"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

03 April 2015

Book Club: Rain Reign

My Page Turners book club met again last month and discussed the book Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin.  We met in our library's picture book room because our auditorium is undergoing renovations.  This meant that I didn't have as much space for us to spread out and also that we would be dealing with distractions from other programs and patrons in the library, but it was also good to get more visibility for the book club, and it was easier for parents to feel free to wander in the library and keep an eye on their kids who were with me in the picture book room.

First, we had our discussion. I got the discussion questions here, which made things easy. I always ask if the kids liked the book more or less than our last book, and I ask how many stars they would give it, and what kinds of kids they think would like to read it.  And we always talk about the book itself - this time our discussion centered around Rose's unusual behaviors and her choice to give Rain back to his original family. I was glad that this book had a character with a disability, as this gave my book clubbers a chance to talk about how Rose didn't do the things she did on purpose and how they could choose to be friends with a person like Rose even if that person did things like collecting homonyms and shouting prime numbers.  The kids all recognized that Rain was helpful in gaining friends for Rose at school as well.

Then it was time for activities.  I had several items the kids could do, and this time I watched every kid try every different activity, which I thought was pretty neat:

1.  Make a lost dog poster for Rain. As seen below, some kids made posters for other dogs, or other things.

2.  Guess what items you should take in a disaster.  This is from the Ready.gov website's information for kids. I had a handout for the kids to take, and pictures of different rooms in the house that they could use to guess what things to take with them if there was an earthquake or other disaster.

3.  Homonym memory / go fish.  This was a bit difficult, since each homonym in my list was part of a group of three (like there, they're, their), so the kids made up their own rules about how the game worked, which was fine by me.

4.  Hexicards.  These cards are fun to use as dominoes or really for whatever a person would want to do with them.  I left them out to see how the kids would take to them.  They weren't super-popular, but I did have some younger kids invade the book club afterwards, and they LOVED the hexicards.

Book club became very crowded near the end, since there were other children in the library and they saw that we had snacks and activities.  The upside of this is that my book clubs are now completely booked for this month.  The obvious downside was crowd control, but I assured my Page Turners and their parents that we would be back down in the auditorium soon. I am glad that the other patrons were able to see what our book club is about and how it works.

I gave the kids a nonfiction book for next month.  Several of them complained: "But it has PICTURES! I don't read books with pictures!" "What? A nonfiction book? Why?"  I told them we will read a wide variety of books in book club and that this one just happens to be nonfiction.  Then, because it is about volcanoes, I told them we could do baking soda volcanoes in the library when we met.  We'll see how well that works out.

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