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Battery Park City Tween Book Club: 2013 in Review

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Harlem branch, fireplace in Children's room, window at right open, children reading, April 8, 1910, Digital ID 94628 , New York Public LibraryLast summer, the tweens of Battery Park City formed a book club. Genres were selected by vote each month, and the books were selected based upon their requests and preferences. Everyone was encouraged to finish the book even if it was not to their taste, which added another dimension to the discussion at our meetings. Each meeting closed with a book talk of the upcoming title and an opportunity for book sharing, which allowed everyone to speak about other books that the group might enjoy.

Several of the group members used their book club reads for school assignments and reading logs. However, we largely read for pleasure. Recently, we have discussed book pairings—a fiction with a non-fiction companion or a compare and contrast of two short biographies. We are also exploring the possiblility of reading a series in the upcoming months. The group is open to all young readers, but is recommended for the tweenage—ages 9 to 12 years old.

Here is an overview of the books that we read this year (available formats are noted):

July

  • Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. (print; e-book)
  • Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage: Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now eleven, and her best friend Dale turn detective when the amnesiac Colonel, owner of a caf̌ and co-parent of Mo with his cook, Miss Lana, seems implicated in a murder. (print; audiobook on CD; e-book)

August

  • Doll Bones by Holly Black: Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl. (print; audiobook on CD; e-book; electronic audiobook)
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio: Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student. (print; audiobook on CD; e-book)

Story Hour at Port Richmond, Digital ID 94890 , New York Public LibrarySeptember

  • Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde: When almost-thirteen-year-old Princess Imogene is turned into a frog, she puts into practice lessons from the book, The Art of Being a Princess, as she tries to become her less-than-perfect self again. (print)
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Gaberstein: Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by his hero (the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello), with other students but finds that come morning he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape. (print; e-book)

October

  • Below by Megan McKinlay: On the day Cassie was born, the mayor flipped a lever and everyone cheered as Old Lower Grange was submerged beneath five thousand swimming pools' worth of water and now, twelve years later, Cassie is drawn to the mysterious manmade lake. (print)
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper: Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time. (print; e-book)
  • The Other Felix by Keir Graff: Worrying about his father losing his job and the bully at school, fourth-grader Felix has terrifying dreams of the same monster-filled place every night until he meets someone there who looks and sounds strangely familiar. (print)

NovemberChildren reading at George Bruce, Digital ID 1151200 , New York Public Library

  • Homeless Bird by Gloria Wheland: When thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, she must either suffer a destiny dictated by India's tradition or find the courage to oppose it. (print; large print; audiobook on CD; e-book)

December

  • Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet: When strange and seemingly unrelated events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal. (print; audiobook on CD; electronic audiobook)
  • The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell: Records the courage and self-reliance of an Indian girl who lived alone for eighteen years on an isolated island off the California coast when her tribe emigrated and she was left behind. (print; audiobook on CD; e-book; electronic audiobook)

Here is a sneak peek for January 2014!

The Wright 3 by Blue Balliet: In the midst of a series of unexplained accidents and mysterious coincidences, sixth-graders Calder, Petra, and Tommy lead their classmates in an attempt to keep Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Robie House from being demolished. (print) - January 16th at 5:30 p.m.

Loser by Jerry Spinelli: Donald Zinkoff is a loser, but he doesn't know it. Even when his classmates discover it, Zinkoff is too busy experiencing life to listen to them. (print; e-book) - January 30th at 5:30 p.m.

Our group is always open to new members, and you are welcome to drop into a meeting anytime. Join us for discussion, snacks, and a chance to meet fellow book lovers!

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