Oct 20, 2015
Great news for a formerly-banned book; Bookclubs for grownups and children together; new books from Adam Makos and Mary Gaitskill
Good news this week for Into The River, the novel by Ted Dawes that had been banned in New Zealand. The ban has been lifted, and will be made available immediately with a parental warning on the cover to help guide parents. Also, rights to publish the novel in the US and Canda have been acquired by Polis Books, so look for Into the River here in June 2016.
One of our listeners asked us to talk about parent/child reading groups (for "parent," feel free to substitute aunt, uncle, grandparent, teacher, babysitter, or any other adult that you trust with your child). Michael recently heard Gretchen Rubin talk about this on a recent Happier podcast (can someone help with the specific episode?), and we thought it was a great topic.
There are so many options on how to organize a grownup/child bookclub: it can be just one grownup/one child, groups of children and grownups, or anything in between. Experts recommend grouping by age so that they are all at about the same reading level, but that depends on the age level. Other people recommend keeping it gender specific, but Michael and I agree that that is not necessary or maybe even preferred. Integrating an activity related to the book seems to be a popular choice, with the specific activity dependent on age of the kids in the group. Crafts, baking, even seeing a movie can all be tied into the book in a fun way.
It's difficult to recommend specific books, because the choice will vary with age, but some of the books that came to us right away are:
Wonder by RJ Palacio
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The BFG by Roald Dahl
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown and the young reader's edition
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and the young adult version
How to Start a Parent-Child Book Club
Start a Parent-Child Book Club
The Story on Parent-Child Book Clubs (pdf)
So for our listeners: have you been part of a grownup/child book group? Feel free to share your experiences with us and our other listeners in the comments below. Thanks!
Michael recommends Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos. This is the true story of two men from very different backgrounds who became friends in the U.S. Navy before the Korean War, and how one pilot makes a huge sacrifice to save the life of the other. Devotion will be published on October 27th.
My recommendation this week is The Mare by Mary Gaitskill, which will be published on November 3rd (so you can preorder it from your local bookstore or get on your library's reserve list). On the surface, this is a story of a girl and a horse. But in fact it is so very much more. Paul and Ginger, a couple who is unable to have children, decide to host a child from the city through the Fresh Air Fund. That child is Velveteen, a girl who has a tough family life. The relationship is fraught with questions about who's helping who, and how Velvet is expected to make the transition between her home life and the country life with Paul and Ginger, makes this a multi-layered novel that is complex but never preachy.