Cover image for The Landry News
The Landry News
Clements, Andrew, 1949-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [1999]

Physical Description:
123 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
A fifth-grader starts a newspaper with an editorial that prompts her burnt-out classroom teacher to really begin teaching again, but he is later threatened with disciplinary action as a result.
Reading Level:
950 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.0 4.0 31641.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 6.1 7 Quiz: 14418 Guided reading level: R.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



From the Editor's Desk
A Question of Fairness
There has been no teaching so far this year in Mr. Larson's classroom. There has been learning, but there has been no teaching. There is a teacher in the classroom, but he does not teach.
Cara Landry is a budding journalist. When she posts a scathing editorial about her burned-out teacher on the bulletin board one afternoon, everything changes. Prodded into action for the first time in years, Mr. Larson challenges his fifth-grade students to create a real newspaper. Soon The Landry News gets more attention than either Cara or her teacher bargained for, as the principal uses the paper to try to get Mr. Larson fired. While the whole town is swept up in a dramatic debate over The Landry News and the First Amendment, Mr. Larson uses the controversy as raw material for some of the finest teaching of his career. And Cara and her classmates learn the importance of tempering a newspaper's truth with mercy. But will their lessons cost Mr. Larson his job?
Written by the author of the immensely popular Frindle, this is a compelling new novel about the collision of a student in need of a teacher with a teacher in need of inspiration.

Author Notes

Andrew Clements was born in Camden, New Jersey on May 7, 1949. He received a bachelor's degree in literature from Northwestern University and master's degree in teaching from National Louis University. Before becoming a full-time author, he taught in the public schools north of Chicago for seven years, was a singer-songwriter, and worked in publishing.

He is well known for his picture book texts, but it was his middle school novel, Frindle, that was a breakthrough for his writing career. Frindle won numerous awards including the Georgia Children's Book Award, the Sasquatch Children's Book Award, the Massachusetts Children's Book Award, the Rhode Island Children's Book Award, and the Year 2000 Young Hoosier Book Award. His other works include The Landry News, The Janitor's Boy, No Talking, Things Not Seen, Things Hoped For, and Things That Are.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-7. Fifth-grader Cara Landry's homemade newspaper, The Landry News, is all about truth and education. That's why her teacher, Mr. Larson, is such a disappointment: once known for his innovative classes, he now lazily leaves students to learn on their own. Hoping to change this, Cara makes his ineffectual teaching the subject of an editorial, with both positive and negative repercussions. Mr. Larson is inspired to become a better teacher; Cara's paper becomes a rewarding classroom project. But the paper also provides the principal with an excuse to force Mr. Larson out, involving his students--and readers--in a thought-provoking exploration of freedom of speech, the impact of media blitzes and biases, and effective teaching methods. The depth of characterization, humor, realistic dialogue, and drama will engage readers; also, the accessible examples of responsible reporting, rewards of team efforts, constitutional rights, and how the relationship between students and educators can be mutually beneficial will be educational. Sure to stimulate classroom discussion, the novel offers students and teachers well-rounded perspectives and lessons on reconciling appearances with the real story--in the media as well as in private lives. --Shelle Rosenfeld

Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-A fifth grader's scathing editorial criticizing her burned-out teacher spurs him to take his duties seriously. A terrific read about free speech, the power of the pen, and the need to temper truth with mercy. (July) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-A thought-provoking novel from the author of Frindle (S & S, 1996). Mr. Larson has taught for 20 years and he's burned out. His idea of the open-classroom method is to start his fifth graders on a project and then sit back and relax with coffee and a newspaper. So when Cara Landry writes a newspaper with an editorial about the lack of teaching going on in room 145, the former "Teacher of the Year" gets very upset. Realizing that the girl is stating the truth, he starts a unit on journalism and the class enthusiastically begins a newspaper. With Cara as editor, the project blossoms. However, when she allows a very personal and poignant story on divorce to be printed, the principal sees it as an opportunity to get rid of Mr. Larson. The teacher then uses the proceedings as a real-life lesson on the First Amendment. The children rally to his support, as does the faculty, and at a public hearing he is vindicated. With chapter headings reading like headlines, the plot moves quickly. Bits of humor lighten the theme of "Truth with Mercy." The author has created believable characters, from the beleaguered Mr. Larson to the intelligent and thoughtful Cara. Readers will cheer for both of them as they move toward the satisfying conclusion.-Anne Knickerbocker, Cedar Brook Elementary School, Houston, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One: NEW KID GETS OLD TEACHER "Cara Louise, I am talking to you!" Cara Landry didn't answer her mom. She was busy. She sat at the gray folding table in the kitchenette, a heap of torn paper scraps in front of her. Using a roll of clear tape, Cara was putting the pieces back together. Little by little, they fell into place on a fresh sheet of paper about eighteen inches wide. The top part was already taking shape -- a row of neat block letters, carefully drawn to look like newspaper type. "Cara, honey, you promised you wouldn't start that again. Didn't you learn one little thing from the last time?" Cara's mom was talking about what had happened at the school Cara had attended for most of fourth grade, just after her dad had left. There had been some problems. "Don't worry, Mom," Cara said absentmindedly, absorbed in her task. Cara Landry had only lived in Carlton for six months. From the day she moved to town, during April of fourth grade, everyone had completely ignored her. She had been easy for the other kids to ignore. Just another brainy, quiet girl, the kind who always turns in assignments on time, always aces tests. She dressed in a brown plaid skirt and a clean white blouse every day, dependable as the tile pattern on the classroom floor. Average height, skinny arms and legs, white socks, black shoes. Her light brown hair was always pulled back into a thin ponytail, and her pale blue eyes hardly ever connected with anyone else's. As far as the other kids were concerned, Cara was there, but just barely. All that changed in one afternoon soon after Cara started fifth grade. It was like any other Friday for Cara at Denton Elementary School. Math first thing in the morning, then science and gym, lunch and health, and finally, reading, language arts, and social studies in Mr. Larson's room. Mr. Larson was the kind of teacher parents write letters to the principal about, letters like: Dear Dr. Barnes: We know our child is only in second grade this year, but please be sure that he [or she] is NOT put into Mr. Larson's class for fifth grade. Our lawyer tells us that we have the right to make our educational choices known to the principal and that you are not allowed to tell anyone we have written you this letter. So in closing, we again urge you to take steps to see that our son [or daughter] is not put into Mr. Larson's classroom. Sincerely yours, Mr. and Mrs. Everybody-who-lives-in-Carlton Still, someone had to be in Mr. Larson's class; and if your mom was always too tired to join the PTA or a volunteer group, and if you mostly hung out at the library by yourself or sat around your apartment reading and doing homework, it was possible to live in Carlton for half a year and not know that Mr. Larson was a lousy teacher. And if your mom didn't know enough to write a letter to the principal, you were pretty much guaranteed to get Mr. Larson. Mr. Larson said he believed in the open classroom. At parents' night every September, Mr. Larson explained that children learn best when they learn things on their own. This was not a new idea. This idea about learning was being used successfully by practically every teacher in America. But Mr. Larson used it in his own special way. Almost every day, he would get the class started on a story or a worksheet or a word list or some reading and then go to his desk, pour some coffee from his big red thermos, open up his newspaper, and sit. Over the years, Mr. Larson had taught himself how to ignore the chaos that erupted in his classroom every day. Unless there was the sound of breaking glass, screams, or splintering furniture, Mr. Larson didn't even look up. If other teachers or the principal complained about the noise, he would ask a student to shut the door, and then go back to reading his newspaper. Even though Mr. Larson had not done much day-to-day teaching for a number of years, quite a bit of learning happened in room 145 anyway. The room itself had a lot to do with that. Room 145 was like a giant educational glacier, with layer upon layer of accumulated materials. Mr. Larson read constantly, and every magazine he had subscribed to or purchased during the past twenty years had ended up in his classroom. Time, Good Housekeeping, U.S. News & World Report, Smithsonian, Cricket, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Boys' Life, Organic Gardening, The New Yorker, Life, Highlights, Fine Woodworking, Reader's Digest, Popular Mechanics, and dozens of others. Heaps of them filled the shelves and cluttered the corners. Newspapers, too, were stacked in front of the windows; recent ones were piled next to Mr. Larson's chair. This stack was almost level with his desktop, and it made a convenient place to rest his coffee cup. Each square inch of wall space and a good portion of the ceiling were covered with maps, old report covers, newspaper clippings, diagrammed sentences, cartoons, Halloween decorations, a cursive handwriting chart, quotations from the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration of Independence, and the complete Bill of Rights -- a dizzying assortment of historical, grammatical, and literary information. The bulletin boards were like huge paper time warps -- shaggy, colorful collages. Whenever Mr. Larson happened to find an article or a poster or an illustration that looked interesting, he would staple it up, and he always invited the kids to do the same. But for the past eight or ten years, Mr. Larson had not bothered to take down the old papers -- he just wallpapered over them with the new ones. Every few months -- especially when it was hot and humid -- the weight of the built-up paper would become too much for the staples, and a slow avalanche of clippings would lean forward and whisper to the floor. When that happened, a student repair committee would grab some staplers from the supply cabinet, and the room would shake as they pounded flat pieces of history back onto the wall. Freestanding racks of books were scattered all around room 145. There were racks loaded with mysteries, Newbery winners, historical fiction, biographies, and short stories. There were racks of almanacs, nature books, world records books, old encyclopedias, and dictionaries. There was even a rack of well-worn picture books for those days when fifth-graders felt like looking back at the books they grew up on. The reading corner was jammed with pillows and was sheltered by half of an old cardboard geodesic dome. The dome had won first prize at a school fair about fifteen years ago. Each triangle of the dome had been painted blue or yellow or green and was designed by kids to teach something -- like the flags of African nations or the presidents of the United States or the last ten Indianapolis-500 winners -- dozens and dozens of different minilessons. The dome was missing half its top and looked a little like an igloo after a week of warm weather. Still, every class period there would be a scramble to see which small group of friends would take possession of the dome. The principal didn't approve of Mr. Larson's room one bit. It gave him the creeps. Dr. Barnes liked things to be spotless and orderly, like his own office -- a place for everything, and everything in its place. Occasionally he threatened to make Mr. Larson change rooms -- but there was really no other room he could move to. Besides, room 145 was on the lower level of the school in the back corner. It was the room that was the farthest away from the office, and Dr. Barnes couldn't bear the thought of Mr. Larson being one inch closer to him. Even though it was chaotic and cluttered, Mr. Larson's class suited Cara Landry just fine. She was able to tune out the noise, and she liked being left alone for the last two hours of every day. She would always get to class early and pull a desk and chair over to the back corner by some low bookcases. Then she would pull the large map tripod up behind her chair. She would spread out her books and papers on the bookshelf to her right, and she would tack her plastic pencil case on the bulletin board to her left. It was a small private space, like her own little office, where Cara could just sit and read, think, and write. Then, on the first Friday afternoon in October, Cara took what she'd been working on and without saying anything to anybody, she used four thumbtacks and stuck it onto the overloaded bulletin board at the back of Mr. Larson's room. It was Denton Elementary School's first edition of The Landry News. Copyright © 1999 by Andrew Clements Excerpted from The Landry News by Andrew Clements All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.