Steven B. Frank
Steven B. Frank is the author of Class ReAction (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2022), Class Action (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) Armstrong & Charlie (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), and The Pen Commandments: A guide for the beginning writer (Pantheon/Anchor, 2003).
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 Lyçée Français de Los Angeles, where his students deliberately misbehave because he punishes them with fun writing topics.
Steven lives in Laurel Canyon, California.
A NY PUBLIC LIBRARY best book for the teen years.
"A delightful, useful tool for writing well."
--Quill & Scroll
FINALIST for the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction
"Inspiration for a new generation of political engagement."
"A funny, engaging, and thought-provoking story."
An ALA NOTABLE; A Junior Library Guild selection, 2018
"ARMSTRONG & CHARLIE is one of those distinctly American books that speaks to us of who we are. It warns us of those forces that divide us, and celebrates the strength of those who can overcome them. The novel is an exultationof hope."
--Gary D. Schmidt,
two-time Newberry Honor-Winning author of
The Wednesday Wars,
Okay for Now, Orbiting Jupiter, and Pay Attention, Carter Brown.
When I was growing up, I always looked forward to the holidays. What kid doesn’t look forward to the holidays? I couldn’t wait to open presents and see if, maybe this year, my family would finally get me something different.
The gifts you get say a lot about how people see you. My brother Michael, a big reader, would unwrap The Complete Novels of Charles Dickens or The Norton Anthology of English Literature or Balzac: A 6-Volume Set. All that reading paid off. Mike grew up to be just what the family expected: a writer.
Dan, the middle child, loved science and electronics. He would unwrap a Home Chemistry Set, an Erector Set, or a Heathkit, Jr. Deluxe Electronic Workshop. His gifts would take over the floor of the bedroom we shared. Sometimes he’d let me into the mad science he was performing—by telling me to run downstairs and get him a screwdriver. All that tinkering paid off. Dan grew up to be just what the family hoped for: a doctor.
Then came my turn. I would unwrap…a can of tennis balls. Every year. Every holiday. A new can of balls. Usually Wilson.
I loved playing tennis. It gave me a special bond with my dad and, later, a solid bond with other kids my age. But sometimes when you’re pegged as the “athlete in the family,” nobody sees what else you might want to be. In my case, I was curious too about stories and science. But those identities were already taken.
I didn’t grow up to be a professional tennis player. I grew up to be a teacher and a writer.
It’s good to be grateful for the gifts you get. But it can take a lifetime to unwrap the ones you have.