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Troublemaker

Troublemaker

Illustrated by: Mark Elliott
For Ages: 8 - 12
  • reading group guide
Once a troublemaker, always a troublemaker? A reputation proves challenging to change in this “rock-solid school story” (Publishers Weekly) from Andrew Clements.

Clayton Hensley is accustomed to trouble: There’s a folder of incident reports in Principal Kelling’s office that’s as thick as a phonebook and growing daily. Most recently, Clay’s art teacher told the class to spend the period drawing anything they wanted, and Clay decided to be extra “creative” by drawing a spot-on portrait of Principal Kelling…as a donkey.

It’s a pretty funny joke, but Clay is coming to realize that the biggest joke of all may be on him. When his big brother, Mitchell, gets in some serious trouble, Clay decides to change his own mischief-making ways…but he can’t seem to shake his reputation as a troublemaker.

From the master of the school story comes a book about the fine line between good-humored mischief and dangerous behavior—and how everyday choices can close or open doors.
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 176 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416949329 | 
  • February 2013 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7
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Writer Andrew Clements: Revealed

Author Andrew Clements finds inspiration in Benjamin Franklin's contributions to American history.

Read an Excerpt

Troublemaker CHAPTER ONE NOT APPROPRIATE
Clay Hensley frowned at the paper on the table. It wasn’t a very good drawing. He’d made tons of better ones . . . like that picture he’d made of the old man sitting on the bridge? Now, that was good—even won a prize. This drawing? It was okay, just a simple portrait. It wasn’t going to win any prizes—but then, it wasn’t supposed to. It was supposed to do something else. Soon.

Out of the corner of his eye Clay saw... see more

Reading Group Guide

A reading & activity guide for

Troublemaker by Andrew Clements

ABOUT THE BOOK

Clayton Hensley has been getting into trouble since he started elementary school. From running in the halls to drawing an unflattering cartoon of the principal, he’s always been pretty proud of his pranks. Then his big brother, Mitch, returns home from a stint in jail with a new attitude and wants Clay to change his ways too. But Clay’s rambunctious friends don’t understand. Resisting the urge to act up when somebody bugs him is not as easy as he thought it would be. And a few weeks of good behavior may not be enough for the people Clay tricked and ridiculed to stop thinking of him as a troublemaker. Clements tells a thought-provoking and important story about rules, reputations, and the possibility to change course for the better.

DISCUSSION TOPICS

1. List at least three things you think you know about Clay after reading only the first page of Troublemaker. What is your opinion of Clay at the end of Chapter 1?

2. Who is Mrs. Ormin? How does she help readers understand Clay’s story? How does Clay feel about Mr. Dash, Mr. Kelling, and Mrs. Ormin? Is he angry at them? Why do you think Clay behaves the way he does in the early chapters of the book?

3. What do you think Clay expected would happen after Mr. Dash and his classmates see the donkey picture? What events resulting fro see more

About the Author

Andrew Clements
Photo Credit:

Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements is the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he has been nominated for a multitude of state awards, including two Christopher Awards and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He is also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. He lives with his wife in Maine and has four grown children. Visit him at AndrewClements.com.

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