Sunday, December 23, 2012

Program + review: beTWEEN the lines

Actually, I'm finding that I don't have that much to say about the program itself these days. I seem to have reached a point of pretty solid numbers, though the exact makeup of kids still tends to vary from month to month. We've yet to read a book that the kids didn't enjoy and most of our programs have been successful in terms of having interesting discussions (even if we sometimes tend to wander off-topic). We have gotten better at keeping on topic, and we're still working on getting everyone to speak up at each meeting. I admit, I've gotten a bit lazy about extension activities. When I first started the book club, I made sure that we had fifteen minutes or so at the end of every meeting for some sort of activity or craft that tied into the book but was something different than just a discussion. The last couple of meetings have been missing this element. It's not that I don't want to do this anymore - I just seem to be having more trouble coming up with an extension that fits each of our recent titles. Additionally, and especially in the case of our November meeting, the discussions have gotten longer and we wouldn't have had time for any activity even if I had planned one. And, as I mentioned in my last post, I've been giving the kids more ownership in the titles we read by presenting them with two choices that we vote on two months ahead of time - that has taken up the last ten minutes or so of our discussions lately in place of our extension activity. So, without much to say about the discussion itself (except I think this was the favorite title so far), here's my review of our November book.

11 Birthdays
By Wendy Mass
Published 2009 by Scholastic
Amanda and Leo celebrated their first 10 birthdays together - born on the same day and thrown together by fate - but something terrible happened at that tenth birthday party. So, for the first time in their lives, they are celebrating their birthdays without the other. It's a pretty terrible day, but Amanda makes it through - only to wake up and discover she's living it all over again. What's going on? Can Amanda figure out how to fix it and stop reliving her 11th birthday?

When the kids picked this for our book club and I told other staff, I was surprised by how many of them had read it (and, I should note, that the majority of the book club kids had already read it when they chose it). Sure, I'd heard of this book before, but I didn't really think of it as one of those titles that adults would pick up. Having finished it myself, I can see the appeal. This is a fun story with characters that are easy to enjoy and a great sense of mystery and suspense - how exactly are these kids going to remedy their unique situation? I liked the backstory of their families and how it related to their own story - just a touch of magic. I thought this was a fun and easy read and I'm really glad the kids picked it. I'm intrigued that there are two other companion books - I'm definitely going to check them out when I get a chance and figure out how they're connected.

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