This week, I hosted a The Green Ember book club at Cathedral Book and Gift for 30 readers aged 7-15. It was one of the most fun book clubs we have had to date. Of all of the books that we have read together, this one, The Hobbit, and Jonathan Roger’s Wilderking books have inspired the most passion in our readers and vibrancy in our discussions. Every reader identified with one or two of the characters and felt strongly attached to them. Because this series is unfinished and each book ends with a cliffhanger, the kids were very animated in their speculations and hopes for the ultimate story resolution.
Given the size of our group, I divided the kids into three teams and rotated them through three activities. In the last half an hour, we came together to feast and present our skits. Several of the families helped with the snacks by bringing green ember jello and chocolate covered raisins.
Discussion for a book like this more or less takes care of itself. The kids are excited, have strong attachments to the characters, and have things that they must discuss with their friends. Each group rotated through the discussion station ready to talk. Regardless, I had Story Cubes with me to make it more fun. Each member would roll a few die and then talk about the book in a way that related to the images on their roll. This allowed us to get beyond the surface discussion and talk about details that could let us go deeper.
I am not the craft mom. I am terrible at crafts. In fact, for this craft, my son had to do all of the prep because I cannot even glue popsicle sticks together properly. Despite not being good at or liking crafts, I knew that with a group of our size and age range, a craft was requisite. I saw this Star Seek idea on my friend Rachel’s blog and borrowed it for our use. I had planned to do regular craft sticks and red ribbon, but ultimately liked the look of mixed colors better. The kids loved the variety and liked customizing their own Star Seek.
The third activity we did was to create commercials or book trailers for the book. We invited the book store staff up to watch these skits and that made it even more fun. The kids love doing skits…. they just do. The big kids, who are too cool to act in the skits, seem to enjoy being narrators, directors, and coaches. The little kids just love the playing that is involved. And they all like watching each other’s skits at the end of the meeting.
Without prompting from me, each of the skits incorporated The Green Ember pledge. I loved seeing how obvious it was to the kids that those words were worth knowing, reciting, and loving.
“My Place Beside You, My Blood For Yours. Till the Green Ember Rises, Or the End of the World.”