Our book club is composed of about 20 students in seventh and eighth grades (at the academy, in Chicago). The students are always busy with schoolwork and extracurricular activities, but they find time to tackle the club's extra reading.
Our club meets for about 20 minutes during the students' lunch period Mondays and Thursdays.
Chapters to be read are assigned each week, but a student is welcome to attend even if he or she hasn't finished the section. Every student's opinion is important during our discussions.
After discussing a book over the course of several weeks, our club occasionally watches the film version of the book. An excellent example of a great film-and-book pairing was "To Kill a Mockingbird." This film helped bring the characters alive for the students.
Our favorite book was "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. We loved the story and fell in love with the characters.
We didn't like "The Red Pony" by John Steinbeck, because the plot was slow-moving and the characters were very hard to relate to.
Books we loved: "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson, "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane and "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the Moon Marigolds" by Paul Zindel.
Our next book: "The Pearl" by John Steinbeck.
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