The Kids' Book Club Book - Reading Ideas, Recipes, Activities, and Smart Tips for Organizing Terrific Kids' Book Clubs

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Book Recommendations

When it comes to selecting books, there's nothing better than a recommendation from a book club.  We’re pleased to share the terrific book recommendations we’ve received from youth book clubs. Please check back frequently, as we continually add new suggestions. And take a moment to recommend a book or email us about the fun book-related activities and foods your group has enjoyed.

Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter, Book Beat to get the latest book recommendations from book clubs.

2009 Recommendations    2008 Recommendations    2007 Recommendations   

Younger Readers
(Gr. 1-4)

Middle Grade Readers
(Gr. 4-7)

Younger Teen Readers
(Gr. 6-7 and up)

Teen Readers
(Gr. 9 and up)

The Brand New Kid by Katherine Couric Abel's Island by William Steig The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White The BFG by Roald Dahl A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials by Ann Rinaldi Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park Blubber by Judy Blume By These Ten Bones by Clare Dunkle Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah The Twilight Saga Series by Stephenie Meyer
A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements Darby by Jonathan Scott Fuqua Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie  
  Diamond Willow by Helen Frost The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  
  The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman and Victoria Jamieson Hush by Jacqueline Woodson  
  The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer  
  How to Be the Best at Everything (the Girl's Book) by Juliana Foster The Pearl by John Steinbeck  
  Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham  
  No Talking by Andrew Clements So B. It by Sarah Weeks  
  Nory Ryan's Song by Patricia Reilly Giff    
  The Ravenmaster's Secret by Elvira Woodruff    
  Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings    
  Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach    
  Steal Away Home by Lois Ruby    
  The Wanderer by Sharon Creech    
  When Heaven Fell by Carolyn Marsden    
  White Lilacs by Carolyn Meyer    

Spring, 2009

Ravenous Readers of Bordentown Regional High School, New Jersey, recommend:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2007), Fiction, 240 pages
“Junior is a lonely, sad Indian kid living on the Spokane 'rez'.   He can't change his poverty or his parents' drunkenness and depression, but he can change himself and rise above the limitations of the rez.  He leaves for Reardon, a rather small and somewhat claustrophobic town 22 miles away - seeking adventure, new friends, acceptance, and ultimately a new direction.

”This book was all powerful. Throughout the book, there are obstacles and hardships Junior faces, yet the author portrays them with warmth and laughter and hope through his cartoons.  Topics our group discussed include discrimination, self-esteem, drugs, loyalty, poverty, and the importance of education.  The students overwhelmingly loved this book.  The drawings are a sure hook for the reluctant reader, especially boys.  The boy who can't sit still will love the fast pace, the pictures and the occasional humor this book has to offer.” 

DCF Book Club (Grades 5-8) of Orwell Village School in Orwell, Vermont, recommends:

No Talking by Andrew Clements (Atheneum, 2009), Fiction, 160 pages
“Through this book, our two fifth-grade classes explored the many facets of communication, including facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, written language, and verbal language conservation.  They discovered through their own trial how dependent we become on verbal language once we have learned to speak. After creating their own loose rules for a ‘boys versus girls’ no talking trial, they really came to appreciate the concept of language. Two teachers agreed to the game. The whole book has prompted many discussions including how the adult characters expected language to be used, and which adults attempted to be flexible versus how the children in the book were successful.”

Todd Girls' Book Club (Grades 6-8) at Orville A. Todd Middle School in Poughkeepsie, NY, recommends:

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah (Laurel Leaf, 2001), Memoir, 224 pages
“This book was super interesting to the kids because many could relate to feeling isolated, different, not accepted, wanting love, and wanting to feel important or relevant. We discussed how differences can mask our similarities and separate us.  It was wonderful to take a book and extrapolate truths about our larger world and the impact it has on us and our self-esteem.”

Paired with: Dim Sum and a fruit called Dragon's Eyes, which was mentioned in the book.

The R.E.A.D. Up (Read, Enjoy and Discuss Up) (Grade 6) Book Club of the Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Charles County, Maryland, recommends:

Hush by Jacquelyn Woodson (Puffin, 2006), Fiction, 192 pages
“The students could relate to the book’s compelling theme of seeking identity because middle school years are all about finding a niche or identity. One student commented that ‘no matter what the outcomes sometimes you have to make tough choices.’  Another liked the book because she could relate to the necessity of moving and making new friends.  Evie's character is very powerful in the novel; we discussed her character with special reference to choices she made and their impact. Discussion also focused on the criminal justice system and its impact on minorities.”


ABC (Avilla Middle School) Book Club (Grades 4-6) of Avilla, Indiana, recommends:

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (Scholastic, 2004), Fiction, 272 pages
“Our school book club was exhausted but intrigued by all the twists and turns this story has to offer.  If you enjoy the need to constantly be thinking ‘who done it?’ then this book is for you.  As we read, we further explored the ideas presented in the story: pentominoes, Vermeer (the artist), and Charles Fort.  We also discussed the connection between Hyde Park and President Barack Obama.  Our recommendation is to read this book with people who can agree to disagree.”

The Book Club (Grade 4) of Needham, Massachusetts, recommends:

Blubber by Judy Blume (Yearling, 1986), Fiction, 160 pages
“All the moms agreed that our discussion of Blubber was the best discussion we’ve ever had. 

“The girls in our group couldn’t believe how mean the girls in the story were, and felt that this situation would never happen at their elementary school.  They liked the voice of the main character, Jill. The moms discussed how different teacher and parent interactions are between 1970, when they were growing up, and present day.  We discussed what constitutes bullying through such questions as: Imagine you’re all standing in the playground after lunch and someone comments that another girl’s boots don’t have the same label as everyone else’s, so they aren’t the real thing. Is that bullying? What if you’re playing foursquare and a girl or a group of girls walks through your game?

“We then discussed why people bully, and the consequences of bullying: how it makes the bullier feel, how it makes the victim feel, and also how other people observing the situation might feel.

“Many moms had read Blubber as girls, and they enjoyed comparing the experience of reading the book then and now, as parents.  This book was an opportunity to discuss one’s behavior as an individual versus that as a member of a group.  For our book club, this discussion will be the cornerstone of building a sense of trust and learning through literature.”

 

Winter, 2008

Mother-Daughter Book group (Grade 7) of West Mt. Airy, Pennsylvania, recommends:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, 2008), Fiction, 384 pages

“Think American Idol and Survivor meet George Orwell.  The United States has collapsed and the repressive, television
-driven, Panem government requires each of its twelve districts to send two teens per year to compete in the Hunger Games. The winners earn status and stuff for their families and district, including ample food.  In the nationally televised fight to the death, Catnips, a scrappy black-market hunter, volunteers in order to spare her twelve-year-old sister. There's a teen love triangle, some interesting cultural observations, and plenty of action and violence.  Our seventh graders loved it and didn't find it too gory. The moms agreed it was a good read, but were a little less rapturous. We discussed the ‘stylists’ who presented the contestants and helped the teens to determine how to best present themselves in public.  How much of this presentation was true versus a calculated image?  The level of violence in the book was also discussed. The kids seemed less troubled by it than we were.”

Mother Daughter Book Club (Grade 9) of Rochester, New York, recommends:

So B. It by Sarah Weeks (HarperCollins, 2005), Fiction, 272 pages

“This is an intriguing story full of heart about a young girl named Heidi who grows up with a mentally disabled mother. When she is twelve years old, she becomes curious about how she came to be, and embarks on an adventurous bus trip to try to find out. Some discussion points included how the girls in our club would feel about growing up with such a mother, whether they would have been brave enough to do what Heidi did, and what they expected her to find out as the mystery unfolded. Also, there were some interesting ideas as to why the cover design might have been chosen.”|

Eva Perry Mock Newberry Book Club (Grades 6-9) at the Eva Perry Regional Library, Apex , North Carolina, recommends:

The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman and Victoria Jamieson (Greenwillow, 2008), Fiction 320 pages

“Twelve-year-old Gil competes against thousands of other children in a contest with extraordinary puzzles, stunts, and more from Golly Toy Endgame Company.  This is a very fun adventure along the lines of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,  but with a good twist.  We love the creativity and descriptions in this story.”

Diamond Willow by Helen Frost (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008), Fiction, 128 pages

“In remote Alaska, twelve-year-old Willow helps her father with their family’s sled dogs when she is not at school.  She is unaware that the animals carry the spirits of dead ancestors and friends whocare for her.  This story is a gentle read but encompasses its ownadventure. We love the depth of feelings of the characters in this book.  We like the writing style; you can understand so much of the character's feelings from the sparse text.

Mother/child book club  (Grade K-1) of Eureka, Illinois, recommends:

Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park (Random House), Fiction

“My –year- old son and 5-year-old old daughter are just old enough to understand when Junie B. is doing something she should not be doing, and I can see that they are also relating to many of her feelings and situations.  My son (1st grade) loves to go back and review the books we read together--and look ahead in the ones yet to come.

“Why was Junie B. afraid to ride the school bus? Why does she always call William a crybaby?   Why was she sad when she found out he was just a plain old baby?  What does it mean to be loaded?  Why is Lucille rich?  Why was Warren sad about starting at a new school? Why did Junie B. change her name?   Why does ‘maybe’ mean ‘no’?  Why does Junie B. say that all pets have fur?

“On days when I'm patient enough to field ten thousand questions, Junie B. has enabled us to have some very thought provoking discussions, ranging from misunderstandings to values.  Barbara Park has created such a neat little gal.”

Books & Bagels Club of Methuen High School in Methuen, Massachusetts, recommends:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Random House, 2005), Fiction, 272 pages

“This novel led to a lot of discussion, especially about the practice of foot binding.  This seemed to fascinate and at the same time appall group members.  One actually brought in a couple of foot binding photos that she found on Google.  One of the girls related the foot binding issue to the present day issue of body image and thinness that today’s young women grapple with -- quite interesting. 

“I think the kids liked the book because it dealt with a culture that is not familiar to them; yet they had a hard time understanding the cultural mores.  They needed to look at the issues not through the eyes of a modern teenager but
rom the historical time frame in which the story takes place -- not an easy thing to do.”

Fall, 2008

The Mother-Daughter Book Club (Grade 7) of San Francisco, California, recommends:

Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie (Penguin, 1991), Fiction, 224 pages

“This is an absolutely delightful and hilarious fable about a boy who must save the source of inspiration from which all stories are derived. Mr. Rushdie wrote this book for his son while he was in exile, forced to hide from Muslim extremists after publishing The Satanic Verses.  So while the girls sat around reading passages of incredible prose to each other (which rarely happens in our book group!), the book also provided the basis for a deeper discussion about free speech, creativity and authoritarianism.  Despite the serious themes present in the book, it is a light- hearted story, full of fantastical characters and simply wonderful writing."

The Mother-Daughter Book Club (Grade 7) of Needham, Massachusetts, recommends:

Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham (Candlewick, 2007), Fiction, 288 pages

Shark Girl is about a girl who one day went swimming in the ocean.  While swimming, a tragic accident occurs, causing her to lose one of her limbs.  Though this creates many challenges and disadvantages in her life, she learns with support and help from friends and family, that she can face any challenges that life throws at her.

“We talked about how life is difficult for people with physical or mental disabilities, and how we felt really fortunate to not have these kinds of problems.  We also talked about how the main character was treated by family and friends, and how relationships can change.”

The Moms and Sons Book Club (Grades 4 & 5) of the Chestnut Hill School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, recommends:

Abel's Island by William Steig (1976), Fiction, 128 pages

“Abel is a very civilized mouse who finds himself swept away in a terrible storm while trying to rescue his wife's scarf. His privileged lifestyle offers no help when he realizes he is now stranded on an island. However, he develops a keen sense of resourcefulness and endurance which not only help him survive on the island, but enable him to realize much about himself.

“A parent created a list of 75 items ranging from rope, batteries, and a tent, to Harry Potter books, CD players, and candy. We asked the kids to pick five items from the list that they would want to have if stranded on an island. It was very surprising what they chose. We also asked the kids why they thought the main character was named Abel. This led to a lively discussion about the many ways Abel overcame adversity. The food we prepared was based on what Abel found to eat on the island.  For example, he ate many carrots, so we served carrot cake for dessert.”

The Case Middle School Book Club of Watertown, New York (Grades 7 & 8) recommends:

The Pearl by John Steinbeck (Penguin, 1947), Fiction, 96 pages
Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings (Dutton, 2004), Fiction, 224 pages

We paired these books together based on an integrity theme. The Pearl is a classic story about a poor family whose son is bit by a scorpion. In order to pay the doctor, the child’s father Kino, goes out to find a gigantic pearl. When the reader begins to think all is well, a plot twist comes into play. Our group had a great discussion of good versus evil, character traits and how getting what we think we want is not always the best in the end. Red Kayak is a modern day story about a boy who struggles with making the right decision. Brady must uncover the truth about two deaths in his town and decide what to do with his knowledge afterwards. Our book club talked about how the author creates suspense and keeps us guessing throughout the book. We talked about how we would handle a situation such as the one Brady faces.

Girls Book Club (Grades 4 & 5) of Springfield, Virginia, recommends:

How to Be the Best at Everything (The Girl’s Book) by Juliana Foster (Scholastic, 2007), Nonfiction, 128 pages

“This was the first book we read and we really loved it.  We all marked pages that were our favorite and shared it at our book club meeting. We enjoyed the book because it had funny and silly things to do and really cool activities like How to Grow Crystals, How to Skateboard, How to Write a Secret Code, and the best one of all, How to Annoy Other People. That was really funny. One group member shared how she did that to her brother and it really worked. We also tried How to Win a Staring Contest and How to find Your Blind Spot.”

The Lit Blitz Book Club (grades 2 & 3) of Hoschton, Georgia, recommends:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952), Fiction, 192 pages

“Our book club members enjoyed the story of how Wilbur the pig is saved by the clever spider Charlotte's creative designs in his honor. We had discussions about the different character's personalities and how they affected everyone. For example, if Fern had not been so tenderhearted, Wilbur would not have been rescued to begin with. If Wilbur had not been so dramatic and fearful, he might not have captured the attention of the wise and caring spider.

“We then divided into small groups and completed a page of character webs for each of the four main characters: Fern, Wilbur, Charlotte, and Templeton. We wrote descriptive words inside each of the blank webs on pre-created pages - being careful to connect letters so that our words looked as if they were part of the spider webs.

“We finished the meeting by enjoying Fern's Spider Cakes as we shared our character webs with the group.”

Spring, 2008

Bookworms Book Club (Grades 4 & 5) at William Jeanes Memorial Library in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, recommends:

When Heaven Fell by Carolyn Marsden (Candlewick, 2007), Fiction, 192 pages

“When Heaven Fell is a great book to initiate discussion of cultural differences, in this case between the United States and Vietnam.  You can broaden it into the United States and Third World countries.  The book helps children appreciate the advantages we have here, and gives you an opportunity to explore the Vietnamese culture.  You can initiate a great discussion about expectations - how they are formed, and how we handle situations when what we expect doesn't happen.  It's a really thought-provoking book!”

Note:  The Bookworms Book Club also paired activities and crafts with When Heaven Fell.

St. Cecilia Cardinals Book Club (Grade 4) of Omaha, Nebraska, recommends:

Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman (HarperTrophy, 1986), Fiction, 160 pages

“Based on a true story about a night in Grand Island, Nebraska, when seven tornadoes hit the town, the book has well developed characters, a suspenseful plot and a happy ending. A real pageturner! In our discussion, we touched on themes of taking responsibility, caring for others, and stepping up to the plate when you’re needed.”

Moms and Sons Book Group (Grade 4) of the Chestnut Hill School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, recommends:

A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements (Aladdin, 2004), Fiction, 208 pages

"This book about a boy who goes on a 5th-grade class trip to the woods is loaded with great discussion themes, including stereotyping and judging others.  When the main character, Mark, moves to New Hampshire, the people he meets make assumptions about ‘the new kid’ because of his wealth and privilege. Even his science teacher assumes Mark must be a ‘slacker rich kid’, but during their week-long camping trip those assumptions are challenged.  The book is so engaging the kids just couldn't put it down.  We talked about forming opinions about people before knowing them. And we served outdoor foods mentioned in the book - grilled hotdogs, energy bars, and cut-up fruit.  Roasted marshmallows would also have been fun!"

Ravenous Readers of Bordentown Regional High School, New Jersey, recommend:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (David Fickling Books, 2007),
Historical Fiction, 240 pages

“John Boyne perfectly captures the perspective of a naïve young boy who witnesses atrocities during the Holocaust. The story forced us to question what it means to live under a delusion and whether we, ourselves, would recognize our delusions in a similar situation. The second half of the book is emotional and gripping, and even with very little action, the author manages to keep a hold on the reader.”

Boston Athenaeum Young Readers’ Book Group (grades 5 and up) in Boston, Massachusetts, recommends:

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2006),
Fiction, 352 pages

“Written in the form of journal entries by 16-year old Miranda, this dystopic novel tells about
how her life changes after a global disaster. A meteor crashes into the moon, knocking it out of orbit, dangerously close to earth. The resulting earthquakes, tsunamis, and other disasters lead to climate change, flooding, and dwindling supplies. It becomes a survival story for Miranda’s family. We liked it because as things go from bad to worse, there is so much suspense to find out what will happen. It is also scary because it seems so realistic, you wonder if it could really happen.”

The Women and Girls Book Club (WAGs) of Newport News, Virginia, recommends:

The Twilight Saga Series by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Young Readers), Fiction

“The romantic, dramatic story of modern day ‘vegetarian’ vampire Edward and his love for the teenaged Bella has all of the girls in the club breathlessly awaiting the next book in the series, and all of the women wondering what these books are saying about females’ roles in society. Discussion topics included the main female character’s repeated need to be rescued, her
seamless transition into taking care of her father's needs after moving in with him, and her choice not to attend college. Though all agreed that the books were good, easy reads, and the Edward character is easy to fall in love with, the girls seemed to read the books on one level, while the women saw some deeper meanings in the prose.”

Fall, 2007

DCF Book Club (Grades 5-8) of Orwell, Vermont, recommends:

Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach (Henry Holt, 2005), Fiction, 256 pages

“The main character, Hero is an outsider who doesn’t fit in. Hero’s family moves into a house with mystery attached to it.  A ‘cool’ boy becomes her friend and together they solve more than just the mystery of the house. Bits and pieces of Shakespearan history and references to some plays are sprinkled throughout the story as the main female character's parents are Shakespearan scholars and she and her sister are named after characters in the parents' favorite play. Members read the author's notes on Shakespeare and the timeline of dates. The story brings into play a very real controversy between today's Shakespeare scholars who believe generally one of two schools of thought on who he was and who wrote the great works.”

By These Ten Bones by Clare Dunkle (Henry Holt, 2005), Fiction, 240 pages

"The kids loved the scariness and the thrill of the story, which relates to fears of 'things that go bump in the night' and of the dark. Parts of the story have a real edge-of-your-seat quality.  The young heroine needs to make a very scary decision at the climax of the story and many discussion questions can come out of this dilemma. This book is relatively short and can be shared around the group for the month of October, culminating with a fairy tale costume party and book discussion around Halloween."


Read with Me Book Clubs, Havre de Grace Elementary, Maryland, recommend:

Grades 2-3

The Brand New Kid by Katherine Couric (Doubleday, 2000), Fiction, 32 pages

"Great text for discussion about kindness, fairness, and how to treat others, which we've used in our second grade book club in the fall for several years."


Grades 4-5

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech (HarperTrophy, 2002), Fiction, 320 pages

“Very short chapters written as a journal by the shipmate makes for a quick read. The male characters in the book appealed to the boys in my book club which made this book a yearly
must-read!”



The Mother-Daughter Book Club (Grade 6) of the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, Massachusetts, recommends:

Darby by Jonathan Scott Fuqua (Candlewick Press, 2006), Historical Fiction, 242 pages

“This is the story of a friendship between two young girls - one black and one white - in 1926 South Carolina, and the dream of both girls to become newspaper writers.  Although Evette, who is black, is the better writer, the opportunity to publish stories presents itself to Darby, her friend, and we talked about what it must have been like to have limited choices because of the color of your skin, and how skin color and social status might have influenced the girls' friendship. The group was particularly interested in comparing daily life for children in the 20s and today.  Although the girls felt that the dialogue often sounded overly mature for the characters' ages, we all liked the way the book depicted ordinary people as heroes. Some of the moms pointed out that the tensions, frustrations, and violence depicted in Darby laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement several decades later. We served ambrosia (fruit salad) and biscuits to highlight the southern setting of the book.”


Ravenous Readers of Bordentown Regional High School, New Jersey, recommend:

Grades 6 and up

White Lilacs by Carolyn Meyer (Gulliver, 1993), Historical Fiction, 256 pages

“This novel is based on a true story of a Texas town in the 1920s that planned to replace an all-black enclave in the town center with a park.  The club members loved the book and found it an easy read (it is written more for a junior high school level student). The Ravenous Readers were very sympathetic to Rose Lee Jefferson, the main character.  They were horrified that this story was true and that people because of skin color could be displaced from their homes.  They were very vocal in what they saw as injustice in its purest form.  Marcus Garvey was mentioned in the book, and one of the club members thought he was a fictional character until he was brought up in history class. The student was thrilled that he already knew about Marcus Garvey by reading White Lilacs.”

 

Spring, 2007

Readers Book Club (Grades K-4) at East Regional Library, Knightdale, North Carolina, recommends:

The BFG by Roald Dahl (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1982), Fiction, 32 pages

“The group members loooooooved this one.  It was very funny, because of the way the BFG talks - he mangles English all the time - and because he loves to make whizzpoppers (farts).  There were also lots of scary giants in the book.  We drew what we thought the different giants look like, and then took pictures with the drawings while making scary monster faces. We talked about why Sophie was scared of the BFG at first (he is a giant but is actually very friendly and nice to Sophie).”

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater (Little, Brown, 1938), Fiction, 139 pages

“Group members loved the book because the penguins were so funny and silly and became world-famous performers. We talked about what kind of pet the kids would like, and we made penguin masks, and then marched around the room as Mr. Popper's Performing Penguins, and the kids performed the penguins' routine as best they could.”


Carykids Book Club (Grades 4 & 5) at Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, Massachusetts, recommends:

The Ravenmaster's Secret: Escape from the Tower of London by Elvira Woodruff
(Scholastic, 2003), Fiction, 240 pages

“In eighteenth-century Britain, Forrest's father is the Ravenmaster and guard at the tower of London.  Forrest's friend Rat is indentured to a ratcatcher, and is threatened by a villainous chimney sweep.  When Maddy, the daughter of a Scottish rebel, is imprisoned in the Tower, Forrest must decide where his loyalties lie. 

“This exciting, suspenseful story was a great success in our book group. Action and adventure, as well as believable, complex characters, ensured a great read.  The book provides opportunities to discuss issues such as class differences, stereotypes, and the meaning of courage.  Forrest's moral dilemma is of course also very important: does his loyalty belong to his father and his country, or to his new friend Maddy and his sense of justice?  Should he help Maddy escape from the Tower?”


Mother Daughter Book Club  (Grades 4 and up) at Faneuil Branch Library, Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts, recommends:

A Break with Charity: A Story About the Salem Witch Trials by Ann Rinaldi
(Gulliver, 1992), Fiction, 272 pages

“Set during the 1692 Salem Witch trials, the story brings to life a time in history the readers may have studied in school, or actually traveled to Salem to learn about; if not, maybe the story will inspire a road trip.  Reading the book gave readers insight on why the event took place and the emotions behind the scenes.  Looking at it from characters’ viewpoints helps readers better understand why the chain of events that led to the hangings happened. Why did no one stop it sooner? Were the girls victims of peer pressure?”


Steal Away Home
by Lois Ruby (Simon & Schuster, 1994), Fiction, 208 pages
and
The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton (Simon & Schuster, 1968),
Fiction, 256 pages

“These are great fiction books that give the moderator a chance to lead the conversation
toward the real Underground Railroad. What did the ‘flags’ look like that led the way for
travelers on the Underground Railroad?  Look for books that illustrate examples of hidden doors from homes that were stations, which may now be museums open to the public.  Show maps
of the railroad routes.Did it pass through your town?  Was it a success? If so, why?”          

 


Nory Ryan's Song
by Patricia Reilly Giff (Delacorte, 2000), Fiction, 148 pages

“This story takes readers to Ireland during the 1845 potato famine.  Could you have survived
those conditions?  Do you think you have the courage inside you to do what Nory and the people around her did? Did any of your family leave Ireland and find a new home in America because of the potato famine?  Are there any stories that have been passed down in your family about the perseverance it took to stay and the courage it took to leave Ireland?”


Teen Book Club (Ages 11 – 17) at Harris County Public Library, Cy-Fair College Branch, Cypress, Texas recommends:

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1993), Science Fiction, 299 pages

“The year is 2024 and the United States has changed. It hasn’t progressed into the anticipated convenience of a high tech future. Instead, it has descended into a lawless hell of pyromaniacs, armed gangs and roving tides of homeless people. Is this work of speculative fiction a warning for us today? Butler’s tale of dystopia and belief in “Earthseed” stimulated great discussions about God, survival, and the inherent disposition of the human race. The male participants admitted that guns, cannibalism and wanton destruction pulled them into the story. Female participants commented on how ‘real’ the characters were portrayed.”

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