Book Club for Kids and The Bush Book Club

Teaching children to love literature is one of my passions. Allowing children to form a book club could be such a fun way to enthuse young readers to delve more into literature.

I have often spoken about my fondness for my book club. Meeting with those girls is always one of the highlights of my month. Not only do we discuss literature, we eat, drink (normally tea, but on occasion we have been known to have a little tipple of something stronger!) and discuss so much more than the book. We have really reached a level where we just share life with one another.

Scholastic sent me a book (published in March) called “The Bush Book Club” by award winning Australian children’s author, Margaret Wild and illustrated by Ben Wood. Let me tell you. I LOVED this book. Scholastic regularly sends me books to review, and I do choose my favourites to share with you. But this one, it’s my absolute favourite! I think because Margaret Wild and Ben Wood have really captured what it means to love books along with that magical moment when you first fall in love with reading independently.

I can remember that moment for me. My mother was reading aloud an Enid Blyton book, “The Children of the Cherry Tree Farm” to my sister and I while she breastfed my brother. All of a sudden she stopped mid story. I don’t know why. Maybe she stopped breastfeeding, got too busy or just thought the story was a little bit too old, which in fact it was. However, I just really wanted to hear the ending. (It’s a weakness of mine, wanting to know the ending. I’ve had many a late night waiting to see the end of a film or staying up late to finish a book.) I took the book and finished reading it to myself. I was only in year one, and it wasn’t a particularly easy book to read – not at all like Amelia Jane or the Faraway Tree. In fact, the story wasn’t really that interesting and I had to skip quite a few hard words, but I did read it. After I finished I knew I could read anything, and I did. In our family, I was often the kid with the nose stuck in a book.

In “The Bush Book Club” all the animals belong to The Bush Book Club. All except Bilby. He can’t stay still long enough to read. (And oh how I recognised Bilby. I have taught him before, I’m sure of that.) Bilby is quite happy to not belong to the book club, it’s obvious that Bilby thinks reading is boring. It takes being locked in the book club overnight by accident for Bilby to discover the joys of reading. Mind you, Bilby has a series of very inventive ways of using books before he actually opens the page and starts reading.

I’ve been planning on writing this post for absolutely ages because as soon as I read this story, I immediately wanted to have the children belonging to my book club Mums around for our very own children’s book club, in the style of The Bush Book Club. We did try very hard to organise this, but they are all very busy ladies and this is a very busy time of year, and we just couldn’t pull it off – yet. When we do, I will be sure to write another blog post about it.

Following the format of The Bush Book Club, I was going to read the story to the children first, then the children would play with the books like Bilby did before sharing with each other their favourite books. Of course we would need to end with some food and playtime.

My children have not discovered the joys of independent reading yet, so it could be any book they enjoy. My son in year 2 really struggles with reading, despite the fact that he was read aloud to in the womb and every day of his life. He has moments where he will be interested, but I’m trusting that one day something will just ignite for him. In the meantime, he would still be very keen to join in book club because he does love literature and loves story time. At the moment he’s obsessing on non-fiction books particularly about farming. I think he’s just about got every book possible out of the school library.

If you are a book lover or belong to a book club, this will be a book I guarantee you will enjoy reading to your child. It’s a great one for teacher’s also. I know I would use it in a classroom to enthuse children before setting a book report task.

And here’s the exciting news! Scholastic are giving five copies away to Caitlin’s Happy Heart readers.

To win a copy, please answer the following question below AND leave your contact details. I would also feel honoured if you ‘liked’ my Facebook page. The winner will be chosen on Sunday May 4th at 8pm. The winners will be chosen according to the story they tell when answering.

When did you develop a love of reading and what were you reading when this happened? 

I’m linking up with Essentially Jess and the very fabulous IBOT.

Aussie Giveaway Linky
Great Aussie Giveaway Link Hosted by Kellie O’Brien Media

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The Rosie Project – Bookclub Review

I have this rather fabulous book club. No, let’s be real here, they are not just rather fabulous, they’re down right UTTERLY Fabulous! We have developed beautiful friendships and books are quite simply the start of our conversations.

Since being in our book club, we’ve read a wide range of literature like The Book Thief, (4 years ago, long before the movie came out!), The Secret Life of Bees and Persuasion.

Being a bit of a book bug, I’ve shared a few book reviews on this site. Lately I’ve been doing a fair bit of children’s literature, which I adore, and I do spend a lot of time reading children’s books at the moment. However, I wanted to share about adult books once again this year. It just happens that the majority of books I read for myself are for book club, I don’t have too much time to read too much more after that, although if I do, it’s normally a parenting book.

This Thursday night was our monthly Book Club night. This month we read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

Let me tell you, this was the best book I’ve read for awhile. First and foremost because it was funny! Like laugh out loud and make your husband look over at you in a strange way and make your children question, “Why are you laughing Mummy?”. (You won’t always be able to tell your children why you are laughing, because sometimes it’s a little naughty…but still funny…)

Basically the story is written in first person by Professor Don Tilman, a character who has Asperges like traits, although he admits that he has never been diagnosed. Far too complex a character to fit into a single diagnosis! I love that you hear the main character’s thought processes and opinions throughout the whole storyline. Especially since seeing life through Don’s eyes is very amusing, but you also grow to respect how something like asperges can also be a real strength, not just a disability. Don, with all his very funny quirks and hilarious social indiscretions, finds himself in pursuit of love. His romantic methods are certainly non-traditional! He compiles a very thorough questionnaire, that he feels holds scientific validity. The questionnaire in itself is an amusing part in the novel! Meanwhile he bumps into Rosie, who in his opinion, is completely unsuitable as a wife. He embarks on a project with her and the adventures they have together are downright hilarious! (Sorry to use the word hilarious so much, but truly, it’s the word that best describes this novel!)

My favourite moments in the book is Don mixing cocktails, Don and Rosie eating lobster, travelling to NY and just the constant humour in the way Don expresses himself, which can be summed up as, yes, you guessed it – Hilarious!

In our book club, we rate our books out of 10. Here are the scores and opinions of the ladies who were present this month.

Belinda – 8.5/10

My good friend Belinda, (Check her out at bbeingcool), liked this book because it was a great insight into ASD done with style and humour.

Anna – 8.7/10

Anna is one of those very practical ladies, and I love her “I’m thinking in percentages” score out of ten! Anna likes this book because it made her laugh. She could relate to it because “I teach kids with autistic tendencies.” Anna also says she would love to be as organised as Don! I think Anna is pretty darn organised as she is. But certainly not to the same level of efficiency as the professor! Belinda and I decided we were far more like Rosie then Don! Proving that she is not ASD herself, Anna could see the beauty in my new Royal Doulton mugs that Alex gave me for Valentines Day!

Jodie – 8/10
Jodie rushed back from holidaying at the coast to book club with us. Well kind of, not really, her holiday had finished that day, but we were so glad she came despite the travel, especially since she nominated the book this month! (We all have turns.) Jodie scored it an 8 because it was entertaining and intelligent escapism.

Have you read the Rosie Project? What was your opinion of it, and can you give it a score out of 10?

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Book Club Suggestions

I have a wonderful bookclub. Reading and discussing books is a great joy of mine. The group of ladies who I do this with on a monthly basis are one of the great delights of my life. We are a mixed bunch. All from our regional town, some of us know each other very well, some of us have met through this group. Despite the fact that we may see some of our fellow readers in very few alternate contexts, we all have intersecting worlds and every meeting we discover someone has a friend outside the group that someone inside the group knows. It’s like that living in a small community.

About twice a year we put forward suggestions of some books we would like to read. From those suggestions there is a discussion on which of those suggestions most appeal to the group. Then we put a list together outlining the chosen books for several months in advance. We have read novels and biographies, fact and fiction. There are always books on the list that I would never normally pick up. Sometimes it is for good reason, other times I am ever so glad for the enforced read.

It is also agreed that whoever chose the book for that month supplies something to eat. If we can connect the food into something within the group – all the better.

We have have come together through our common love of books. We don’t all enjoy the same thing, we don’t all agree with each others interpretation of the book. We do find joy in the discussion, which often is far more encompassing than just the content of one book. We have developed friendships which are cherished and enjoyed, tied together by characters constructed by an author’s prose, simple written text. Yet during the month those character enter into our individual minds. Shuffling, dancing, plodding and spinning through our imaginations. As we all assemble and chat around the table, the characters come to life, jumping from head to head as we talk, and as they do our understanding becomes a little deeper of those characters and the women sitting and talking, explaining, sharing.

We don’t all read the book. Every month there will be someone(s) who has not finished, in fact it is not uncommon to have participants who have not yet opened to the first page. It does not matter. The talk can continue, our minds can be stimulated regardless. Conversation can be contributed to regardless. It is such acceptance of one another’s busy lives that helps the group to succeed.

Tonight Jonty asked me, “What do you do at book club, Mummy?”
“We read a book during the month and then we get together and talk about it.”
“Oh”, he says with interest, and then he scampers away yelling out, “Could I find a book for you to talk about?” He returned clutching his piece of literature with pride. “Mum, do you think the ladies could talk about this at book club. What do you think they would say?”

Considering the age of the children we mother – mostly in the under 8’s set – I very well think we could discuss that book, although more about the show it represents then the actual content of the book. In fact, I think it may have already come up in discussion before – right alongside Peppa Pig.

In the meantime, I’m grateful that the Under 8’s didn’t chose the selection. I’ve just finished sniffling my way through the ending of M.L. Stedman’s “The Light Between Oceans”. A simply brilliant read as a plot twists and turns it’s way through interesting, yet flawed characters while examining and exploring some complex moral issues. I give it a 4.5 out of 5. (Another book club tradition is to rate the book out of 5)

Do you enjoy reading? Are you a member, or have you been a member of a book club? What was the protocol of your group?

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