What do you get when you combine the hottest tween/teen book with a group of energetic kids and throw in some yummy snacks for good measure? You get a fantastic lunch-hour book club with 18 students discussing Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. You get characters debated, plots unravelled and theories surmised. You get non-stop energy and students glued to their seats when the bell goes. Most of all you get a fantastic way to share a great book with students and their peers.
Randerson’s first book club was a huge success. Students began by writing a reflection of the book. A round table discussion ensued and debates included at what point does Katniss have feelings for Peeta or does she at all? Students agreed that Rue’s death was the hardest to take and almost all felt empathy for Gale as he watched his best friend ‘play’ out the romance on live TV. One student felt Katniss was somewhat cowardly and she backed it up with some strong examples. She was able to show that Katniss was a character of many layers and not all good.
Was this book’s theme too mature for elementary school? That is a debate we have had a few times as Teacher-Librarians. One grade 6 student put it most eloquently. “Hunger Games is most definitely a good book for the mature reader in Gr. 6/7. We are all mature readers and got a lot out of this book.” Another student said Suzanne Collins is the best author ever, I think this even surpasses my love for Harry Potter!”
I want to thank those students that took part. I learned more from our students then I think they did from me. I saw their passion, their empathy, excitement and determination all shine through. I was so touched when every single one thanked me personally for having the book club, for bringing snacks and for letting them say what they truly felt. Those comments were a true gift to me. Thank You!
Next month the Grade 4/5’s are picking the book club title.