Sunday, September 16, 2012

Program + Review: beTWEEN the lines

Well, it's that time again. September has arrived and, with it, programming is back in gear. My first program for the new school year was my book club for tween readers, beTWEEN the lines. This book club - sigh. You guys, I want so badly for this to be successful but so far, not really hitting it out of the park or anything. Part of the problem is that I probably don't do enough advertising/promotion for the club. I know I should be going to schools and booktalking and telling kids about the club. However, only one of our librarians ever does outreach and she only goes to a couple of schools, and mostly only visits the younger classes at those schools. So, it doesn't really seem like we have a fab relationship with the schools in the area. I'm sure I could ask and my supervisor would probably let me go, but I also don't live in the area and have never done outreach before, so I don't really know where to start. And, even if I did go, would I even get more kids to come? Right now, the only regular attendee I have (as in, she's the only one who has come to every meeting) is a homeschooler. So, would I even be reaching the right audience? My boss and I have talked some about programming aimed specifically at homeschoolers, but that's not what I want either. So, how do I get the word out about my beloved book club? The thing is, I really like doing it and the kids who do show up always seem to enjoy themselves. I'm not looking for huge numbers, but a consistent group of 5-10 kids would be nice. Does anyone have any tips for me? I'd be happy to hear them!

Anyway, our first meeting after taking the summer off was almost a bust. Only two girls showed up and both arrived 10 minutes late, so for a little while, I thought I was going to have a big fat zero. But, they came and we discussed this month's pick. In honor of Roald Dahl month, I had chosen Matilda. The girls both loved the book and were delighted to discover there was a movie version (side note: it made me feel very old when I realized that they had never heard of the movie). We had a good discussion about who the real villain was in the book and what we would do with Matilda's powers. I provided a bag full of Wonka candy (different book, I know, but same author) as well as apples and bottled water. We also did a short activity where we discovered how many words could be made out of the phrase "Matilda loves reading." At the very end of our meeting, I introduced our next book and then provided two options for November's title for them to vote on. Since there were only two of them, it wasn't much of a vote, but they agreed easily on which title to read. And that was it until October! Here's my short review of our September pick!

By Roald Dahl
Published 2007 by Puffin (originally published 1988)

Some parents believe their children are amazing, astounding, and brilliant, even when presented with evidence to the contrary. The Wormwoods are not those types of parents. You see, the Wormwoods believe that their child is useless, annoying, and stupid. Matilda - their youngest child - is anything but these things. Will Matilda find a way to prove her genius, even when faced with the additional bullying of Mrs. Trunchbull?

Of course I've read Matilda before now - I think I read every Roald Dahl book by the time I reached sixth grade. But I thoroughly enjoyed picking this one up for a re-read. I don't often actually get the chance to re-read books, despite my best intentions of doing just that. It's been a long time since I read a Roald Dahl (well, a couple years since I listened to James and the Giant Peach). Re-reading this book reminded me of why I loved it so much in the first place. Dahl just gets kids. This book is brimming with everything that kids will love - ridiculous humor, a plucky heroine, some really terrible bad guys, and a little magic. I had forgotten so much about this book that it was delightful to rediscover it now. Matilda's first place of escape from her horrible parents is the library - how did I not remember this? I laughed out loud a number of times and this book made me want to pick up all of Dahl's books again. They are just simply a joy.

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