Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday afternoon to discuss our November book, We the Children by Andrew Clements. We had a terrific discussion and everyone really enjoyed the book. We are all anxiously awaiting book #2 which comes out in January...

We began by talking about the main character, Ben, who he is and his relationships in the book. We talked about what type of story We the Children is and how it starts off with a lot of action right away which is a clue - it let's us know that it's likely to be an action-packed, plot-driven kind of story.

We talked about Mr. Keane, the school janitor, and why he chose to trust Ben with the mysterious coin and the mission of protecting the school. We though Ben felt lucky to be chosen for such an important job and maybe a little scared but also fiercly determined to save his school from demolition. We thought he chose to confide in Jill and seek her help because she's a good friend and a useful ally to have.

We spent a bit of time talking about the idea of change. Change is a major theme in this book with the possible demolition of Oakes School and Ben's parents getting separated. We thought about times when change is a good thing and times when we feel that things should stay the same. Certainly in the case of Oakes School it's important to preserve a piece of history and not let it be destroyed simply for an amusement park. We felt that Ben handled all the changes in his life well but that he had some hard things to work through. Many of us felt we'd be preoccupied and have some difficulty if we were in his shoes.

We discussed the important event Ben relates during the story, the event which he calls a "tipping point" in his life. We thought about what that might mean and what tipping points we've experienced in our own lives.

We thought about sailing and how Ben's knowledge of boats and sailing is an asset to the task he has at hand. We also agreed that saving Robert during the big race was the right thing to do, regardless of the fact that it meant he lost the race.

Finally, we talked a lot about the ending and about series books in general. We the Children definitely leaves the reader hanging; there is no resolution and nothing is explained. Instead, it is really just the beginning, setting the scene and characters for future books. We all enjoyed the book very much but it was a little difficult to be left hanging so badly! We all eagerly await book #2, Fear Itself and hope some of the mystery will be explained!

Following our discussion we spent some time online, visiting Andrew Clements website and our own Book Buddies Blog. We also viewed a couple of videos online which were fun to see:

First the We the Children Book Trailor:

Then a couple of really neat videos featuring Andrew Clements:

It was a terrific meeting and thanks to all the Book Buddies members for attending!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that the Book Buddies Book Club will be meeting this coming Monday, November 29th at 3:30pm to discuss We the Children by Andrew Clements! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We the Children Read-Alikes

If you've been enjoying We the Children, here are a few other books you might like:

Framed by Gordon Korman

Griffin Bing is in big trouble when a Super Bowl ring disappears from his middle school's display case, replaced by Griffin's retainer, and the more he and his friends investigate, the worse his situation becomes.

Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaway by Wendelin Van Draanen

While investigating why someone is trying to force people from their homes to expand a recreation center, Sammy is distracted by the lies she must tell to cover an accident she caused, but which was blamed on her nemesis, Heather.

The Seventh Level by Jody Feldman

Twelve-year-old Travis is invited to become a member of The Legend, Lauer Middle School's most exclusive secret society, but first he must solve seven puzzles.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

National Gaming Day

If you like to play card and board games, come to the library this Saturday, November 13th for a celebration of National Gaming Day! From 2:30pm - 4:30pm, children ages 4 and up and their families are invited to come and play a variety of games including Uno, Battleship, Sorry, Pictureka! and Chutes & Ladders. Refreshments will be provided. No registration is required, just drop-in! Held in the lower level program room.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Andrew Clements Video

Click to watch a short video with Andrew Clements and be sure to also visit his website!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Author Andrew Clements

For the first time in Book Buddies history, we are repeating an author! This month we are reading We the Children, the first in a new series by the fantastic author Andrew Clements. Those who've been in the book club since the beginning will remember that way back in December of 2007 we read another Andrew Clements book, The Last Holiday Concert. We loved that one and I'm sure we're going to really enjoy this new one!

Andrew Clements is a truly fantastic author and has written many, many books for children. Here are just a few of his books that I've especially enjoyed:

Frindle (1996)
An Andrew Clements classic!

When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.

A Week in the Woods (2002)

The fifth grade's annual camping trip in the woods tests Mark's survival skills and his ability to relate to a teacher who seems out to get him.

Lunch Money (2005)
Twelve-year-old Greg, who has always been good at moneymaking projects, is surprised to find himself teaming up with his lifelong rival, Maura, to create a series of comic books to sell at school.

Room One: A Mystery of Two (2006)

Ted Hammond, the only sixth grader in his small Nebraska town's one-room schoolhouse, searches for clues to the disappearance of a homeless family.

No Talking (2007)

The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a "no talking" contest.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Letters About Literature

The annual Letters About Literature letter writing contest is back! Children in grades 4 - 6 can compete in level 1 by writing a letter to an author about a book that has special meaning to them.

So, all you have to do is find a book that you have strong feelings about. Then write a letter to the book's author explaining why you love the book and why it's so important to you. Remember to speak from the heart and skip any plot summaries. Let the author know how and why their work has touched you.

Submit your letter by December 22, 2010 and you might be a winner!

For official rules and details about the contest, visit the Letters About Literature website.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Book Selection

Our November book is We the Children by Andrew Clements, the first in his new series, Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School. We will meet on Monday, November 29th at 3:30pm in the John Clarke Children's Program Room to discuss the book. Hope to see you there!

Sixth-grader Ben Pratt's life is full of changes that he does not like - his parents' separation and the plan to demolish his seaside school to build an amusement park - but when the school janitor gives him a tarnished coin with some old engravings and then dies, Ben is drawn into an effort to keep the school from being destroyed.