The View From Saturday

by E. L. Konigsburg

Hardcover, 1996



Local notes

Fic Kon





Atheneum Books for Young Readers (1996), Edition: 1st ed, 163 pages


Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

163 p.; 5.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member riofriotex
I have mixed feelings about this book. Personally, I loved it, I could really relate to it, and I thought it was very well written. Conversely, this is one of those Newbery winners that probably appeals to adults more than children.

This book received the Newbery in 1997, the year my son started
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sixth grade. He was in an advanced program and on the math team. I was a bit of a nerd myself at that age (Who am I kidding? I’m STILL a nerd), winning the science fair and the spelling bee. I could SO relate to the Academic Bowl team in this story (from page 148, “Here were four kids who could speak in complete sentences without a single you-know as filler”). I think my son and his classmates could have as well.

Nevertheless, even though its reading level is grade 4-5, the structure of the book will be daunting for many even-older readers, because it’s not linear and it is not plot-driven. E. L. (Elaine Lobl) Konigsburg ties together the first-person narratives of the four sixth-grade Academic Bowl team members (who call themselves "The Souls"), Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian (who are interconnected in other ways), with the third-person limited story of their coach and teacher, the wheelchair-bound widow Mrs. Olinski, and an overall third-person omniscient tale of the team’s progress in Academic Bowl competition.
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LibraryThing member katrinafroelich
At the center of each of the characters and conflicts in this book is the idea that kindness and compassion are the greatest strength of the soul. Each character is tested and discovers that kindness; compassion and empathy lead to friendship and greater self-awareness and knowledge. They also
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discover that there is greater strength in a team that can cooperatively collaborate and combine their gifts. This is evidenced by their unprecedented success in the state academic bowl.

This was a delight to read. Not only was it captivating and imaginative, but forced me to really think and stretch my mind to keep up. The writing style and diverse characters reminded me of the plays of Caryl Churchill. Each character was quite unique and human – with great strength and realistic flaws and struggles. There was a significant depth of meaning, and thematic focus on kindness and compassion which caused me to reflect while reading – on my own capacity for kindness and authentic connection with others. It also reminded me of how important it is to ‘have tea’ – to sit with those you care about and take a break from the action to listen, connect, and reflect with each other.
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LibraryThing member saresmoore
What a lovely book. Not sentimental, overwrought, or oversimplified, like much of middle grade children's literature. E. L. Konigsburg's writing is sharp and the story is told with the care and cleverness it deserves. I appreciated her treatment of the unique group of pre-pubescent characters
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through deft perspective shifts and each with his or her own story of personal growth. What I liked most is that she doesn't assume her audience is incapable of rising to the complexity of the narrative and relationships. This isn't dumbed down for children, but instead perhaps, simplified for adults.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
The 1997 Newberry Medal was rightfully bestowed to Konigsburg. While her first award in 1968 for The Mixed Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler was also laudable, her second masterpiece is by far the greatest.

As I turned each page, this highly crafted, wonderfully delightful tale solicited a wide
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spectrum of emotions, from tears to laughter and from sorrow to joy. Filled with insightful analogies and magical symbolism, Konigsburg fit all the fragmented pieces together while weaving past and present tense in a style that was easy to follow.

Intuitively, sixth grade teacher Mrs. Olinsky choose a team of four to compete for the Academic Bowl contest. Each member brought separate skills and knowledge as together they rivaled even the toughest eighth grade team.

The beauty of the story was not only in the winning, but truly in the magic of the journey as along the way each member, including their paraplegic mentor Mrs. Olinsky, learned the wisdom of kindness, of sharing, of caring and of the acceptance of things unseen and felt by the human heart.

It is every writers dream to craft a heartwarming, deeply profound book such as this.

Highly recommend!
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LibraryThing member 4sarad
I thought this was a great book and I really enjoyed it.... BUT I feel like it's written towards a very specific middle school audience. It is not only about a school academic team and their competition, but it is written towards that kind of intelligent thoughtful student. Anyone not fitting this
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description will probably be extremely bored by the book.
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LibraryThing member jolee
My friend, Cristy, said that this is the one of the sweetest books she's ever read, and I think she's right. I've read it twice.
LibraryThing member LeHack
The teacher selects students for a school contest. The story gives the background of each selected student, how each life is intertwined with another, and why they were selected for the contest.
LibraryThing member Omrythea
Awfully confusing read... so many characters and so many different points of view. Still, it is a good and interesting read, but the complexity only makes it a good choice for very high readers.
LibraryThing member fiveforsilver
Though this book was shelved in Juvenile lit, it was a well-written and enthralling story even to me. It is the story of how four middle school kids meet, in and out of school, and realize that they are connected to each other, through their parents, their grandparents, etc. and become extremely
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close friends. It switches perspective, which I don't usually like, but it is absolutely appropriate to the story and works beautifully.
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LibraryThing member BridgetteHarmon
E.L. Konigsburg did a beautiful job of weaving together the stories of four individual children into one cohesive whole. Her characters are very believable and engaging, growing and emerging as the story progresses.

Although each chapter in this book is almost a story in itself, the mystery of why
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these four sixth graders came together and what thy have to do with Mrs. Olinski and the Academic Bowl pulls the reader along through the book. The View from Saturday is a wonderful example of character development and unique literary style.
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LibraryThing member SunnySD
Charming, engaging, and warm. I finished this book in one sitting, caught by Konigsburg's deft hand with detail and characterization. The story weaves together the disparate lives of four children, their families, and their 6th grade teacher. Friendship and genuine, unselfish giving are key
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I suspect this book may appeal more to adult readers than to younger ones, however. Too bad....
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LibraryThing member r13
“A View from Saturday” tells the story of each of the four children who make up a college bowl team. Each child has had turmoil or sadness in his/her life and has taken a journey of discovery to learn to handle the turmoil.
“A View from Saturday” is a wonderful book choice not only for a
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study of similes and metaphors or for the use of vivid description, but also for humor. E.L. Konigsburg takes weaknesses and turns them into strength in a celebration of the resilience of youth.
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LibraryThing member helgagrace
The book focuses on four sixth-grade members of an Academic Bowl team, Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian, and their paraplegic teacher, Mrs. Olinski. The narrative alternates between the children's first-person perspective (of past events) and that of Mrs. Olinski (in the present day, at the state
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finals). Utilizing a format similar to Q & A (the book that formed the basis of Slumdog Millionaire), in which questions at the competition lead to stories about each child's experiences, Konigsburg crafts a humorous and heartfelt tale. As the narrative threads circle around and twine with each other, we get a better and better picture of the group and how they became "The Souls," the adults with whom they interact, and the small New York town, Epiphany, that they call home. Unlike many of the books I've read recently, almost all of the characters are sympathetic (aside from some delightfully skewered school officials), even the ones who aren't as endearing when we first meet them. A delightful treat.
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LibraryThing member katitefft
This book is a wonderful example of realistic fiction because it tells the story of how four sixth graders came to be the members of a winning academic team and the best of friends. These four sixth graders’ lives are all connected in a way that brings them together and gives them shared
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experiences. They also have a common sixth grade teacher who ends up learning a lot from the connection between her students. Readers will enjoy the humor of these students and be able to relate to their realistic sixth grade experience.
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LibraryThing member rhenley06
This is a good example of realistic fiction because each of the main characters comes from a diverse background. Also, they take a while to learn to trust each other before becoming "the souls" and even then may not associate with each other outside their meetings. Mrs. Olinski also chooses her
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team very carefully and focuses on the dynamics of the group.
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LibraryThing member SHARONTHEIL
This is about four less-than-straight-A students who come together with their teacher, a paraplegic, to win the Academic Bowl. This story deals with issues of race, societal expectations, societal roles, and handicapped people by not dealing with these issues as issues. Rather, the author simply
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allows these multi-cultural, less than perfect students and their paraplegic teacher to tell their own stories. While the story is about winning a competition, it really is about the fact that every one of these less-than-perfect kids and their less-than-perfect teacher is a winner, especially when they work together.
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LibraryThing member ThorneStaff
This is a book I re-read regularly, because the story is fantastic, the characters are well rounded, and E.L. Konigsburg really has a way with words.

The book begins at nearly the end of the chronological order of events, then tracks back and forth to fill in the picture. Each major character is
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given ample development, because each is given his or her own chapter that intersects with another characters, demonstrating their connection to the others.

The oversimplified plot goes something like this: four kids are involved in an academic quiz bowl competition in the ultimate battle: sixth graders vs. eighth graders. How this particular team comes together is really the crux of the matter. All the questions and answers used in the quiz bowl are included in the book, so be careful: you might just learn something!
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LibraryThing member kaionvin
I think this is the hardest book to explain that I've ever read, and especially hard to explain why I love it.

I can't say it's a book about a sixth-grade quiz team lead by their teacher to win the regionals, because it's not- that's practically incidental.

I think what is... magical about this book
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for me is... the ordinary, true, and sublime. Konisburg lets you walk hand-in-hand with each of the protagonists on their individual journeys, seeing them as they see themselves and seeing them how others see them- and recognizing pieces of yourself in each portrait, in every angle. It's about little things- little petty jealousies and secret desires and tiny compassionate acts. She really captues the tiny defining moments of living, of making choices- the feelings of being alive and just struggling, just staying afloat, just trying.

Konisburg doesn't tell you what the novel is *about*- at least not until a vague statement at the end- for the benefit of Mrs. Olinski, the teacher that leads the quiz team. It is this framing story that loosely ties together the narratives of the individual team members that is the weakest storyline. Perhaps it's because Mrs. Olinski lacks this 'in-the-moment' living, this strange insight.

Each time I read this story, I bring a different mix of memories and experiences and preconceptions about myself into it, and each time it makes it a new read.
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LibraryThing member debnance
This book kinda sorta was about a team of young middle school kids who work together and go to the Academic Bowl. If this was a linear world, and this book was a documentary, that’s what you’d say this book was about. Instead, Konigsburg tells a circuitous story, of four misfits and their
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misfit teacher, who develop a friendship amid a hostile world. In the process, they not only create their own, kinder world, but they gentle the world around them.
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LibraryThing member kb143317
Noah Gershom is extremely bright and loves to tell a good story. Nadia Diamondstein is coping with her parents’ divorce. Ethan Potter is a very quiet individual that is always being compared to his perfect older brother Lucas. Julian Singh is the new kid in town. These four unique characters
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become friends. Every Saturday at four o’clock they have tea at Julian’s father’s inn and name themselves The Souls. Their sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Olinski, is not sure why but feels that these four students would be the best to represent her homeroom class in the Academic Bowl contest at Epiphany Middle School.

I thought it was creative how the author set up the story line. The author would have the commission read the question at the Academic Bowl then whoever buzzed in to answer, would lead the reader to the next chapter and with a personal story of that character the author explain their answer to the question.
Extension Ideas

1. Do a unit on parts of the human eye and how they work.
2. Have an Academic Spelling Bowl with their spelling words for that week.
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LibraryThing member pjacx
One of my very favorite books. Explores the unexpected connections between us and the ways in which we can use them to make the world better. Highly recommended.
LibraryThing member brittgeorge
The View From Saturday is a contemporary realistic fiction novel. It is a book about the friendship of four different sixth graders brought together through different events and a cup of tea at Sillington House. Teatime is always at 4:00 pm on Saturday afternoons, and it is the place The Souls
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become one.
Meet The Souls: Noah was the unplanned best man at Nadia’s grandfather and Ethan’s grandmother’s wedding. Nadia is the girl with red hair, that creates a halo in the sunshine, and has a dog, Ginger, who is a genius. Ethan is the quiet one who likes halos. Last but not least, Julian is the final ingredient that makes up The Souls. He is the unusual new kid that no one seems to understand, and brought the foursome all together through a cup of afternoon tea.
The Souls go on a journey together to become the first sixth grade team to make it to the Academic Bowl, where they are competing against eighth graders, and the odds are against them. Mrs. Olinski, the homeroom teacher, chooses the team and the question remains, why these particular four sixth graders? Mrs. Olinski can give several good answers, but is even unsure herself why she chose this unlikely foursome.
E.L. Konigsburg takes the reader on a journey with her unique writing style. The book is split up into chapters. The numbered chapters are clips of the Academic Bowl, and the titled chapters tell a story of each of The Souls, and how they came to know the answer to the questions presented at the Academic Bowl. There is one final question Mrs. Olinski and The Souls argue about; which came first, the chicken or the egg?
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LibraryThing member kkcrossley
This is the story of 4 odd but brilliant 12 year olds who form the academic bowl team. They have tea every Saturday morning and learn the true meaning of friendship.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
The Souls are four friends who are picked to represent Mrs. Olinsky's class in the quiz tournament. Each of The Souls has a story and the book is made up of vignettes from each of their points of view. The book was kind of about everything and nothing all at once. Very Newbery-ish. I enjoyed the
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multiple narrators of the audiobook.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
What a lovely story! When a friendship comes together like the one written about in Ms. Konigsburg's novel, it is a magical thing. I liked seeing how each of the main characters is faced with a decision and ultimately chooses for kindness - and how that choice changes everything for each one of
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them. I also like that the children in this story are portrayed with respect - not with condescension. They are young, but they are perceptive, and they take responsibility to making things better.
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