Hello from the West Branch, where we have a thriving Kids Book Club!
Each month, a group of amazing kids meets to discuss books. We loved meeting in person pre-pandemic, and we incorporated physical activity, arts and crafts, and STEAM activities into our meetings. For example, we discussed the “I Survived” books through the concept of Novel Engineering: each child read an “I Survived” book of their choosing, then built something that would have helped the main character in their book (for example, rafts, catapults, swords, and food bags). Physical activities are also fun. When we read My Year in the Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver, which features a main character who runs track, we did timed sprints up and down the hall of the library.
Now, we meet on Zoom. Our group includes interesting, fun, entertaining kids from across the city who attend different schools and all love reading. Some months we read a specific book, some months are “Reader’s Choice” and we discuss what we’re reading, what we like, and what we don’t like. In August, we talked about the concept of a reading wheelhouse -- what will always get you to pick up a book? This is different for each person, but adventure, mystery and graphic novels were strong themes.
Last month, we discussed Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, which is about a boy who volunteers to safely deliver dragons to another realm. We watched a video featuring the author, who talked about why it was important for her to write a fantasy book featuring a Black protagonist. We talked about the concept of Windows and Mirrors, which suggests that children should have access to books that are windows (books that help you learn about experiences/cultures/events that you have not personally experienced) and mirrors (books reflecting your own culture/experiences). We also had a serious comparative literature discussion around the concept of keeping dragons in a bag -- and the similarity between the bag in this book, Mary Poppins’ bag, and Herminoe’s bag in Harry Potter. These kids are amazing!
Our October selection is Stargazing by Jen Wang, and we meet on October 26 on Zoom. Copies of the book are available for pickup at the West Branch; email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Thanks, kids, for making Book Club so awesome! - Alison