As some of you will know, Book Chase is the book club I have with my nieces and nephews. I must check with my eldest niece, who chronicles each one, how long we’ve been doing it now, but it’s a good few years. I’ve three nieces and two nephews, who are now aged between 16 and 10. Attendance varies, but there’s usually four of them plus me. Because reading ability and interest is very different depending on age, interest etc., it’s always been our rule that everyone brings something with them that they have read in the last month. It can be a book, a comic, a magazine, an annual, anything that they’ve read and want to talk about. As my littlest niece was very little when we started, we’ve always gone in reverse age order – Pickle has always enjoyed kicking off proceedings!
Sometimes I live tweet as we go, but I wanted to be more ‘present’ with the kids, and encourage them to engage more with each other’s choices, asking questions and so on; I didn’t think I’d set a very good example if I was on my phone a lot of the time. It’s a nice think to write up as a post, anyway.
This month we had a good range of books, and they all scored a minimum of 4 stars (out of 5).
Pickle (10) is a huge Tom Gates fan, and she enjoyed this annual (which her sister gave her) as it had a good mixture of story and activities. It got the coveted 5 stars! Boo (12) enjoyed Blackbird, which is quite a dark murder mystery – exactly her kind of thing, she’s not one for light and fluffy. It’s by ND Gomes, and comes out in mid-November. That was a 4 star read. For Punk (13), the Thor graphic novel scored a very high 4.5 stars (I’m not sure if he’s ever awarded anything a 5, I’ll get CJ to check her records!) He enjoyed the surprises and twists in the story; he was so busy focusing on one thing, he’d forget to think about something else, and bam! it’d sneak up on him. CJ is part way through Fangirl, and is enjoying matching the characters to the artwork of them all inside the front cover of the book. The Murderer’s Ape was my pick, and I think it’s probably one of the best and most interesting MG book I’ve read in ages. It kept my attention throughout, despite being a whopper of a book.
We also incorporate bookish activities into our club. Sometimes it’s a field trip to a library or a book shop, sometimes it’s crafting or acting out scenes from a play. This month, we channeled our Back to School emotions into a poem!
The kids have a notebook each, which they decorated however they felt like. I think they all pretty amazing. Their poems were brilliant too. We had an acrostic on the word SCHOOL, a lament for an old school blazer, rhyming couplets on why school and everyone in it is annoying, and a kind of colourful word cloud on words associated with school. The acrostic had me in stitches! They were definitely all missing their summer holiday freedom, but we had a lot of fun reading the poems out.
Next month, we’re going to do something inspired by the change of season. I’m looking forward to it already.