It’s book club time again. This is the fourth year I’ve lead the book club and I’m excited about the upcoming year of books and discussion. With my kids getting older, I’ve upped the age of the book club and the length of books we read. Que trump…. introducing, “Mommy, Daddy and Tween Book Club.” We’ll still continue to meet and be sponsored by the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, Texas. Preteens also known as ‘tweens are the target age, eight to twelve years old (ish). Our first book is “Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia.
Gone Crazy in Alabama is the third book in a series about three sisters. It can stand alone and be read out of order for new readers. Mrs. Williams-Garcia gives just enough backstory from the previous books to help new readers appreciate the situations and decisions made by the Gaither sisters.
In the summer of 1969 the sisters visit Big Ma (their fathers mother) and her eighty-two-year-old mother, Ma Charles in Alabama. There’s sibling fighting and reconciling with the young Gaither sisters and an old family feud between the elder Ma Charles and her sister Mrs. Trotter from across the river.
I love the dynamics and the voice of 1969. It’s just a hair before my time, but I can identify with the characters and movements. The storytelling introduces my eight and eleven-year-old to the settings and backdrop of the American South in a way that I hadn’t been able to voice. The pride and love of the sisters and their family members and the contrast of interactions with American Blacks and Whites in an era just opening up to Civil Rights moves the conversation further when children read about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, President Kennedy, The Black Panthers, or the KKK.
The Carver Museum sent out the book selection a little over a month via flyers and their monthly newsletter. I share the flyer and pictures on my personal and Tangled Press business Facebook and Instagram pages. We start the year with me picking the first book and then subsequent months I present the tweens and parents with two choices of books. The ballots have the two books and a brief summary including page length and targeted age. I think I’ll also start including audio length. Busy schedules often dictate audiobooks in my house. Only the children’s vote determines our book for the following month. I keep a poker face when they’re voting, and sometimes I have fingers crossed behind my back for the book they chose.
I’m planning to play five minutes of the audio version at the beginning of this session. The narrator makes Gone Crazy in Alabama come to life. Between the cover illustration and the girls voices you’ll feel like a fourth sister or at least a cousin watching the action. Anyway, I’ll play a bit of the book for all to hear and then we’ll start discussing the story.
We only have an hour and fifteen minutes, so I have to make the most of it. There are times when not all have read the book or finished, but we make it work. We start with quick introductions and an ice breaker. I’m going to let the audio serve as the ice breaker this time and ask, “What do you visualize when you hear the voices of the Gaither sisters?”
Looked for an update on which discussion questions went over well and how they were answered.
I put together a Spring Break early reader list for the family book club I lead and thought I’d share with you all.
The book club is for kids first through fourth grade. This list may come in handy while your kids are home from school this break. I like to keep three or four books sprinkled in the backseat for my kids or uploaded to my Kindle.
7 Early Reader Spring Break Books
Fanny just sent me a couple of the color illustrations of upcoming Curlilocks book, Curlilocks and the Sleepy Giant. Super excited. I introduced a new character, Nelson. He’s Curlilocks best friend. I love the texture of Nelson’s hair :). Hoping to get this picture book out by Summer 2017.
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So although it’s a family book club, only the kids get to vote on the next months books. My lovelies voted between two sets of books.
The 2017 February Mommy, Daddy and Me book club books are…
Happy Reading. See you February 18th.
It’s the third year of Mommy, Daddy and Me book club. I’ve led the book club the first four months of the year since my daughter was in 1st grade. Now she’s a 3rd grader and I wondered about it being our swan song year with all of the other Saturday activities both she and my fifth grade son have on the books.
A talk with a good friend reminded me about the significance of book club to our community. The books chosen target grades 1-3 and we often get siblings around those grades K-5. I choose books that feature people of color as the protagonist (usually a child).
The first meeting the book(s) are chosen by me. Subsequent meetings the children vote from two books that I’ve researched. I count two picture books like one chapter book for the month. Our wonderful George Washington Carver Museum provides us the space, snacks and marketing on their site. Love!
This month we’re discussing
I’ll post discussion points after our January 28th meeting.
Update- We had a nice turn out for our January meeting with kids ranging from 5-12 years old. It takes some skill and family involvement to navigate that age range. Love how on involved the parents are and major shout out to my husband for asking more probing questions.
Book club flow
A few discussion points (some of the questions worked for either book):
This past December my illustrator created several images for me for the upcoming Story Bird Dance Journal. I’m in the middle of designing the lay-out. Readers of Story Bird Dance will be able to write their daily thoughts and complete how they were
There’s also a space for the next days goals.
I made the questions and layout with my 7 almost 8 year old in mind. Looking forward to seeing how she and other fans of Story Bird Dance use the journal.
I’m so in love with the cover of the newest book, Story Bird Dance and The Snowbird Ballet and the mini ballet. I wanted to incorporate black, grays and whites in the Snowbirds ballet costume. So often the main character is in all white.
I wanted drama and my illustrator delivered! She rocks!!! I sent her a picture of an actual bird because the colors inspired me along with a possible costume and she produced a work of art for the dancers.
The entire story is about the two of the dancers, Nia and Jada facing some fears around the performance. A back story includes a mini Modern Ballet story I wrote (as Ms. Kenya, the students dance teacher). My family has been a total trooper as I kept running ideas by them.
The ballet is about a Snowbird that flies from her snowy home and crosses a dessert to lay her diamond eggs once a year. She says goodbye to her friends the Arctic Hares (for some reason I leave out the first “c”) Polar Bears and the Forget Me Not Fairies. She has to pass the Lizard King and give him one of her diamond eggs. This year the Lizard King decides to imprison the Snowbird. I love it!
Ok… I’m so excited, just started writing a “winterish” story for the next Story Bird Dance book. I was heading in a different direction. Originally, I was going to do a party story, but another fabulous author, Marti Dumas (of the Jaden Toussaint series is putting together a winter writing bundle. Fingers crossed that I can get it done in time and illustrated. If not, it’ll be great when it comes out.
LOL, in addition, my house remodel deconstruction is finally underway. YES!!!! Meeting with the builder shortly for next steps (please stay on budget). Life is crazy, time is precious, family is love.
Putting together the final tweaks for ….the first book in Story Bird Dance series.
Something’s going on in that house… Sky, Jada and Nia love their dance studio and their instructor, Ms. Kenya. But when they learn that their studio is being moved to an empty old house, their excitement turns to dread. While exploring the house’s second floor, they encounter a ghost! They have to get rid of the ghost before the other students find out it exist. Who’d want to dance in a haunted studio?