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We the Children (Benjamin Pratt & Keepers of the School #1)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,420 ratings  ·  240 reviews
Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true! But lately, Ben has been wonder if he’s going to like an amusement park in the middle of his town—with all the buses and traffic and eight dollar slices of pizza. It’s going to change everything. And, Ben is not so big on al ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2010)
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Newbery 2011
60th out of 147 books — 494 voters
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Maine Student Book Awards 2011-2012
9th out of 42 books — 15 voters

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Community Reviews

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As I requested this advanced reading copy for my son, who at age nine fits the key age group for the book, I thought it would be fun to review the book together. He is as voracious a reader as I am and just loves the fact that I blog, and he has been eyeballing the book from the moment it entered my library. He jumped at the chance to read it and review it for me. Having read it first, I know I had my own opinions of the book, so I was curious to see what he had to say. His thoughts:

M: What did
Lars Guthrie
Many of us come equipped with a purist strain, a don't-change gene. I certainly do. So my first reaction upon seeing that Andrew Clements was writing a series? Without support from Brian Selznick? You can guess.

I like to think I can get past the rigid-thinking part of me, and in this case I did. The first in the 'Keepers of the School' series is great. Clements has aimed for an audience somewhere in between 'Jake Drake' and 'Frindle' and scored a bull's-eye.

Coming in at under 150 rapidly-paced p
Sep 20, 2011 Brenda rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Children who like mystery series
Shelves: fantasy
The story begins with Ben rushing to get to class so he wont receive detention. Along the way, he finds the school janitor has injured his leg. As Ben is helping him, the janitor explains that the school is in danger and has Ben promise to help protect it. The janitor gives a mysterious coin to him which marks Ben as the “keeper of the school.” Ben enlists the help of the school's smartest girl and together they hope to unravel the clues that will keep their school from becoming an amusement par ...more
Here's a multi-part story that shows some definite promise. Planned as the first installment of a six-book cycle called Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School, We the Children hits the ground running hard and only gets better from there, with some early glimpses of an adventure that could prove to be quite intriguing.

It all begins one day as Ben Pratt, an above-average student of "today" (2010) at a school built in the 1700s by a Revolutionary War notable named Captain Oakes, is unknow
Melanie Au
Ben is rushing to class one day at school, when he stops to help the janitor, Mr Keane, who hurt his ankle. The janitor suddenly gives him a mysterious coin and tells him he must fight to protect the school, which is going to be knocked down and replaced by a theme park. Ben becomes even more confused and anxious when Mr. Keanne dies in the hospital. What do the words on the coin mean? Why does the new janitor seem so suspicious of Ben? How can one boy stop a multimiillion dollar real-estate pro ...more
Ava Hanadel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Bentrim
Keepers of the School-We the Children by Andrew Clements

This is a middle school focused book. It sets the stage at a converted factory that serves as a school. Left to the community, the eccentric ship captain that founded the school leaves an interesting legacy. Ben and Jill delve into the mystery of how to save the school from developers.

The character Ben is dealing with personal issues that are going to be quite common to the current generation of kids. His feelings and frustrations are clea
This is not the usual type of Clements novel. It started out less flashy, and slower, dialogue-wise, than most of his books. The drama he builds over the hidden secrets in the school grabs you by the end, and in the last half of the book he begins to build convincing friendships and rivalries which should prove to be the gel that makes this series even more compelling. When I came to the last page, I WAS disappointed that this was a series, and I had to wait for the next installment. Great editi ...more
A fun young adult book featuring Ben Pratt and his friend Jill Acton. Both are students at the historical Captain Oakes School in Massachusetts. Both love their school but the wrecking ball is schedule to hit it in 28 days and the two will be attending the new school currently being built.

When Ben receives a secret message from a dying janitor he feels obligated to try and save the old school building. He enlist Jill's help and the two begin to find out some interesting facts that powerful peo
3.5 stars - As others have noted, this first volume of Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School is not a "series" in the sense that each book is a self-contained story. There's no real closure at the end of this book, but it is a compelling mystery, probably best suited for middle-school readers. We the Children owes a lot to the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew books, but is more serious in nature and contains a bit of a dark element. Not quite what I was expecting from the author of Frindle, but that ...more
I read the first three books of this series in quick succession as they were free in audiobook on Pioneer Overdrive. Short, and pretty realistic, I appreciate how Ben learns a little about himself in each one. There was one scene in the third where he's in a situation with someone that always rubs him the wrong way, and realizes he is acting just like the person he's bothered by and switches course. I liked that. Maybe a little too introspective for his age, but not impossible. I was disappointe ...more
Addison Children
Well, I've always said Andrew Clements could be counted on for a great read, but with this book� he has proved me wrong. This is not so much a book as perhaps the first 15% of a book. It is so obviously a series that this one does not even begin to stand alone. Ben's school's janitor dies mysteriously, leaving Ben with a gold coin that charges him to save the school. The school is about to be torn down by the town to make way for an amusement park. Ben also sails in a boat race. That's it, book ...more
Ally Copper
Benjamin Pratt is a student given a special/mysterious mission to protect the school he attends. His school property has been sold to an amusement park company, and there are plans for the 230-year-old building to be demolished. In this first installment of Benjamin Pratt and The Keepers of the School, titled "We the Children," Benjamin, with the help of his friend Jill, just scratches the surface of the mysteries within the Oakes School. Young readers, especially 4th- through 6th-graders, will ...more
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

It is always fun to stumble upon a new children's series. Especially one with so much potential. WE THE CHILDREN, the first book in the new BENJAMIN PRATT AND THE KEEPERS OF THE SCHOOL series was really delightful. Benjamin Pratt attends the Oakes School which has been around since the late 1700's. It was founded by a sea captain and sits on a prime piece of New England property overlooking the sea. Benjamin is a good kid who is fond of
Apr 08, 2011 Scott rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the store where I bought it for a refund
Reader beware: this is not a stand-alone story.
I knew that it was the first of a series, but I thought that each one would stand independently. Rather, it ends abruptly. You'll have to buy all the sequels in order to learn how the mystery is solved. And I, for one, won't. Because by the end of the first book, I have no attachment to the storyline, the characters, or the school that Benjamin Pratt is trying to save. In other words, after reading part one, I don't care how it ends.

The language in
Plot: Just before his mysterious death, the janitor of Ben's school gives him an old coin and tells Ben it's up to him to defend the school from those who want to tear it down. Namely, a company that wants to tear down the school to build an amusement park. With the help of his friend Jill, Ben sets out to do just that. But a dangerous foe is set on stopping them.

Why I picked it up: It is yet another title on the Solano Kids Read long list.

Why I kept reading: I enjoyed the characters Clements cr
Kelly Hager
This is an absolutely delightful book. There are little pencil sketch drawings (and I bet the finished product will have more) and it's just awesome. :) It's for elementary school kids (grades 2-5, according to the back of the book).

Ben's school is going to be torn down soon and turned into an amusement park. Awesome, right? Except no. Because the school's janitor entrusts him with a gold coin and a demand that he save the school--hours later, the janitor is dead.

He and his best friend Jill sta
An Abundance of Books
There's been a lot going on in Benjamin Pratt's life lately. He's nervous about his upcoming sailing race and distracted by his parent's separation and dividing his weeks between them. He certainly hasn't really thought, or cared, about the fact that his seas side school is going to be torn down and replaced with an amusement park. Actually, it sounds pretty cool: modern building, an amusement park, and the adults are happy about the money it will bring the town.

Things change when Benjamin helps
Sue Leatherman
May 11, 2010 Sue Leatherman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children ages 7 - 10
"Stick out your hand!" Mr. Keane, the school's head custodian, shoves a mysterious coin into Benjamin Pratt's hand and then whispers to Ben with his last breath, "the fight is yours!" Why did the old man do this? A strange message is stamped on the back of the coin, "First and always, my school belongs to the children. DEFEND IT," what does it mean? Benjamin Pratt's harbor side school is about to be torn down and replaced with an amusement park. Fantastic! Or is it? Why is the new janitor sneaki ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
I was excited to read the first installment of a new 6-book mystery series by celebrated children's author Andrew Clements. While I hesitate to critique the whole series based on this one book (the second book comes out in a matter of months), I did not feel this book had enough of a story to stand on its own. Clements sets the stage for the series, but not that much happens in this volume. Our hero, Ben, lives in a small seaside town, where the ancient school is slated to be torn down to build ...more
I think I'd give this one 3.5 stars if I could. It was an entertaining read for the upper elementary set who love a solid mystery/adventure book. For me, though I was never fully engaged by the characters or story, We the Children is still a good start to what promises to be a popular and fun series. Benjamin Pratt, an 11-year-old at Captain Oakes School, is just an average kid; that is, until the school's elderly janitor shares a secret with him by giving Ben a gold coin with a message from Cap ...more
Chris Murray
Summary (
Although the seaside Oakes School was dedicated to the children of Edgeport, Massachusetts in 1783 by Captain Duncan Oakes, the town council now plans to demolish it and develop the land into a nautical theme park. When 6th-grader Ben Pratt happens to help the school's old janitor who's experiencing a medical emergency, the janitor presses a gold coin into Ben's hand and recruits him into a mysterious, centuries-long quest, begun by the Captain himself, to forever keep the sc
Sandra Stiles
We the Children is the first book in a new series by Andrew Clements which comes out in April of this year. In this first book we find Benjamin Pratt a young boy who must divide his time up between his separated parents. He lives in a small town and attend Captain Duncan Oakes School. Most schools aren't like this one. Captain Oaks had his tombstone built in the middle of the playground with a see-saw attached to it and rings for children to climb on it. It is through the halls of this school we ...more
Andrew Clements has to be one of my favorite authors. He specializes, it seems, in "school-stories" about middle-schoolers and their adventures--adventures which I think could interest readers of all ages.

_We the Children_ is the first book of Clements' new mystery series. Hours before he dies, an old janitor tells middle-schooler Ben a secret about his school and entrusts Ben with a mission to save Ben's school from being torn down. With the help of his friend Jill, Ben has to discover why his
I will be keeping an eye on this series as it's got some great elements.

Benjamin Pratt goes to school in a very old building. Very old. The building was donated to the down by an old sea captain with the understanding that it would always be the school. This is their last year, however, as the town thinks it's found a loophole and sold off the land to a theme park developer.

I don't want to give too much away ... but due to a death Ben is charged with saving the school. There are cryptic clues to
The first book in the Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School series, We the Children, introduces us to a pair of amateur middle school sleuths. When Roger Keane, the custodian of their middle school, needs help, Benjamin Pratt (Ben) steps in. His reward of sorts is a mysterious gold coin which is given after Ben promises to keep a secret and defend the school. The coin and the promise open Ben's eyes to mysterious and curious things at the Captain Duncan Oakes School.

The building had been
Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true! But lately, Ben has been wonder if he’s going to like an amusement park in the middle of his town—with all the buses and traffic and eight dollar slices of pizza. It’s going to change everything. And, Ben is not so big on all the new changes in his life, like how his dad has moved out and started living in the marina on what used to be the "family” sailboat. Maybe it would be nice if th ...more
Benjamin Pratt was late for art class. He was running through the halls as fast as his legs could take him. All of a sudden Ben stopped in his tracks. The school’s janitor, Mr. Keane was having a heart attack. Before help arrives, Mr. Keane gives Ben a gold coin and tells him to keep it safe and not to tell anyone about it.

Written on the on are the words… “If attacked, look nor’-nor’east from amidships on the upper deck.” “First and always, my school belongs to the children. Defend it. Duncan O
Leah Sherrod
Professor Holland
14 November 2011
Realistic Fiction
Book: “Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School We The Children”
Author: Andrew Clements
This was a story about a boy and his determination to not let his school be bulldozed to make room for an amusement park. The setting is very realistic because it takes the place in an old school building where the children attend school. The characters are credible and are very believable in their actions to save the school. The pr
Sarah W
Ben Pratt was worried about Ms. Wilson, his homeroom teacher, busting him for being late. At least, that's what he was worried about until he found Mr. Keane, the janitor, in distress. Before the ambulance arrived to take Mr. Keane to the ambulance, the janitor forced Ben to take a coin that had been protected by a long line of janitors at Oakes School. The back of the coin had this message: "First & always my school belongs to the children. Defend it. 1783." Mr. Keane also warned Ben that h ...more
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I was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1949 and lived in Oaklyn and Cherry Hill until the middle of sixth grade. Then we moved to Springfield, Illinois. My parents were avid readers and they gave that love of books and reading to me and to all my brothers and sisters. I didn’t think about being a writer at all back then, but I did love to read. I'm certain there's a link between reading good books an ...more
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“Robert said, "This is great, huh? Sorry to butt in and everything, but I really need the extra points. For my grade."

Ben nodded and tried to smile. Right, for his grade. He probably wanted to get an A++ in social studies instead of just an A+”
“He spotted Jill sitting about thirty feet away, face tipped toward the sun, her straight brown hair tucked behind one ear and slanted across her neck. And Ben decided that when her mouth wasn't full of tuna salad, she was sort of pretty.” 4 likes
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