Thursday, October 9, 2014

AuThursday: Our Book Clubs Report In

 At the September 26 meeting of the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Book Club, six educators gathered in Moorhead to discuss Smile &Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. The following is a summary of their discussion.

As a starting point, our group discussed how accessible Raina Telgemeier's books are and what wide an audience they have drawn. It's no mistake though, as smiles and siblings are both universal topics that Telgemeier deals with artfully. We loved her style as a graphic novelist, as well as her humor and honesty about friendships and how things change. We thought Smile to be a perfect book for late elementary all the way to high school. 

We shared how graphic novels are becoming more commonly accepted and the growing number of graphic novel memoirs including El Deafo by Cece Bell, The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley, and March: Book 1 by John Lewis, but how there is still work to be done to educate kids, parents, and teachers on the benefits of these stories. Graphic novels, like any form of storytelling, contain messages worth knowing. Along these lines a few members shared their enthusiasm for Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art which explores theoretical ideas about comics as an art form and medium of communication.

We also talked at length about the importance of helping students find access points for success as readers, and also that even for our advanced readers, not everything they read has to be a challenge if we want to help students develop into lifelong readers.

Everyone was able to share, and the group as a whole left with a lot of new book recommendations to consider. We are looking forward to our next meeting as many people who were not present at our first gathering noted they would be able to attend.

NB: The next meeting is October 27 to discuss The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm.

The Grand Forks Book Club met on Sept. 25 for a discussion of the Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J. K. Rowling) book The Cuckoo's Calling. All members present enjoyed the book and felt that Rowling was successful in both writing an engaging crime novel and using a style that seemed appropriate of a "male" author.

NB: The next meeting is October 22 to discuss Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.