Title: The View From Saturday
Author: E.L. Konigsburg
Publication Date: 1996
Publisher: Antheneum Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 163
Awards: Newbery Medal
Genre/Subgenre: Realistic Fiction
Reader’s Annotation: Four unique sixth graders become a successful team and a group of true friends.
The Souls begin with an invitation to tea, hidden in code in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. What are The Souls? The Souls are Noah, Ethan, Julian, and Nadia, four sixth graders who become friends over a school year through attending tea parties hosted by Julian and his father and through competing in an Academic Bowl together. Throughout the novel it is revealed that The Souls are connected: Ethan’s grandmother is married to Nadia’s grandfather, and Noah was their best man. However, it is Julian’s invitation that brings them together as friends and their teacher Mrs. Olinski who recognizes their potential as an Academic Bowl team. Told in short story-like chapters, the novel tells the stories of The Souls and Mrs. Olinski – Noah’s assistance in a retirement community wedding, Nadia’s acceptance of her parent’s divorce and adventure saving baby turtles, Julian’s journey to the US after spending his life on a cruise ship with his chef father and singer mother, Mrs. Olinski’s journey back to teaching after a paralyzing injury, Ethan’s decision to be nice to the new kid on the bus – and how they became a team before they realized it themselves.
Evaluation: The View From Saturday is a unique and charming novel. Despite it’s relatively short length, the novel manages very well to feature five interesting and well-developed protagonists. Through the usage of short story-like chapters, Konigsburg deftly provides the perspectives and personalities of each of the four Souls and their teacher. The novel sensitively covers topics such as diversity, religion, and disability in ways that will be relatable and beneficial to young readers.
Why I Chose the Book: I chose to read The View From Saturday after reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler because I really enjoyed E.L. Konigsburg’s writing. I was also intrigued by the Academic Bowl element to the story – I competed in a similar competition myself in school and was interested in reading about it in a fictional work.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Holes by Louis Sachar
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Book Talk Ideas
Have students or patrons participate in a mock Academic Bowl using the list of questions in the back of the book (“Fifteen Questions with Thirty-Six Answers”).
1. Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian are four students with unique traits and talents. What makes them a good team, and what does each of them contribute?
2. Throughout the novel, Mrs. Olinski is asked how she chose her team and she gives a variety of answers. What do you think is the real answer? Did she pick the team or did the team pick her?
Konigsburg, E.L. (1996). The View from Saturday. New York, NY: Antheneum Books for Young Readers.
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg (2014). Goodreads. Retrieved from:
The View From Saturday (Newbery Medal Book) (2014). Amazon. Retrieved from: