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Matching kids and books

I passed out my invitations to the end of the year book club parties today.  We are having a talent show for the 4th graders and they are already planning their acts.  As I stared at the enthusiastic faces of this group of children, I began to wonder what I will see in those same faces this September.  If they are typical, I expect to meet a changed child.  One who no longer blindly accepts my reading suggestions, but who demands evidence that a novel will thrill them at every turn.  They are beginning to "know their own minds," which seems to limit the literary risks they are willing to take.  Combine this with the fact that their school load will now begin to include considerably more required reading and you can find minor uprisings in the group.

After sponsoring the clubs for a few years now, I have finally learned my lesson.  These maturing readers are developing specific preferences.  They are also developing an attitude that "reading for assignment" is boring.  To combat this understanding, we only select books for book club that they think will be fun to read, regardless of the literary merit.  The plan is just to keep them reading and loving it.

For readers in this category I can make a few suggestion.  They seem to be attracted to four major groups of literature.  Below you will find a list with some titles that were loved by the groups. ( FYI-- I do split the groups more on genre lines than age, having middle school book clubs for the following groups rather than by grade.)
  1. Realistic Fiction: Numbering the Stars, The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World, and The Help
  2. Steampunk: Airborn, The Golden Compass,  and Leviathan
  3. Fantasy:  The Alchemyst, The Secret Hour, Magyk and the Night Tourist
  4. Dystopian: Hunger Games, The Eleventh Plague

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