not break up a friendship. Fads can be fun but competition should not be part of a fad if it threatens a friendship. Young readers will find this to be a relevant book to what often happens in their school environment.

Clements' The Friendship War was published by Random House Children's Books and is recommended for ages 8-12. It has an ISBN of 978-0-3995-5761-3.

A Button Collection Could Sink a Friendship

The biggest button collection!
The biggest button collection! | Source
Fads can turn into competitions
Fads can turn into competitions | Source

Fads With Ellie and Grace in Your Classroom

Teachers who teach reading or language arts in later elementary and junior high classrooms will want to add Andrew Clements' The Friendship War to their classroom library. This is a fun and relevant story of a fad that gets started in sixth grade and blossoms into a huge competition. Teachers will all relate to that as a real event in their own classrooms. The Friendship War offers the opportunity for learning the lesson that a fad should not turn into a competition that may threaten a friendship. Students will want to brainstorm ideas about fads that have started in their school and how they manage these fads to keep their friends interested.

*Read The Friendship War in a group read-aloud class session. Students always enjoy reading aloud to their friends with chapter books.

*How did the fad of button collecting get started for Grace and Ellie?

*Brainstorm with students about fads that have started in their school or classroom. What are some of the more popular fads in their school or classroom?

*Assign a creative writing project for students to write about their favorite fad that started in their school.

*Where did all of the buttons that Grace acquired come from? Take a class poll of students who have acquired collections of things from family members.

*Give students the opportunity to bring in a collection of their own to share with the class.

*Assign a creative writing project for students to write about a collection of their own.

*How did Grace and Ellie solve their problem of possibly losing their friendship over the button collection fad?

*Assign a creative writing project for students to a different ending for the story. How many will write a positive ending and how many will write a negative ending?

Fads in Schools

Have any fads in your school ever turned into stiff competitions instead of just for fun fads?

See results

© 2019 Cindy Hewitt


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