Thursday, September 8, 2011

When You Reach Me

The September selection for the Book Club for kids grades 5-6 was When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

This Newbery Award winner tells the story of Miranda and her very eventful year in sixth grade. Her best friend freezes her out of his life, her mom is a contestant on a game show, and someone is leaving her very strange notes. The stories surrounding these events in Miranda's life provide the backdrop for this truly original novel.

The participants in this month's Book Club meeting found Ms. Stead's story very original...maybe too original! Although the kids really enjoyed the characters and the science-fiction aspects of the book, parts of it were just too confusing. As one sixth grader noted, "the book just jumped around way too much".

*SPOILER ALERT*

The time travel that lies at the heart of the story (though only realized at the end of the book) was pretty confusing to all of the readers. As one of the readers asked, "Why didn't The Laughing Man go back to the past in order to change something really important, like September 11th, and not just one kid's life?" A great point and a great topic for conversation both on character motivation AND the rules regarding time travel.

Next month's Book Club selection for this age is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, a book which heavily influenced Stead and her writing. A Wrinkle in Time was chosen by the Book Club both because it should help us to understand When You Reach Me a bit more and because it has frequenly been among the works on Banned Books lists. September 24-October 1 is Banned Books Week, which celebrates our freedom to read.

October Grades 3-4 Book Club: Bat and the Waiting Game

For October's Grades 3-4 Book Club, we read Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold. This is a sequel to A Boy Called Bat , whic...