“By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is utterly satisfying,” Kirkus Reviews wrote. “The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling.”
“Frindle” was followed by many more books for middle-grade students, including “The Landry News” (1998), about a fifth grader who publishes her own newspaper, in which she writes a searing editorial about her teacher, and “The Losers Club” (2017), about a boy who reads so obsessively (to the exclusion of paying attention in class) that he starts an after-school book club to preserve his quiet reading time and calls it the Losers Club to minimize participation.
Mr. Clements’s books have been praised for their portrayal of the dynamics between students and teachers, the intricacies of classroom and schoolyard culture and the breadth of adult’s as well as children’s emotions.
“His kids are cruel, kind, bullying, angry, joyful, delightful, tall, short, impulsive, thoughtful smart, funny,” Lisa Von Drasek, a children’s librarian, wrote in her review in The New York Times of “No Talking,” which Mr. Clements published in 2007.
Before his death, Mr. Clements had written a first draft of “The Frindle Files,” a sequel to “Frindle,” in which Nicholas becomes a teacher. Mr. Clements’s agent, Amy Berkower, said by phone that it might be completed by a collaborator.
Andrew Elborn Clements was born on May 29, 1949, in Camden, N.J. and grew up in nearby Oaklyn and Cherry Hill before moving with his family to Springfield, Ill., when he was in the sixth grade. His father, William, sold insurance; his mother, Doris (Kruse) Clements, was a homemaker.
An avid reader from a young age, Mr. Clements earned praise for his writing while attending Northwestern University, where one of his professors asked him to teach creative writing at summer high school workshops. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in literature in 1971, he earned a master’s in teaching at National Louis University, in Chicago.