Good morning class. Your assignment is to read chapters one through five in your Judicial History textbook, answer the questions at the end of each chapter, and summarize how a case is heard in the Supreme Court.

Or… just read Steven B. Frank’s new novel, CLASS ACTION.

You may have caught my review a year ago of Steven’s previous book, ARMSTRONG & CHARLIE. It was on the top of my list for best MG novels in 2017. This one is also awfully good, adding to the numerous oxymorons CLASS ACTION provides.

The value of homework is an often researched and debated topic. The story here provides a what if scenario: Sixth grader Sam has had it with homework. He’d rather be building a tree house with his Dad, playing the piano, or just doing whatever he wants with his after school time. Sam takes a stand against homework to the delight of kids nationwide. He makes his way through the judicial system with help from a cadre of friends, his half sister, and a retired lawyer.

It’s an entertaining journey and one where you’ll learn how our court system works. There’s even a handy glossary of legal terms in the back along with a description of each of the actual court cases referred to in the story.

I’m no Supreme Court Justice, but I find in favor of the author in providing us with another winning title.




That’s what sixth grader Sam Warren tells his teacher while standing on top of his desk. He’s fed up with doing endless tasks from the time he gets home to the time he goes to sleep. Suspended for his protest, Sam decides to fight back. He recruits his elderly neighbor/retired attorney Mr. Kalman to help him file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all students in Los Angeles. Their argument? Homework is unconstitutional.

With a ragtag team—aspiring masterchef Alistair, numbers gal Catalina, sports whiz Jaesang, rebel big sister Sadie and her tech-savvy boyfriend Sean—Sam takes his case to federal court. He learns about the justice system, kids’ rights, and constitutional law. And he learns that no matter how many times you get knocked down, there’s always an appeal…until the nine justices have the last say.

Will Sam’s quest end in an epic fail, or will he be the hero who saves childhood for all time?


by Steven B. Frank

  1. The kids and adults learn more than they ever would with this project based type of learning. Reminds me of an old quote: Read and forget; Do and remember.
  2. Steven B. Frank knows his way around the classroom and has captured the different personalities of each student well.
  3. The pacing is perfect for a book without much real action, but you’ll smile and keep turning the pages to see how it all works out.
  4. You also experience some of the iconic sights as the book shifts from Los Angeles to San Francisco and of course Washington D.C.
  5. The steady bond between a brother and older sister is brought to life with heartwarming results.


He makes his way around the classroom, dropping the packets on desk after desk after desk, kids flinching at every thwack.

I think about my dad sitting in his sixth-grade classroom when he was a boy. Back then kids hardly ever had homework. Soon as the bell rang, they were free.

Free to have fun.

Free to play with friends.

Free to build treehouses with their dads.

A tiny word starts to form in my mouth, Two letters . One syllable. Don’t ask me how. It just comes.

“No,” I say.


Steven B. Frank is the author of ARMSTRONG & CHARLIE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), CLASS ACTION (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018), and THE PEN COMMANDMENTS: A GUIDE FOR THE BEGINNING WRITER (Pantheon/Anchor Books).

​ His short stories and plays have appeared in Weekly Reader’s READ and WRITING FOR TEENS magazines.

​ “Mr. Frank” is also a longtime beloved English teacher at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, where he rewards obstreperous kids with fun writing topics.

Steven lives in Laurel Canyon with one wife, two dogs, and three kids.


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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6 Responses to CLASS ACTION

  1. Why a great concept for a book. I love the sound of this and am putting it on my TBR list right now. I don’t know if you ever listen to podcasts, but one of my favorite series is More Perfect which examines the Supreme Court and some of its most interesting decisions.

  2. What an interesting way to teach about the Supreme Court and the legal system. Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. It sounds like a really fun way for kids to learn about the judicial system while fighting for a cause they can believe in: the end of homework. I’ll have to give this one a try.

  4. cleemckenzie says:

    Kids in charge and kids learning how the judicial system works! Sounds like a winner to me.

  5. What a great way for kids to learn about the judicial system by navigating the system. What fun. I often think about the current student involvement in “March for Our Lives” as much more important than sitting behind a desk. They are involved and learning. It is forming their lives.

  6. How often I wished for no homework when I was in school! Although we were never totally “free” (we always had homework), we had plenty of time to play, ride bikes, etc. after school. There wasn’t this soul-crushing amount of work that kids have today.

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