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The View from Saturday

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago



E.L. Konigsburg (the E.L. stands for Elaine Lobl) was born in New York City 1930.  A chemist by training, she started writing after her youngest child started school.  The View from Saturday won the 1997 Newbery Medal (the top award for children's books in the US).  It was the second time she'd won it -- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal twenty-nine years earlier, in 1968.  Her other books for children include:


  • Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, WilliamMcKinley, and Me, Elizabeth (1967) -- a Newbery Honor book
  • George (1970)
  • A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver (1973) -- a story about Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • The Second Mrs. Giaconda (1975) -- a story about Leonard da Vinci
  • The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place



Possible discussion points about The View from Saturday:


  • What do you think about the format of the book, especially the first-person narrative parts?
    • "Noah writes a B&B letter"
    • "Nadia tells of turtle love"
    • "Ethan explains the B and B Inn"
    • "Julian narrates when Ginger played Annie's Sandy"

  • What are all the interconnected relationships between the characters?  Noah & Ethan & Nadia; Mrs. Olinksi & Ethan's grandmother; Nadia's mother & Noah's father; etc.  What are the different cultures represented?  (Protestant, Jewish, British, Indian)

  • How are Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian each heroes?  Who are the winners in this book?  Are they all underdogs in some way?  (the 4 Souls, Mrs. Olinski, the sixth grade, Epiphany as a town etc.)

  • Secrets and silences feature in this book.  What are some of the incidents where people kept quiet?  When is less more?  What was the role of magic in the book?

  • What are some of the acts of kindness and gifts given in this book?  What acts of malice are there?

  • Choosing and making decisions is very important.  What moments of decision were there in the book for each of the main characters?  (Noah, Nadia, Ethan, Julian, Mrs. Olinkski)

  • At the end of the book Mrs. Olinski and Julian's father talk about the journeys of each of the Souls.  Why do some people need "a lift between switches", as Nadia put it?  What switches are the characters undergoing in their different journeys?



posh = Port Out, Starboard Home

tip = To Insure Promptness

laser = Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation

scuba = Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

ASAP = As Soon As Possible

RSVP = Repondez Si'il Vous Plait (French for "respond please")

PS = PostScript (something you write after the end of a letter)



Student Links:




Teacher Links:


Literature Learning Ladders: The View from Saturday

Multinomah County Library: Talk it up!: Discussion guide

California Teacher CyberGuide to "The View from Saturday"

Planet Book Club Lesson Plan: "The View from Saturday"

Planet Book Club: Additional Online Resources

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