Friday, October 05, 2007

Big Changes

Ok, I've had a few people ask questions, and I feel I need to clarify a few things. Yes, this blog belongs to a real book group that meets in person. My name is Stephanie Ford. I have a MA in children's literature, and several years ago, two of my friends who happened to be take time off from teaching to stay at home with their kids told me that they wanted to keep up on the world of children's literature even though they weren't currently teaching. The three of us came up with the idea to start a monthly book group to discuss children's literature because we get so much more out of books after discussing them. Somehow I ended up in charge and here we are a few years later, still going strong.

I want all the members to have a say in what we read so about every six months we vote on potential topics and then a different person hosts each of the topics we've selected and chooses a booklist accordingly.

What does this mean to all of you reading this, who may not be members of the book group? Well, we seems to have lots of outside readers (which I LOVE) and several members have moved away and follow along through the blog, and I want all of you to get something out of this blog too. ANY OF YOU ARE WELCOME TO READ ALONG WITH US. IN FACT I ENCOURAGE YOU TO! This is where the change comes in to play: from now on, I won't just be posting our monthly reading lists, I will be posting at least a few discussion questions so even if you can't be present at our meetings, you can use the questions to prod some deeper thinking or you could even use them to start a discussion with your own children's literature book club. Hopefully the questions will also help the member who do come to our meetings be prepared.

So without further ado, here are some questions prepared by our wonderful host this last month, Amy, for our Linda Sue Park author study:

Something to think about while reading:
Throughout the books, Park seems to dwell a lot on the idea of traditions: the good, the bad, what’s changing, what’s not. Another big theme for her is family.

Kite Fighters (2000)
  • Do you think it was honorable to use the cutting line?
  • What did you think of the boy king as a character?
  • What did you think of the relationship between the brothers? The brothers and their father?
A Single Shard (2001; 2002 Newbery)
  • What makes this one worthy of the Newbery?
  • Why is it so easy to identify with/care about Tree-ear?
  • How does Park bring the time period alive for her readers?
  • I learned a lot by reading this book (and by reading When My Name Was Keoko) without feeling like I was reading a history book. How does Park use the history to enhance the story and the story to teach the history?
When My Name Was Keoko (2002)
  • Was it easier to identify with Sun-hee or with Tae-yul? Why?
  • What did you think about the family relationships in the novel? Between Sun-hee and Tae-yul? Between the children and their father? Between their father and their uncle? The uncle and the children?
  • How does Park bring the time period alive for her readers?
  • How does this book compare with A Single Shard? Which do you like better and why?
Points of interest on this novel: Park’s father told her about receiving the rubber ball, gathering the pine roots, tasting gum given from soldiers. Her mother was in the same situation as Sun-hee: Father vice-principal, best friend Japanese son of principal. Her Japanese name was Kaneyama Keoko.

Project Mulberry (2005)
  • This is Park’s only contemporary setting so far. What did you think?
  • What did you think of the breaks in which Park converses with Julia?

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