RWD: Book Groups with a Twist

I love movies. Since I was a kid I was fascinated with the silver screen. I loved the actors, the glamour, the costumes but more importantly I loved the story. I would watch science fiction, action, Merchant Ivory films anything with a great story. I also loved reading great stories in different genres as well.

While in my capacity as a programming librarian I was always trying to figure out how to engage kids with book groups. Then it dawned on me one day: Why not try to combine my favorite things, movies and reading?

That is when RWD was created. I got the idea from looking at my old VHS player’s controls. RWD in the case of the book group stands for Read. Watch. Discuss. I choose a different book based on the season, new movies that are coming out and old favorites. For example this time of year I would pick something creepy like Roald Dahl’s The Witches, R.L Stines’ Goosebumps or Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

The format is simple. You choose a book and have the kids read it at least a few weeks ahead of time. We opt to buy multiple copies of the books and make them available in tandem with our advertising. We then set aside about two hours for watching the movie with time for discussion.

In the past I used to have a guided questions to ask the kids about the book and film differences but I have found that many times the kids have several opinions and they are very excited to start discussing the movie and book.  I still bring a guide just in case we have new attendees who are a little shy to share.

This book group has been a blast and has challenged the attendees to be critical thinkers, learn how adaptation works and contribute to the community with an exchange of ideas.

Here a few suggestions for book groups:

  • The Watson’s Go to Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • Mathilda by Roald Dahl
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Krishna Grady, Lower School Librarian at The Lovett School in Atlanta, GA. I love leading programs that utilize the A in STEAM especially when they involve musical theatre.

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