Fun Ideas from Kids' Book Clubs
We’re pleased to share these terrific activity and recipe ideas from youth book clubs across the country. Please check back frequently, and if your book club has enjoyed an activity or recipe, please let us know!
After discussing Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, the second and third graders in the Lit Blitz Book Club of Hoschton, Georgia, made and gobbled down their own "spiders." Facilitator Pam Freed says this snack is easy to make and one of her favorites.
Fern's Spider Cakes
Pre-packaged chocolate cupcakes - 1 per child (Drake's Ring Dings work well)
Pick a Theme!
A monthly reading theme can generate excitement around topics, holidays and other special events, and provide an opportunity for your club to plan field trips and related activities. Let these book club “theme” ideas inspire you!
From the Margaret Mace School Book Club, North Wildwood, New Jersey:
Selecting themes gives groups flexibility in choosing titles, especially helpful when the ages of group members vary widely. Martinelli explains, “If the interests of the older and younger readers differ greatly, we split the group, each selects its own texts, and the adults participate in the group of their choice.”
World War II: A Child's Perspective
“Our club explored the effects of World War II in our county of Cape May, New Jersey,” says facilitator Deborah Martinelli. “Both facilities we visited actively guarded our coasts throughout the war. Members of our club were able to sit in planes and board different vessels housed at each facility. Through the information provided by our gracious guides, the students learned first-hand accounts of the part played by these facilities during WWII.”
Out of This World: The Influence of Star Wars
“The exhibit assembled by George Lucas was nothing short of mesmerizing,” says Martinelli. “The members of our club examined all things ‘Star Wars’: the actual scale models used in the films, the science of robotics, and the costumes and figures of their favorite characters. The trip was a fitting illustration of our reading.”
From the Backyard Book Club at the Lincoln Heritage Public Library in Dale, Indiana
A variety of reading levels and interests was making it difficult to select one book that was appropriate for all members, and acordint to Rau, this method proved successful. “It works well to choose a theme, and to let group members choose their own books within that theme,” says Rau.
“In honor of Halloween, we played Go Away Green Monster Bowling with pins made out of soda bottles, and made Halloween paperbag puppets with yarn, markers, sequins, and other supplies," says Rau. "We also played Author Bingo using facts about the children's authors they had read."
At the William Jeanes Memorial Library in Lafeyette Hills, Pennsylvania, the fourth- and fifth-graders of the Bookworms Book Club learned about Vietnamese culture when they discussed Carolyn Marsden’s When Heaven Fell, about a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl whose American aunt comes to visit. Book club facilitator Beth Hargis shared her activities and crafts with us:
Harry Potter Treats for Muggles and Wizards
We’re savorimg Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and we've been hearing from book club members and readers across the country with a renewed interest in all things “Harry Potter”.
We asked Harry Potter aficionado Amber Lowery, who facilitates the Leaky Cauldron Book Club at the Lakeview Public Library in Peoria, Illinois, for treats to serve with a Harry Potter discussion. Lowery shared a few recipes from Magical Munchies for Muggles to Make, the cookbook she compiled for the library’s book clubs.
For more terrific recipes from the pages of the Harry Potter books, and to learn how to make sorting hats, potions, parchment, and more, see the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince chapter in The Kids' Book Club Book. Also see our recipe for Treacle Tart in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone chapter of The Book Club Cookbook.
Hagrid offers Harry dandelion juice at his hut when Harry is grieving at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and dandelion juice appears in other Harry Potter books as well.
Pour juice into pitcher. Add bottle of ginger ale. Serve right away!
Yield: 8 (8-ounce) servings
Lowery says, “Pumpkin pasties are a treat that Harry and
Ron frequently enjoy on their
Note: If you’re not using homemade piecrust, make sure to buy refrigerated – not frozen – piecrusts. Unlike frozen piecrusts, which generally come pre-formed in a pie tin, refrigerated piecrusts come rolled in a box. Allow the refrigerated piecrusts to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before unrolling.
This recipe calls for pre-mixed pumpkin pie filling. If you’d prefer to make homemade pumpkin pie filling follow the directions on a can of plain pumpkin.
Yield: 12 pasties
Panning for Gold in California
When they read Karen Cushman’s The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, about a young girl whose family relocates from Massachusetts to California during the Gold Rush, the Reading Maniacs mother daughter book club of Los Angeles, California, wanted to try some activities related to the book. Mom Nancy Zimble placed small gold sequins in a tin of sand and added water. The girls swirled the tin to get rid of the sand and water and keep the "gold". “This was to simulate how hard it would be to find gold,” says Zimble. The moms and daughters discussed how gold was discovered, what it was worth, and how few people got rich -- and how much they lost -- while trying.
At Loudoun County’s Ashburn Library in Ashburn, Virginia, the Guys Read book club discussed Jon Scieszka's Knights of the Kitchen Table. Club coordinator Tony Carmack shared his menu for the meeting:
“Since Jon Scieszka also wrote, The Stinky Cheese Man, we had a 'cheesey' theme, with Ritz crackers with cheese and a taste ‘dare.’ I brought some Limburger cheese and had the boys try that if they were brave enough. Boy, did it stink. But once the rind was peeled away, it was fairly benign--even mild.”