Are you in a book club? What kind of book club? Do you discuss books for grown-ups or books for kids?
Most of the books I read are middle grade or YA. But it took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t the only grown-up (am I really a grown-up?) who read kids’ books…thus maybe a book discussion group for grown-ups who want to discuss kids’ books wasn’t a terrible idea.
My first book club was made up entirely of people who were also writing kids’ books. We alternated between middle grade and YA, and we discussed the books from a writer’s point of view. How did the author develop this character? How did he evoke a sense of place? What do you think of the structure? The plot? Why did an editor say yes to this? Would it have been published 10, 20, 30 years ago? Why did it win X award? Why was it passed up for Y award? What does this author do really, really well? What could she improve upon? This was a great group, but alas I moved away so I’m no longer in it.
I am in another book club, though. This one is mostly a middle grade book discussion group and it’s made up of authors, librarians, teachers and booksellers. People who are passionate about middle grade, but coming at it from a variety of professions.
- We meet once a month…at someone’s house.
- If it’s your house, your responsibilities are to:
- Choose the book
- Send out a reminder to the group that includes your address and directions, if necessary
- Lead the discussion and provide some additional information on the book, which could include notes from an interview with the author, reviews, anything that enriches our experience of having read the book and adds to the conversation
- Provide beverages
- Everyone else will:
- Let the host/hostess know if they’re coming
- Bring treats
It’s all very low key and easy. We also leave a little time for socializing and everyone gets a chance to share what other books they’re currently reading. It’s a great way connect with other kids book people and stay current on what’s being published.
If you’re interested in being part of a kids’ book discussion group, check out Forever Young Adult, which is an international YA book discussion group that hosts club meetings in many cities. Each club, no matter where it’s located, reads and discusses the same YA novel each month. If you know of other national or International kids’ book clubs for grown-ups that are open to anyone, please let us know!
You might also consider starting your own club. Reach out to other authors, teachers, librarians and booksellers. You might be surprised how many people in your community also read kids’ books.
Dori Hillestad Butler is the author of the Haunted Library series, the Buddy Files series and many other books. For more information visit her website or look for her on Facebook or Twitter.