Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Clubs for All

Every Mother's Day our music teachers do a tea for the mothers of all the first graders. The kids learn lots of songs about mothers and each class writes a poem to read. It's a fabulous event that was made more special for me this year as my oldest daughter is in first grade.

Her class's poem consisted of a series of lines that began with 'Some mothers' followed by various things the kids came up with. The line submitted by my daughter was obvious: "Some mothers go to book club and do work at dinner time."

I do go to book club, once a month. I don't work at dinner time and have no idea where that came from. It's been over a month and this line is still haunting me a bit.

This same daughter has requested a book club of her own. Initially I dismissed the idea but as I thought about it I came around. This would be a great event for our school. So, my daughter, a few friends, and I are trying it out this summer.

I'd like to use some chapter books that are appropriate for first and second graders. I want them to be meaty books with some depth. Cynthia Rylant's Van Gogh Cafe is one I have been considering. But I'm not coming up with much else. Advice please!


Sue VanHattum said...

Catwings, by Ursula LeGuin, may not be 'meaty' enough, but it's delightful.

If you email me (suevanhattum on hotmail), I can send you a bibliography of my favorite kids' books. I have lots of books with strong girls and women.

Ronia, the Robber's Daughter, by Astrid Lindgren, is much deeper than the Pippi books.

Also consider The Midwife’s Apprentice, by Karen Cushman.

Your Teacher said...

Ok, first of all you need more context for how the poem ws written. In an attempt to be super sensitive to the kids who don't get to spend much time with their moms I prompted the class to use "some moms..." but clearly I wasn't supreme sensitive to the moms who read it! So after someone suggested eating dinner as something they do with their mom I asked the class why hey maybe wouldn't get to eat with their moms (knowing many work night shifts) and your little one cheerfully offered the idea of book club, then another friend added (in a sad voice) work. I should have clarified which part was from whom.

Anyway, I don't have meaty suggestions but I'm rereading a wrinkle in time which is dated and equal parts male and female protagonists but quality. Also love mixed up files but a bit dated too. Modern fun girl lead is Just Grace, read it aloud to a class 2 or 3 years ago and they loved it. Read ahead, there is animal poop involved. Never have read Ivy and Bean but they are popular nowadays. Secret garden?
Barely remember it but remember loving it. Little house on the prairie? A long way from Chicago (and sequel year down yonder). Let me know what you pick!

teacherninja said...

Gooney Bird Greene? If it has to be a mom, the second one is about the room/teacher's mother.

Sarah said...

I can't think of any books offhand since I've been teaching the older ones for so many years. But I think the idea of a book club at that age is such a fantastic idea! I hope it's a huge success :)

Jill Fisch said...

I second the Gooney Bird Greene series - I love them. They do have meaty issues but are funny at the same time.