Tonight was our first meeting of the year for Girl Zone Book Club – a group I run for Year Six students and a significant woman in their life – mother, aunt, grandma, older sister, cousin, family friend…even a dad or uncle will do. This Book Club is an opportunity to talk, laugh and learn through a shared love of reading. I now work at a girls school, but I have also run this club as a Father/Son book club at a boys school at which I worked.
This book club runs much like an adult book club and focus books chosen are ‘crossover’ novels, ones which both adults and adolescents can enjoy. We also snack on cupcakes (above is some from a meeting last year!), cheese, fruit, and sometimes sushi and mini quiches if we are feeling fancy. It is all very civilised, and a lovely way for generations to connect…over books.
The book club is for students who adore reading and for those who do not and perhaps need a little nudge in the right direction. This is not an extra class for students, this is for the pure joy of recreational reading and to encourage reading as a social activity.
Book Clubs help us to…
Connect with others through a shared love of literature
Discuss the big ideas and messages in literature
Personally connect with a story or character
Tonight I spoke about the titles below.
Click on title links or cover images to purchase.
‘Hotaka’ by John Heffernan
A powerful and moving story about one boy caught up in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
Get it on iBooks here.
When the tsunami strikes the Japanese seaside town of Omori-wan, the effects are utterly devastating. Three years later, much of what happened on that day is still a mystery. As Hotaka sets about convincing local performers to appear at the town’s upcoming Memorial Concert, he finds himself increasingly haunted by memories of best friend, Takeshi, who perished without trace in the tsunami. Then his friend Sakura becomes involved in an anti-seawall movement, and all too quickly the protest gets serious. As the town and its people struggle to rebuild their lives, can Hotaka piece together what happened that day – and let go of the past?
‘When the Lyrebird Calls’ by Kim Kane
A time-slip novel in which Madeleine finds herself transported back to 1900 Australia, where she befriends a family of girls and is witness to a family secret and a family tragedy.
When Madeleine is shipped off to stay with her eccentric grandmother for the holidays, she expects the usual: politics, early-morning yoga, extreme health food, and lots of hard work. Instead, Madeleine tumbles back in time to 1900, where the wealthy Williamson family takes her into their home, Lyrebird Muse.
At a time when young girls have no power and no voice, set against a backdrop of the struggles for emancipation, federation and Aboriginal rights, Madeleine must find a way to fit in with the Williamson family’s four sisters – beautiful, cold Bea; clever, awkward Gert; adventurous, rebellious Charlie; and darling baby Imo – as she searches desperately for a way home.
Meanwhile, the Williamson girls’ enchanting German cousin, Elfriede, arrives on the scene on a heavenly wave of smoke and cinnamon, and threatens to shatter everything…
‘Henry Hoey Hobson’ by Christine Bongers
Henry Hoey Hobson is a hero to cheer for till your tonsils hang out on strings.
Henry Hoey Hobson arrives at his sixth school, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, to discover he’s the only boy in Year Seven.
Friendless, fatherless and non-Catholic, Henry is not only a Perpetual Sucker, but a bloodsucker, according to his catty classmates.
When he’s caught moving a coffin into the creepy house next door, it drives a stake through the heart of his hopes of fitting in.
His only chance to fight back is the school swimming carnival – sink-or-swim time in the treacherous waters of Year Seven.
Shortlisted in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards, Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, and a winner in The Big Read competition.
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