Junior Critics Book Club is for kids in 5th, 6th and 7th grade.
We discussed Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo at our meeting in February. We had a great discussion about how Raymie’s friendships changed her – and helped her deal with not having her father in her life. Our next Junior Critics meeting is on Monday, March 20 at 4:30 pm. Our next book is Donuthead by Sue Stauffacher.
We read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead in January. Our critics LOVED the book, but sadly our meeting was canceled because of bad weather.
In December, we met to discuss Rain Reign by Ann Martin. We talked about Rose’s obsessions, her love of homophones, and how she dealt with being different from the people around her.
Our Junior Critics had their first meeting of the school year in October. We talked about Skellig by David Almond, a book that many of our members found challenging. After an interesting discussion about friendships, siblings, home schooling, and Skellig’s identity, we played a few rounds of WHAT’S THAT.
At our last Junior Book Club meeting of the school year, we all book-talked our favorite books. We ended with games and snacks and a FREE book.
We met in May to discuss The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. We all loved this book (almost as much as we hated Ada’s mom!). We talked about how Ada was mistreated for such a long time, and how that made it difficult for her to accept Miss Smith’s love and caring. And we played many rounds of WHAT’S THAT.
We voted on our favorite books from the past 9 months.
First place: Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Second place: Legend by Marie Lu
Third Place: The War That Changed My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Next Junior Book Club meeting is Monday, June 20th at 4:30 pm. We will all be booktalking a favorite book.
Junior Critics met in April to discuss The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. We all loved this award-winning story of twin high school basketball stars, and enjoyed the rhythm of the verse. We ended with a few rounds of WHAT’S THAT. Our next Juniot Critics meeting is Monday, May 16 at 4:30 pm. Our next book: The War That Changed My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.
Junior Critics met in March to discuss A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book, so I was gratified to see that it got a perfect rating from everyone in the group. We talked about the quirky cast of characters and their many imperfections. Everyone enjoyed the humor in this book, especially all the diplomas that Zoe’s father earns from Living Room University. We ended with several rounds of WHAT’S THAT. Our next Junior Critics Book for National Poetry Month: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Our next meeting: Monday, April 18 at 4:30 pm.
Junior Critics met in February to talk about Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The book got a perfect score – and rave reviews – from everyone. We had a great discussion about bullying and friendship and empathy. Everyone liked the fact that this story was told from multiple points of view, which helped us understand what motivated different characters to act the way they did. Next Junior Critics meeting: Monday, March 28 at 4:30 pm. Next book: A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban.
In January, we met to discuss Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. We enjoyed this powerful story of tragedy and transformation, and we fell in love with the main character, Willow Chance. We talked about how Willow brought together a group of strangers – and created her own family. We ended with WHAT’S THAT and THE GREAT WIND BLOWS. Our next book: Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Our next Junior Critics meeting: Monday, February 22 at 4:30 pm.
In December, we met to discuss Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyea. Several of our book club members were anxious to read this sequel (since they loved the first book). Reviews were positive – and we ended the year with a particularly thoughtful discussion about this inspiring teacher, and the students whose lives he changes. We played The Great Wind Blows and wished each other a Happy New Year! Next Junior Critics Meeting: Monday, January 11 at 4:30 pm. Next Book: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan.
In November, we met to discuss Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. Some of our critics found the story a little hard to follow, but everyone enjoyed the quirky characters. Next meeting is Monday, December 14 at 4:30 pm. Next book: Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyea.
In October, we discussed Legend by Marie Lu. Everyone loved this dystopian tale – and grew attached to the two main characters. Several of our critics couldn’t wait to read the sequel! We ended with several rounds of WHAT’S THAT.
Junior Critics met in September to discuss Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt. The book got very high ratings from nearly everyone. We discussed how it feels to be misunderstood, and how challenging the main character’s home life was. We ended with WHAT’S THAT and THE GREAT WIND BLOWS. Our next Junior Critics meeting is on Monday, October 19th at 4:30 pm. The book we are reading is Legend by Marie Lu.
The last Junior Critics Book Club meeting for the school year was in June. We had fun listening to all the books talks (great job, everyone!!) and playing charades. We voted on our favorite books of the year. Wonder by R.J. Palacio came in first and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein came in second. At the end of the meeting, everybody picked out a free book. HOPE EVERYONE HAS A HAPPY SUMMER!
We met in April to discuss Inside Out & Back Again. We talked about what it would feel like to be forced to leave the only home you’ve ever know, and how difficult immigrating to Alabama was for Ha and her family. We ended with two rounds of WHAT’S THAT.
In March, we met to discuss Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea — and we also talked briefly about Wonder. The kids loved BOTH books – and we had a spirited conversation about guilt and secrets — and how much the students in Mr. Terupt’s class changed throughout the story. Next month is POETRY MONTH so we are reading Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. It’s a Newbery Honor Book and a winner of the National Book Award.
In February, we read Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Sadly, because of the snow, our meeting was cancelled. Next Junior Critics Book Club is Monday, March 16 at 4:30 pm. Our next book: Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea. We’ll spend the first part of the meeting discussing Wonder.
In January, we read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. The group was very enthusiastic about this strange story of friendship and time travel. We all enjoyed figuring out the mysterious notes!
In December, we read I, Even Funnier by James Patterson. We talked about comedy, friendship and bullying. Almost everyone enjoyed this story about Jamie Grimm and his dreams of being the best stand-up comic in the world.
In November, Junior Critics Book Club met to discuss 11 Birthdays, by Wendy Mass. This book got one of the highest ratings ever! We spent a lot of time chatting about what it would be like to have a do-over day. We talked about Amanda and Leo’s friendship, the magical elements of the story, and how we felt about SpongeBob balloons! We ate brownies and Popcorners and played several rounds of What’s That. Everybody got to pick out a free book.
Our next book: I Even Funnier by James Patterson. Next meeting date: Monday, December 15 at 4:30 pm
At October’s Junior Critics Book Club, we enjoyed apples, yogurt, chips and cupcakes – and some deliciously festive graveyard brownies in honor of Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Award winner, The Graveyard Book. Most of us rated the book a 5 out of 5, although one Junior Critics gave it a 0 (he did confess, however, that he hadn’t actually finished the book). One of our Critics wore a witch’s hat – just to put us in the mood. We talked about Nobody Owens and how the entire graveyard community helped to raise him. We discussed the merits of fading and dreamwalking – and what it would be like to dance the Macabray.Our next book: Eleven Birthdays by Wendy Mass. Next meeting date: Monday, November 17 at 4:30 pm.
We met in September to discuss Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord. The book got top ratings from many of our book club members. We talked about life on an island and whether it was fair of the islanders to take in foster kids (since they had an ulterior motive). We introduced ourselves (welcome to our new members!), played games and ate brownies and fruit! Yum!
In June, we had our final Junior Critics meeting of the year. We discussed The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman. Reactions were enthusiastic – and we had a great conversation about the pros and cons of a machine that does your work for you. We talked a lot about friendships and cliques in middle school, and how some people are not at all what they seem. We ended with “What’s That?” and “The Great Wind Blows.” Everyone took home a FREE book!
In April, we celebrated National Poetry Month by reading Diamond Willow by Helen Frost. Most people really enjoyed both the story and the unusual form of this book – and found the hidden messages particularly fun. We talked about spirits and reincarnation, and how close some people are to their pets. We played WHAT’S THAT and THE GREAT WIND BLOWS. Next Junior Critics Book Club meeting: Monday, June 2 at 4:30 pm. Next book: The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman. This will be our FINAL meeting of the year. We’ll be on break through the summer, but will start meeting again in September.
In March, we met to discuss the Newbery-medal winning book, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Most people loved this Newbery-medal winning book about a sensitive and artistic silverback gorilla who is confined to a small “domain” at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. We discussed family and friendship and ate bananas, apples, yogurt and homemade toffee bars. We ended with two rounds of What’s That. Next Junior Critics Book Club meeting: Monday, April 21 at 4:30 pm. Next book (for poetry month): Diamond Willow by Helen Frost.
In February, Junior Critics Book Club met to discuss Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. We talked about Kek’s journey from Africa to America, and what this country might feel like to an outsider. We had homemade cookies – like Kek did – and played two rounds of What’s That. Next Junior Critics Book Club meeting: Monday, March 10 at 4:30 pm. Next book: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
In January, we met to discuss A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff. Many kids found the book very tricky to figure out, and we spent a long time discussing how different characters were connected – and the various surprises and secrets that were revealed. We ate cheese ‘n crackers and toffee bars with a s’more topping (inspired by the s’more cake that Cady made) and played “What’s That?” and “The Great Wind Blows.” Next Junior Critics Book Club Meeting: Monday, February 10 at 4:30 pm. In honor of black history month, we’re reading Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate.
We met in December to discuss I Funny by James Patterson. This was a group selection. We talked about how the main character used humor to make friends and to avoid dealing with his feelings. Most people thought Jamie was a really likable character – and enjoyed his bravery and all of his jokes! We ended with What’s That and The Great Wind Blows. Our next Junior Critics meeting is Monday, January 13 at 4:30 pm. Next book: A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff.
We met in November to discuss Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. We talked about cynics and divorce – and what it means to be a superhero. We played 2 rounds of What’s That and ate donuts (which Ulysses would have loved!). Next Junior Critics Book Club: Monday, December 16 at 4:30 pm. Next book: I, Funny by James Patterson (this was the book requested by several group members!).
In October, we read Skellig by David Almond. We debated the pros and cons of home-schooling and discussed Skellig’s identity (man? angel? bird?). We had some yummy Halloween treats: graveyard brownies and brains (well, flan in the shape of brains!!). We started with two truths and a lie and ended with “The Great Wind Blows.” Next meeting: Monday, November 18 at 4:30 pm. Next book: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. Pick up a book today!