Sunday, June 23, 2013

Program + review: beTWEEN the lines

Our final meeting of book club for the school year had me nervous. Every copy of the book had been given out (that means 10 of them), plus the two copies we had in the collection were checked out. So were 12 kids going to show up? I mean, that would be fantastic! Of course, I don't really have to tell you that they didn't all show; however, I did have a few kids in addition to my usual, including the sister of one of my regulars who just celebrated her 9th birthday and is now officially old enough to join the club.

This was actually one of our better discussions in terms of staying on topic - we did manage to discuss One Direction, but I promise it was relevant! How was it relevant? Well, apparently one of the boys is named Liam, just like the main character in our book, and that was how one of our readers figured out that the book was British (because in her mind, Liam = British name). What was our book for May?

By Frank Cottrell Boyce
Published 2008 by Macmillan UK

Liam is a bit tall for his age - well, that's an understatement. Liam is so tall and mature-looking that he begins to be mistaken for an adult. This leads to some fun pranks - like pretending to be a new teacher on the first day of school and nearly inciting a riot. But when Liam hears of an opportunity to travel to space, he can't believe his good fortune. All he'll have to do is convince a group of kids that he's the best dad ever. Easy, right?

I guess I never realized just how well-received Boyce's books are; nearly everything he's published has won some kind of an award. This was my first exposure to him, and I have to say I quite enjoyed it. It was fun and funny, but also provided a lot of fodder for discussion. We talked about what it means to be a kid and what it means to be a parent. We talked about how most children long to be older - the book club kids were no exception (13 was the nearly unanimous choice for ideal age). We talked about video games and whether we thought they were valuable or useless (a really insightful discussion actually). I really liked that this book kept me entertained but also gave me deeper questions to think about. Truly excellent, I think, and I will definitely try to read some of Boyce's other titles.

At the end of book club, I reminded the kids that we were going to be trying something different for summer. I presented them with our June genre: mysteries. I had some ARCS and withdrawn books that they could choose from if they wanted (which, of course, they all did), as well as a book list and a display I created. I'm definitely interested to see if any new kids show up with the new format, as well as how the discussion will go. Has anyone run a genre book club with kids before? What sort of questions did you ask when not everyone had read the same book?

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