Tuesday, May 29, 2007

MotherTalk Book Review: The Kids' Book Club Book

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The Kids’ Book Club Book by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

This is soooo book! Hip mama that I am, I know that “book” can be IM text slang for cool. Okay, I’m actually a geek; I heard it on NPR. Anyway, take a look at the keypad on your phone and you’ll get what I mean.

Flipping through the pages of my fresh-from-the-envelope review copy, I thought: Wow! Forget the kids, I want an adult version of this for my book club. Turns out authors Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp already wrote that book, and The Kids’ Book Club Book is a follow-up.

This chock-full-of-ideas book is a great resource for parents, teachers, youth group leaders and librarians. It’s also useful for homeschoolers or parents who seek to enhance or extend in-school learning (can you say No Child Left Behind)? The Kids’ Book Club Book highlights a great selection of books that are suitable ages 8-18 at a range of reading levels. It includes succinct summaries as well as author interviews, extension activities, recipes and tips from book club organizers. It also provides related websites and basic information on the film, if one was made based on the book.

I love that they also feature book recommendations from the authors, themselves. As a reader, it’s another way to connect with the author of a favorite book; as a mom, it give me helpful tips as to what books to bring home from the library when I’m there without the boys in tow.

This is a fun book to wander through, but it’s so well indexed, it’s easy to find just what you’re looking for- whether it’s a book title or a recipe. One appendix lists recommended titles broken down by age and genre and another one lists award winning book. Titles featured in The Kids’ Book Club Book are referenced by author, activity, and even recipes (so cool, it’s worth mentioning twice). It couldn’t be any more user-friendly.

And, natch, if you seek to start a book club, this book is your one-stop how-to shop. The authors share tips from book group leaders around the country. They weigh in on everything from where to hold it to how to keep to going. They also provide advice about potential stumbling blocks, like mother-daughter groups that can’t agree on titles. The lovely moms yearn to introduce classics while the hip daughters crave more contemporary titles.

On a personal note, this book will turn our trip to the Printer’s Row Book Fair into a true treasure hunt. We’ve also garnered a few ideas for the Harry Potter party we will inevitably host this summer

P.S. Smartypants just highjacked my book after I pointed out a cool activity for Phantom Tollbooth, the book his LA class is reading right now. Let’s hope he remembers to bring it home before the school year ends next week.