Why Have a Book Club?
Selecting Your Group
Activities can be a fun way to supplement your book discussion, but they don't have to be elaborate. Below are some ideas to spark your imagination.
Author Contact: Arrange an in-person author visit, have a phone or video call (Skype) conversation, write a letter to author, look at author's website, etc.
Bookmark or Trading Cards: Participants can make their own bookmarks or facilitators can use a template to make a bookmark or trading card that can be a memento of the book club.
Free Homemade Bookmarks, Crafts and Gifts
Trading Card Project
Ciphers and Codes: Create a secret message or try Morse code.
American Cryptogram Association
Crafts: While fun, crafts can be time-consuming to set up and to actually do within the time frame of the discussion. One option is to simply pass out the directions for the kids to do the craft at home. One example of this is the yarn doll described in Esperanza Rising. Some paperback editions have the directions for making the doll in the back of the book.
Food Connections: Sometimes a certain food is a central part of the book (like Something on a Waffle) and kids enjoy eating or even preparing that food during book club. It's also fun to hand out recipes that can be tried at home.
Games and Artifacts: Highlight an activity or object from the time period of the book's setting. (Play hopscotch, bring a quilt, etc).
Guest: Invite a visitor who has some expertise and/or experience related to your book.
Library Scavenger Hunt: Adapt a generic scavenger hunt for your building.
Maps and Photos: Plot out a route, solve a puzzle, or see photos of places or artwork central to the story (as in 13 Little Blue Envelopes).
Multimedia: Watch or listen to something (movie, DVD, CD, YouTube clip) related to the book, such as an interview or "how-to" segment.
Names: Kids can translate their names into another language or hieroglyphics.
Quizzes, Word Finds and Puzzles: Kids enjoy trivia (use an almanac or the Guinness Book of World Records to find questions) and word finds and crossword puzzles related to the book. Or have them guess the first lines of well known books, or play mad libs.
Wacky Web Tales
Secret Message: Create a "fill in the blanks" message and have children use the HCL catalog to find the answers and decode the message.
1. Chronicles of Prydain 1 by Lloyd Alexander: The of Three.
2. book by Elizabeth Enright: Thimble .
3. American Girl book by Ann Howard Creel: to Nikki.
4. book by Johanna Hurwitz: The Just Desserts .
Message: 3 for particpating in 1 4 this 2 .
Secret Message Option 2:
Write a message and cut up the words. Give each person one part and have them work together to put the words in the right order and thus decode the message.
Example: I ho pe y ou lik ed b ook clu b th is y ear!
Secret Word: Choose a word from the book. You can either write it down or just have it in your head. The first person who says the word during the course of the discussion wins a small prize (pencil, sticker, etc.). It can be a vocabulary word from the book (like trilobite from The Ghost of Fossil Glen) but it doesn't have to be.
updated February 2012
M. Severson, G. Cramer, J. Kreuser