Friday, November 13, 2015

Middle School Book Club

I went to the local middle school again today to help with their monthly book club.  Once again, I was leading the discussion for the group that read Waiting For Normal by Leslie Connor.  It wasn't my choice to do the same book again, but apparently that's how they like to do it, each person just does one book a year and does the discussion for it each month with a different group of kids.  I would much prefer to lead the discussion for a different book each time.  I won't bother with summarizing the book or listing discussion questions because I have already done that in the previous posts:  "Middle Grade Mini-Reviews" and "Middle School Book Club - Waiting for Normal...".

I helped with this same book club last year, and had some really good discussions about A Boy At War by Harry Mazer and Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie Tolan, but for some reason, this year is not going as well.  I don't know if it's the book, or that by chance I just haven't been getting the right mix of kids in my groups, but today was downright frustrating.  I had a group of eight girls, would should have been big enough for a good discussion, but this must've been the most shy, introverted group of kids in the whole school.  I could hardly get a word out of them. 

I would ask a question that normally would lead to several people responding with different points of view, and they would just sit there and look at me.  It was really awkward.  So, since the most I could get from them were raised hands or nodding heads, I had to fall back to asking yes or no type questions for a while.  Towards the end I managed to pull a few words, even a couple of opinions out of them, but it was like pulling teeth!  The only thing they were really vocal about was when I asked if they would recommend this book, and they said yes, but not to boys, and talked about how boys were only interested in action and didn't appreciate books like this one.

Usually I feel like we don't have enough time for the discussion, but today the last bell couldn't ring soon enough for me!  And the worst part?  I had recommended one of the other books, Doll Bones by Holly Black, for the book club and said I would like to lead the discussion of it (but said I was willing to do whichever).  So supposedly someone else really wanted to do it, so I took WFN.  Then, the one who was supposed to lead the discussion for Doll Bones admitted today that she had never even read it and had no clue what it was about and was just winging it!  Needless to say, I was a bit annoyed. 

One thing that was interesting was that this group of girls, unlike the group last time, had a less forgiving and optimistic attitude towards the mother in the book, compared to the group last time.  Today's group shared my opinion that Addie' mother was a horrible mother and would probably not do any better with the new baby in the long run.

I sure hope I can get a good discussion going next time! Hopefully I can get a different book and make a fresh start :)

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