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Class Action

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Student activism meets screwball comedy meets the American judicial system as a boy sets out to prove—to the U.S. Supreme Court—that homework is downright unconstitutional.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published April 3, 2018

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Steven B. Frank

4 books32 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 81 reviews
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,241 reviews296 followers
July 19, 2018
Translation widget on The blog!!!
O carte numai buna pentru vacanța de vară. O combinație interesantă între răzvrătire si educație. Umorul este ingredientul de baza. Este o carte frumoasa, cu o acțiune inedită și educa copilul în același timp.
Recenzia mea completă o găsiți aici:
Profile Image for Clara.
281 reviews2 followers
July 7, 2022
I loved this book. It was perfect. It felt like it was written specifically for me, or possibly as satire of me.

The premise of Class Action is epic and god-tier. Our adolescent protagonist, Sam, is not a fan of homework. I can relate to this, and you probably can, too. Although he is ordinarily an upstanding public school student, Sam eventually becomes fed up with homework (same) and exercises his first amendment rights by leading an impromptu anti-homework protest, for which he is suspended. He then learns from his neighbor (a retired lawyer) that he has a right to an education and cannot be suspended without a hearing pursuant to Goss v. Lopez. He starts advocating for himself and his constitutional rights and learns more about students' rights and the justice system.

This by itself would be a fantastic book. But it does not end there. Along with his friends (Alistair, Catalina, and Jaesung), the aforementioned neighbor (Mr. Kalman), his sister (Sadie), and his sister's boyfriend who exists for some reason (Sean), Sam decides to sue his school district on the grounds that homework is unconstitutional (something I have been saying for years!). He raises money for this lawsuit by selling school projects to students and then loses twice in federal court before bringing his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Class Action is like wish fulfillment fanfiction for a very specific type of person (anti-homework Supreme Court/constitutional law fans) and I love it. None of this would ever happen in real life. I don't care. I strongly suspect district courts and courts of appeals don't work like they do in this book. I don't care. I also don't think sixth graders talk like this, but I haven't been eleven for a while, so I can't say for sure.

While I was reading this book, my main question was whether the justices of the Supreme Court were going to be mentioned by name. They aren't, but the author uses fake names for all of the justices and it's very clear which justice is which because the characters spend a good ten pages discussing the justices' personalities and backgrounds (they plan to use this information to help them formulate an argument, which is not really how one argues a case in court, but okay). It's fun. It's like easter eggs. The author mentions that fake Elena Kagan ("Eleanor Cohen") petitioned the rabbi of her Orthodox synagogue to let her have a ritual bat mitzvah akin to a bar mitzvah, and as Elena Kagan's #1 fan, I appreciated that aside. Those ten pages were just delightful.

This book is wish fulfillment, and that's okay. There is, however, a limit to the amount of nonsense I will tolerate in a book, and the line was crossed by the way the Supreme Court oral argument occurred. It was just creative liberty after creative liberty. I was not entirely sure that the author of this book was familiar with how the Supreme Court works, but then I remembered that it is a children's book that is not required to be realistic. It's about a kid who argues in federal court that homework is unconstitutional. Still. The transcript of the oral argument is ridiculous. It does not sound like an argument before the Supreme Court at all. The justices do not sound like themselves. This is not a valid complaint of a middle grade book, but it annoyed me all the same.

At the end of the day, though, none of these complaints are really important because Class Action is fundamentally a book about knowing your rights as a student, which is super cool. I know an above average amount about students' rights, and I learned some interesting stuff. I wasn't familiar with Goss v. Lopez, but I am now! I actually have several Supreme Court cases to listen to now. I wouldn't recommend this book to the average student (the target audience is very specific), but I do think it's a pretty good way for someone who is vaguely interested in the subject to learn more.
Profile Image for Julie Suzanne.
1,901 reviews70 followers
October 13, 2022
Even though I disliked the book at the beginning because of the stock characters included, this book had me laughing and crying and hit all the right notes for me. Endearing (although probably totally unrealistic) characters use the legal system to make positive policy change for kids. Frank simplifies the whole experience from complaint to the Supreme Court for a juvenile audience, makes it fun, but doesn't hold back on the terminology and stuff you'd be impressed your kids would know in middle school (or ever). Even I liked learning about the judicial review process in this way that inspires hope, to see it work as intended with none of the real life bureaucracy that ruins it. PERFECT fit for Battle of the Books, Middle School, and I hope the kiddos like it as much as I did.
574 reviews30 followers
August 5, 2019
Okay, yes, it’s every child’s wish-fulfillment. But I feel fulfilled, damnit!
Profile Image for Alex  Baugh.
1,954 reviews108 followers
June 13, 2018
Math problems, dioramas, the despised California Missions project, and middle of the night anxiety over a forgotten bibliography leave sixth-grader Sam Warren tired, and with no time to just be a kid, to able able to play with friends Jaesang, Catalina, and Alistair, and to play more jazz piano, his real love. So when his teacher, Mr. Powell, begins handing out review packets for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress test, Sam decides to take a stand and refuses to do any more homework.

Sam's protest earns him a 3 day suspension. On his first day, he meets Mr. Kalman, an elderly retired curmudgeony lawyer, who, annoyed that Sam tried to be nice and rescue his newspaper from some gutter sledge, nevertheless informs Sam that without a hearing his suspension is illegal, and to look up Goss v. Lopez to learn why.

After explaining Goss v. Lopez to him, Sam finds a surprising ally in older sister Sadie, and they decide to take action against the school board. Though they ask, Mr. Kalman refuses and refuses and refuses, but eventually he agrees to represent Sam and sue the Board of Education.

Meeting in Mr. Kalman's house, Sadie gets her friend Sean to help, Sam brings along Jaesang, Catalina, and Alistair and they all bring their own particular talents and energy to the project. Though only in high school, Sadie, who is captain of the debate team, is a real help. She has some familiarity with the law and has already participated in many mock trials. Sean is the tech genius of the group, and Sam and his friends are the participants in the class action lawsuit.

Of course, their lawsuit cost money, even if Mr. Kalman is working Pro Bono and especially as they work their way up through the court system, going from a simple hearing to being heard by the Supreme Court. So, what better way to raise the money they need than to make homework work for them. They begin by collecting as many old, discarded dreaded California Missions projects as they can find and selling them to harried students and their more-than-willing-to-pay parents.

What's the decision of the Supreme Court on the case of Warren v. Board of Education? Does Sam et al prevail? Well, there's a nice twist at this point in the novel that would really amount to a major spoiler, and it has nothing to do with the court's decision. All I can say is read it and...

I have to admit I loved this novel. As preposterous as some of the action was, it was just so much fun to read, but not just fun. It was also a nice course in civics and how the law works. Best of all, nothing was dumbed down for the reader.

Sam, our first person narrator, is a believable, buoyant, persistent fleshed out character. Sadie was also well developed, and somewhat more serious than Sam. Sean, Jaesang, Catalina, and Alistair are not quite so full-bodied, but that does diminish their roles. Alistair in particular was a favorite of mine. Here was a kid who loved food and cooking, and who aspired to participate in Master Chef Junior, a reality show I actually got hooked on this past spring. Just reading his room service order in the Watergate Hotel was a pleasure.

Of course, the irony of the novel is the Sam and his friends are working harder than they would have on any school assignment, receiving an excellent education in jurisprudence, and the right to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances" as guaranteed under the First Amendment of our Constitution. The difference is that this is something that is really relevant to their lives, the California Missions project, not so much.

Class Action is a fun, exciting, sometimes nail-biting novel that most kids will thoroughly enjoy - and maybe some teachers will, too, especially when they see the back matter. This consists of a Glossary of Legal Terms and an Appendix of Supreme Court Cases Mentioned in Class Action.

One other thing made Class Action of real interest to me was a report on my local news about two boys who had petitioned their school district in Stony Point, NY to eliminate homework. They prevailed.

You can read about them HERE and HERE. I wonder if they've read Class Action.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL
Profile Image for Kade.
19 reviews6 followers
January 3, 2020
the book was about how they were trying to get rid of all homework
Profile Image for Caitie.
161 reviews3 followers
January 13, 2022
This book both made me laugh out loud and cry. Which is pretty impressive.
Profile Image for Vicki (The Wolf's Den).
433 reviews10 followers
February 11, 2022
A fun and thought provoking story. I personally don't remember much about my homework in school. I remember having it, but quantifying how much I had...I don't think it was as much as these kids have. Considering I had enough time for band and family and tv and books, I either didn't have much or got enough done in class to offset it. Granted, there was never enough time for sleep, and I doubt that will change any time soon.

Read my full review at The Wolf's Den

So I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who has any interest in homework, politics, or change in general. Especially now, it never hurts to show kids that they have power to change things for the better.
Profile Image for Chenming Song.
2 reviews
October 4, 2020
Sam is fed up with doing endless Homework until sleep. When he is kicked out of his school refusing to do his Homework, he asks a elderly Neighbour to file a Lawsuit to argue that Homework is Unconstitutional. There are a Pages of debate between Sam, his Sister Sadie, the Judges and Mr. Gulch Representing the school. The debate is Realistic and Exciting, and since Sadie is a excellent debater, the debate is very intense. This book is Recommended 10+ to fully understand the Legal Terms.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nhi ❤ Books.
434 reviews
September 12, 2020
This was really good! I learned a lot about the Supreme Court. I do receive homework. But it's never as bad as what Sam had described in this book. But my homework takes me up to an hour and that's it. Homework is what I do at home if I don't finish it in school. I really recommend this book to middle schoolers
Profile Image for Laura.
3,720 reviews95 followers
April 1, 2018
Completely implausible, but will give readers a decent idea about how class action lawsuits and the justice system work.

ARC provided by publisher.
Profile Image for Kathy Mathey.
543 reviews6 followers
January 26, 2019
More like a 4.5; various high-interest talking points infused with humor, tenderness, and critical thinking.
Profile Image for Susan.
500 reviews2 followers
January 12, 2019
Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.

This book really spoke to my heart! As a teacher and a librarian I am a firm believer in school and education, but I always struggled with the amount of homework that the kids in my school received, as well as my own children. I was always a firm believer that kids need down time after a long day at school, just as adults do. As a mom, I might not have been able to come home and lounge, but what I needed to do was very different than what I had been doing all day. I believe kids not only need to relax with a snack after school, but they need to have the opportunity to pursue their hobbies, whether that be music, sports, books or simply playing outside. However, with the amount of homework children are required to do each night and every weekend, that’s hard for them to do. Sam, the 11 year old sixth grader in Class Action yearns to be able to have the time to build a treehouse with his dad, play with his friends and pursue his love of jazz piano, but that’s impossible because of his long list of assignments in his assignment notebook, so he decides to fight back! He goes on strike against homework, which leads to a three day suspension. His older sister, debate captain and veteran of many mock trials, points out that his rights have been violated, which leads Sam to ask his crotchety retired attorney neighbor for help. And thus the class action suit begins.

I loved the friendship and support that Sam found with his buddies, as well as his older sister and her boyfriend, his neighbor and finally his parents. As all of them worked together to prepare their suit, they learned about problem solving, how to conduct research, constitutional law, the justice system, kids rights and most importantly the fact that kids CAN bring about change.

This heartwarming story was full of laugh out loud moments, as well as plenty of possible situations worthy of classroom discussions. It would be a great read aloud in grades 4 and up. I’d love to hear the ideas that would emerge and to read the persuasive writing pieces which might be created after a class hears about Sam and his buddies battle to save their childhood in Class Action. I highly recommend this be added to elementary school collections!
August 27, 2018
Class Action ...by Steven. B. Frank. A book that brought out the child in me ...even as the grown up me kept a cautious eye on the story line. Everyone amongst us, at least everyone who has been a child once, will root for the protagonist ..Sam Warren. A child completely exhausted by his homework schedule. A child longing to spend time with his big sister Sadie. A child longing to build a tree house with his dad. A child longing to play piano and just being a child. And one day, he revolts ...he refuses to write down his homework at school, which gets him suspended from school. And so begins his adventure. An event that leads him and his team mates; Chef Alistair, nuts about numbers Catalina, sports star Jeasang , a wannabe lawyer sister Sadie, tech whiz and also the sister's boyfriend Sean, all the way to the Supreme court. Their mission ....to sue the school board and declaring homework unconstitutional. The leader of the pack, other than Mr. Sam Warren himself, is his neighbor, retired lawyer and kind of retired from life itself, especially after his wife's death ...Mr.Kalman. During this journey, the group learns about unity, about team mates, about fighting for your rights till someone is willing to listen. They may not want to do homework, but it's not because they don't want to work. The group works hard and gets the attention of the whole nation. Whether they succeed in their journey and how they overcome their obstacles makes up the story of Class Action. Throughout the book, I found myself rooting both for the children who want homework to be banned as well as the adults who present the case for homework. My one issue with the book is that parents are not given as much of a voice in a matter of such importance. The principal of the school also doesn't appear to have a voice other than trying to scare Sam in to obedience. The arguments for and against homework are thoughtfully put in the book and will definitely force us adults to think harder on the subject. Life is not always about studies and grades and the lessons need not always be learnt through books and homework. This is the message that the book tries to spread and I believe that Mr. Frank has done a commendable job in bringing out the children's voice in his book.
Profile Image for Lizz Axnick.
600 reviews5 followers
March 16, 2018
I confess when I first started reading this book, I thought it might be stupid. I was pleasantly surprised to find it is anything but stupid. I quite enjoyed it.

The story is about a sixth grader named Sam who stands up against homework. Granted, I have not been in sixth grade since 1995 but if the homework load is even half as much as Sam describes, it is too much homework. I hardly ever had homework (aside from book reports and similar projects) when I was in elementary school and certainly not 4 hours worth every night! I especially liked that the author highlighted the Mission Projects, which is the bane of every California fourth grader's existence and a delight to the sugar cube companies (at least when I was in school). I got lucky and was given the option to visit a bunch of the Missions and write a report OR build a replica. I did the report, it was a lot of fun.

Anyway, Sam gets suspended for his efforts and decides to take action. With the help of his grumpy retired lawyer neighbor, Mr. Kalman, Sam's beyond brilliant sister Sadie (who was my favorite character) and Sam's circle of friends from school, they take their case all the way to the Supreme Court.

This book is very education in terms of the way the justice system works, learning about important historical cases decided by the Supreme Court, a prime example of civil disobedience and a throwback to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The plot is brilliantly woven together. I very much enjoyed this book and I think readers of all ages, especially those who suffer under the burden of far too much homework, will like this book. Definitely a five star read.
22 reviews
April 5, 2018
I was sent a copy of Class Action written by Steve B Frank from @kidlitexchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. How much homework is too much? Why does childhood get lost because there is so much homework and no time is leftover for kids to just play or hang out? Both of those questions are what San Warren begins with when one day he stands on his desk and refuses to do homework. Sam, a sixth grader at a highly competitive middle school, is suspended for his refusal to do homework. While suspended he talks to an elderly neighbor, a former lawyer, and learns his rights have been violated. Sam along with several students and his sister the queen of debate, decide to sue the school over too much homework. Their claim...doing too much homework takes away their free time. The author does include some very valid points here. Sam and his friends lose their first attempt but ultimately go all the way to the Supreme Court. The author introduces the reader to actual court cases and rulings regarding schools in this book. He also teaches the reader about Supreme Court judges, interesting perspectives from a lawyer too. Of course, Sam and his friends win but their road to success is what the story is about. Friendship, hard work, knowledge, and confidence. While this story made me, as a teacher, assume it would bash teachers it actually didn’t. The characters are completely believable and I found myself researching as I read to see if this were a true case. I recommend this book for grades 5 and up.
Profile Image for Ariel Hess.
166 reviews5 followers
March 19, 2018
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from HMH.

Overall, Class Action is a fantastic story of bravery, commitment, determination, and the power of believing in yourself. A group of kids works together to achieve something that no one has ever tried to reach before. This novel encourages youth to stand up for what they believe in and not to be afraid to challenge their rights to freedom. The author did an excellent job with this storyline. I felt transported into the fight for no homework with the students in this book. I also liked the factual information provided about education court cases presented in this book. It served as a fiction read while also providing some educational facts. I personally would have liked for more interaction between Sam and the principal of the school. I think that would have added more to the story. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a fictional read that follows the life of one student who started a movement.

You can view the full review on my blog at Librariel Book Reviews
Profile Image for Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*.
6,001 reviews186 followers
April 25, 2019
Class Action by Steven D. Frank, 253 pages. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. $17.

Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: G



Sam realizes with his large homework load he has very little time for anything else in his life. He dearly loves to play the piano, but no time. He tries unsuccessfully to stage a protest in his middle school classroom but gets expelled instead. While serving his time out of school he befriends his neighbor a retired lawyer. The lawyer, Sam’s sister, Sam and several friends take on the school establishment to have homework declared unconstitutional. It is an interesting romp through the legal system.

It feels a bit stereotypical, all teachers are demanding and unfair, administrators are sneaky and corrupt. While reading this I was trying to get several classes through research papers, I hate to judge, at a different time or maybe a different reader the dialogue would come across as clever and bright and the story educational and informative. For me it felt unconstitutional to have to deal with whining all day at work and then come home and read it.

Lisa Moeller, Teacher Librarian
Profile Image for Marty.
90 reviews1 follower
September 10, 2018
Sam Warren is a sixth grader who is fed up with homework. He has no time left in his day to play piano or build a tree fort with his Dad. Sadie, Sam’s sister who is a senior in high school, has an even greater mountain of homework every night...it's so much that she's up all night drinking pots of strong coffee to get through it all. It's time to take a stand. Fortunately for Sam, his cantankerous neighbor, Mr. Kalman, is a retired attorney. Sam and Sadie convince Mr. Kalman to help him bring a class action lawsuit against the Los Angeles Public School System.

This book would be a perfect read-aloud for a classroom that is focusing on opinion writing. The story teachers middle grade readers all about the workings of the Supreme Court and our Chief Justices. This story is a great way to show kids that activism can effect change. Give this book to any fifth grade reader-up who is interested in justice and the law. There is even a glossary of legal terms. Other books to recommend that are similar in subject matter and tone would include the Theodore Boone series by John Grisham; Frindle by Andrew Clements and Regarding the Fountain by Kate Klise.
Profile Image for Alexa Hamilton.
2,304 reviews16 followers
April 11, 2018
I really enjoyed this fantastical version of the world in which middle schooler Sam can sue the school district for too much homework. But wouldn't that be amazing? And wouldn't it be more amazing if he lost and had to go all the way up to the Supreme Court with the help of his sister and friends? Yeah, it would and there is something that is so fun about this premise. Plus, it also proves the point that kids and teens and people work harder when they believe in what they're doing. I really love the idea that there is a good chunk of legal stuff in here for kids, that I think they'll be really interested in. Pair that with the podcast More Perfect for a curious kid and we have a winner!
Profile Image for Paula.
807 reviews29 followers
December 31, 2019
For those who know me, they can appreciate why I might like this book. I am not a fan of homework. In this story 6th grader Sam Warren is fed up with the amount of homework he and his classmates have to deal with each evening. He feels like it is robbing him of his childhood. When he is suspended for protesting he decides to take his case to court. With the aid of his retired neighbor (who was a lawyer) his case makes its way to the highest court in the land. I believe in their cause so much!! Love that the arguments they make are based on case law and not just emotion. This was a fun read, even if it's only fiction, it may sway some opinions about the value of homework.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
447 reviews
January 30, 2020
Fed up with four hours of homework every night, seventh grader Sam is suspended when he refuses to comply with a teacher's instructions in class. He then enlists the retired civil rights lawyer across the street, his genius and very motivated senior class sister, and a tight group of fictionally smart friends to sue the school district to stop homework all together. Putting aside the ridiculous coincidence of a free lawyer living next door, this is kind of a fun story. I learned a lot about how the American justice system works, and the author manages somehow to avoid making it dull. A good choice for future lawyers!
Profile Image for Katie.
88 reviews4 followers
March 9, 2020
I love the ‘can do’ ‘true to yourself’ spirit of this book.

Author, Steven B. Frank, see’s kids for more than stereotypes. He recognizes in them their quirky, earnest, goofy, stubborn, loyal selves. As a result, many young readers will see something of themselves in this David vs. Goliath battle between Sam’s friends and the school board over HW.

Can’t wait to share this book with my middle grade readers. I wonder what injustices it will inspire them to take on? Whatever they choose...my money’s on the kids.
Profile Image for Jessica.
21 reviews
November 10, 2017
Good book with a compelling storyline. I was interested if this book would be different from the other "get rid of homework" books out there and its unique take is taking the issue of homework to the courts to decide. If readers pay attention, they can learn a lot about the law, both how it functions and past cases relating to children. I'm curious to get my son's take on the book, but I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
6 reviews
August 20, 2018
I'm an adult, and I should read this keeping in mind the importance of education, and how things that seemed hard years ago weren't that hard in hindsight. But that being said I, like the protagonist, spent many, many days in grade school doing homework from the moment I got home until I went to bed. So I found this book extremely satisfying.
Profile Image for Deirdre Lohrmann.
279 reviews2 followers
September 19, 2020
OMG this book was so great. Being an adult and a legal studies major, I fell in love with this children's book. It started out as a protest against homework that followed through how the court system works( albeit) smaller time frame but this would be great for teachers and parents to use for their kids when they are taking classes that cover the legal system.
5 reviews1 follower
Currently reading
March 19, 2021
The main chartacter in the book is named Sam. Sam always tries to bargin for everything to get more, this implies that he is a stobborn kid. When he got back from school one day he bargined with his mom to get 3 cookies instead of 1. He is a very stubborn kid and likes to get more than what hes buying.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
12 reviews1 follower
March 12, 2023
This was a page turner. I laughed and cry with it. I came across the book while looking for materials for developing a government unit. I was initially intrigued by the concept of making homework unconstitutional, and did not think that this would actually be a really entertaining book. I felt for the kids' argument.
Profile Image for Karina.
Author 10 books845 followers
December 20, 2017
What a wonderful book! I loved the humor and the creative ways the author exposed readers to legal terms and significant court cases. Great for fans of Richard Peck, Gary Schmidt, Andrew Clements, and Gordon Korman.
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