My First Book Club

I recently had the opportunity to take on the responsibility of running my library’s 4th and 5th grade book club. Today I ran my first book club meeting. Turn out was less than stellar–but I had a great discussion with the kids who where there–and I learned some stuff about running book group. Origami Yoda finger puppet

The Book: This month we read Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger. DPSB is the second book in Angleberger’s Origami Yoda Series. Middle schooler Dwight is puppeteer to an origami Yoda finger puppet that many kids in his school turn to for advice.  Dwight takes his Yoda antics too far for some, gets suspended and may be sent to a remedial and disciplinary school. Dwight’s friends unite and write a casefile for the school board that documents his acts of kindness at school. Throughout the casefile we see that Dwight is a neat kid who thoughtfully  and effectively helps those around him with the help of Origami Yoda.

My Review: I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. Angleberger has masterfully created a book (a series actually) that is entertaining and teaches kids some neat things about life (not that all books necessarily need to do that). The casefile portion of the book is written from several characters’ perspective and each has a well developed and distinctive voice. The book is also peppered with fun drawings that add to the story–and are hilarious. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series: The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee.

Book Club: At the top of the hour we set ourselves up with name tags, cookies and juice. Once everyone was seated we started with introductions. I’m still getting to know the kids in the group, so it’s my goal to have a tiny bit of “getting to know you” questions peppered in to each meeting. I asked the kids to tell me their favorite book and favorite cookie. I’ll admit I was also trying to get the temperature on their taste in cookies and books for future meetings. We discussed the book for about 40 minutes. At the end of the meeting we made origami Yodas. Step by step instructions for a simple 5 fold version of Yoda are included in the back of DPSB. We had lots of fun during this activity.

During my discussion prep I got the bright idea to Tweet at @OrigamiYoda to ask for a discussion question. Here’s our exchange:

Ashley K. Wescott ‏@2TheLibrary:

@OrigamiYoda Prepping for a discussion of Darth Paper Strikes back w/4th & 5th graders. Is there a discussion question you recommend?

OrigamiYoda ‏@OrigamiYoda”

@2TheLibrary Imagine there are no jokes or Star Wars references in the book. Now what do you think it’s about?

This question went over very well–and I think the kids thought it was cool that I tweeted to Origami Yoda. Here are a few more discussion questions that went over well:

  • Wonder, our last book, was written from many different perspectives–so is Darth Paper Strikes Back. What do you think of that writing choice? What does it add to the story?
  • What do you think of the brat in Kellen’s skatepark story? Have you ever had a similar experience? What did you think of Origami Yoda’s solution?
  • (Read Harvey’s comment on p. 78) What do you think? Do you think it was Quavando or Origami Yoda’s idea to take donations instead of selling popcorn?
  • What was your favorite chapter in the casefile? Why?
Reflection: I’d definitely recommend Darth Paper Strikes Back for intermediate and middle school book groups. I think kids respond really well to the text and a book as entertaining as DPSB helps to foster a love of reading for the fun of it. My big takeaway from my first discussion is that I need tons of questions on hand. I had about 12 questions total. I could have been really stuck if I had less. With a small group of kids questions can go by fast. It’s kind of like food, I’d rather over prepare and have leftovers than not have enough to serve.
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Filed under Book Club, Chapter Book, Children's Literature

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