September Grades 5-6 Book Club: The Wednesday Wars

For September's Book Club, we read The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. Ian, Logan and Mark were present. This is what we discussed.

1. Why is Holling convinced Mrs. Baker hates him?

-Because she's always giving him bad looks
-She's gives him the stink eye.

2. Mrs. Baker says that Shakespeare "is never boring to the true soul." What does she mean by that remark...what is a "true soul"?

-Someone who is kind and genuine.
-Lying was prohibited in Shakespeare's time.
-A pure soul.
-Slightly imperfect because no one is perfect.

3. What is it about Shakespeare that Holling comes to appreciate?

-Holling sees relations between his own life and things that happen in the books/plays
-He might feel like he's similar to Shakespeare

4. How do the Shakespearean plays Holling reads reflect the events in his life?

-In Hamlet, the Danish prince was trying to find himself. Holling's sister intended to go to California to find herself but only made it to Minneapol…

October Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse. Now she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods. But this summer brings a lot of big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself unexpectedly falling for another girl at camp. To top it all off, Melly’s not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock n’ roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart?

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona,…

May Grades 5-6 Book Club: Between Shades of Gray

For May's Book Club, we read Between Shades  of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Anthony, Claire, JT, Madison, Maida, and Reagan were present. Here's some of what we talked about, with guidance from the author's book website.

As the novel opens, Lina explains that though the signs were in place, she has little understanding that her parents had planned to attempt to escape Lithuania. What can be inferred about her understanding of the political climate in her country?

Lina’s mother remains calm throughout the roundup of her family; how does her family benefit from this?

When Jonas observes his mother smashing her beloved china and crystal before they depart their home, he asks her why she is destroying these items. She replies, “Because I love them so much.” (p. 18) Do you consider this an act of rebellion? In your opinion, is her reaction appropriate? In what ways is she trying to control the situation?

As Lina’s family is first placed in the truck to take them to the trains, they mee…

April Grades 5-6 Book Club: Six of Crows

For April's Book Club, we read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.  Anthony, Claire, JT, Madison, Maida, Reagan and Ryan were present. Here is a little of what we discussed, guided by the discussion questions. 

How do the characters—Kaz and his crew of five—differ from one another? Start, perhaps, with each one's defining characteristics; then consider...
  ♦ their individual motivations
  ♦ their skills (what talent each brings to the heist)
  ♦ their past histories
  ♦ how each views the society they live in, the job at hand, and one another.

Do you have any favorites within the Dregs? Is there one you relate to or sympathize with more than any of the others?

Six of Crows is set in the same world as Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy. If you've read any of the books in that trilogy, how does this one compare? If you haven't, was it hard to find your footing at first?

Did you enjoy the book's structure—a story told through five different characters? Do the differing vo…

May Grades 5-6 Book Suggestions

Between Shades of Grayby Ruta Sepetys

Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life -- until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?

Crooked Kingdomby Leigh Bardugo

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. …

March Grades 5-6 Book Club: Grenade

For March's Book Club, we read Grenade by Alan Gratz. Anthony, Claire, Lillian, Maida, and Reagan were present. This is some of what we talked about, based on questions from

1. Did you like the beginning of the book, with action-packed, dramatic introductions to Hideki and Ray?

-I liked the part where the Japanese soldier threw a grenade and it bounced back on him.
-And it exploded him.
-I liked it because it didn't take a long time to get to the action
-I liked it because there were two characters who were on different sides

2. Did you like Hideki and Ray when you were first introduced to them? What's the first word that comes to mind to describe your first impression of each young man? 

-Hideki=wimp. Ray=wimp
-I liked Ray better.
-Hideki=young. Ray=wimp

3. Have you read other WWII books? If so, did they take place in the "Pacific theater" of the war? 

No one could remember a Pacific-area WWII book that they had read.

4. Did you like Ray…

April Grades 5-6 Book Club Suggestions

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom. 

Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history-that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper's great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made-and then broke-a contract with a malefactor…