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

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1. What was the inspiration for The Kids’ Book Club Book?

During speaking engagements for our first book, The Book Club Cookbook, a guide to integrating food and food-related discussion into book club gatherings, we often heard the question, “Why not write a book for kids’ book clubs?”  Around the same time, we were seeing an increase in kids’ book clubs in our own town and in our children’s schools, so we decided to investigate.  Our research revealed an upward trend in the number of kids’ book clubs springing up around the country.  We thought kids’ book clubs would benefit from a comprehensive guide to creating terrific discussion groups using the same research methods we used to create The Book Club Cookbook – surveying and interviewing book clubs across the country, and contacting authors to contribute to our book. 

2. How do kids' book clubs differ from adult book clubs?

Both adult and kids’ groups read books, gather to discuss them, and often serve food at their meetings.  The kids’ groups tend to be composed of an adult facilitator and kids, or adult-child pairs, as in mother-daughter and father-son groups.  Kids’ clubs also tend to incorporate activities into their meetings.

3. How did you choose the fifty books you featured in The Kids’ Book Club Book

When we surveyed and interviewed kids book clubs, we asked for their top reading selections – the books they would recommend to other book clubs.  After compiling results over eighteen months, we chose the fifty titles that received the most votes.

4. Where did you find all the recipes and activities in the book?  Did you try all of them?

The Kids’ Book Club Book is chock-full of terrific recipe and activity contributions from the experts – book clubs and our featured authors.  We were delighted that many of the authors whose work is featured in The Kids’ Book Club Book, and book club facilitators, contributed recipes, activities, and insights to their work.  In some cases, an author or book club would send a great recipe idea, and we’d develop a recipe based on that suggestion.

When we received a fun recipe or activity idea, we couldn’t wait to try it out!  After testing it ourselves, we’d pass the recipe or activity along to friends and family for further testing.  For us, trying out the foods and activities that came our way was one of the best parts of writing The Kids’ Book Club Book!

5. Why did you ask children's authors to participate in The Kids’ Book Club Book?

The members of kids’ book clubs we interviewed showed a special interest in authors, so we decided to incorporate as many of their ideas as possible into our book.  We asked all the living authors of the fifty books featured in The Kids’ Book Club Book for biographical information, a recipe to pair with their book, and/or activities that might be appropriate for their book.  The majority of authors responded enthusiastically. You can find a recipe for Kimberly Willis Holt’s Buttermilk Pie, featured in her book, My Louisiana Sky, and reminiscences from Jerry Spinelli about growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the town on which he based the story of Maniac Magee, and lots more.  We think these contributions will be among the most popular with book club leaders.

6. Why do children and teens enjoy participating in book clubs?

Youth book clubs members told us that discussing books with other kids who enjoy reading, sharing ideas in a relaxed environment without the pressure of a “right” or “wrong” answer, reading books they wouldn’t normally read, discovering new genres, making new friends, and feeling pressured (in a good way) to finish a book are among the top reasons they enjoy participating in a book club.

7. Are you members of book clubs?

Vicki:  I belong to a mother-daughter book club with my 6th-grade daughter, and my husband belongs to a father-son book club with my 8th-grade son.

Judy:  I have participated in formal parent-child book clubs in the past, and now I enjoy having  “private” book clubs with my sons.  I am currently a member of two adult book clubs.

8. What were some of your favorite books when you were kids?

Vicki:  I used to love the Narnia books – I read the whole series three times!  As a young child, I remember enjoying fantastical stories like Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Enormous Egg, and Charlotte’s Web, and when I got older I liked A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  I also loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I associate certain books with times in my life, especially summer, when I often had the luxury of uninterrupted reading time.  I remember reading Gone With the Wind while driving with my family across the country to see the Grand Canyon. 

Judy:  There are so many highlights of my childhood reading.  The Pink Motel, The Secret World of Og. The Trouble with Jenny’s Ear and the All-of-a-Kind Family series were among my early favorites. Later I enjoyed From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Little Women.  I adored the adventures of Harriet M. Welsch in Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret, and many books by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and Mary Rodgers.

Researching and writing The Kids’ Book Club Book introduced me to some wonderful new children’s literature, but it also allowed me to become reacquainted with some of these wonderful childhood stories, especially one about a favorite topic – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

9. How long did it take you to research and write The Kids’ Book Club Book?

It took almost two-and-a-half years from the start of our research to the time the book was released.


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