I mentioned this morning that I'd read one of the books for our book clubs, and ten minutes later, I was slated to lead a group of 5th graders through a conversation about "A Girl Named Disaster." How cool is that?
I hung out for the tail end of the 4th grade book club meeting, just to see how they go. Five nine year olds debating whether or not it's strictly necessary to read the author's note or the prologue of a book. Then they discussed movie adaptations of books they'd read recently. These kids have stuff to say. And they are amped on Teddy Grahams snacks that we handed out.
I was scheduled to have three kids for the 5th grade book club, but only one boy showed up. Technically, he's a fourth grader, but well, you know how it goes. You're all nerdy too. He'd also only read a third of the book, but man, was he ready to discuss. He had some complex analysis of this story, it was awesome. In case you're aren't familiar with "A Girl Named Disaster," it's the story of a 12 year old girl living in Mozambique who runs away to avoid marrying the evil guy her family has set her up with. Well, that's the one sentence version of the story. It also, as the fifth grader just reminded me, has a very rich mythological side to it. He compared and contrasted the acceptance of witches in this book and in "The Witch of Blackbird Pond," (Better to be a witch, or possessed by a witch, in Mozambique than in colonial America. You don't get burned or hung, only married off to the evil guy. For your reference.) He commented on how having native words in a story adds to the depth. He speculated on what would happen in the parts he hadn't read. And when I handed him the book that the group is reading next month, he said, I kid you not, "Cool! I like to read books with virtual reality in them." Hm, it occurs to me now that most books do, but the book in question has, you know, actual virtual reality in it.