Talk It Up! book groups for kids

Many book groups choose to use the Cooperative Children's Book Center Guidelines, developed by Ginny Moore Kruse and Kathleen T. Horning at the University of Wisconsin.

Icebreakers

Start each meeting with an icebreaker. This will assist you in getting to know other group members, and help them to feel more comfortable. Chose an icebreaker that relates to the book you are reading that month.

Business

Once your group is established, you will find you have more and more business items to talk about. You may start gathering particular books for members whose reading tastes you have grown to know. Special events may be coming up at the library that you want to make known. And you want to allow time to make fair decisions on issues that affect the whole group. Make sure to leave time for business. It makes for a richer book group.

Book Discussion

Hopefully this section will take up the largest portion of your time. Using the general questions listed below and discussion guide questions, you should have no problem leading a 20-40 minute discussion.

General questions that can be used for any book

  1. What did you enjoy about this book?


  2. What have you read that is similar to this book?


  3. What are some of the major themes of this book?


  4. What do you think the author was trying to accomplish with this novel?


  5. Who was your favorite character? What did you appreciate about him/her?


  6. Think about one of the minor characters in the story. Why did the author include him/her? 


  7. Is the setting of the story important to the book? In what ways?


  8. Are you satisfied with the ending? Why or why not?


  9. Have you ever experienced anything similar to the action of this novel?


  10. Did you find this book a quick read? Why or why not?


  11. What were your concerns about this book?


  12. What scene do you remember best? Why do you think that is?


  13. If this book was made into a movie, who would you cast in the title roles?


  14. If the book you are discussing has chapter titles, take a second look. Why do you think the author selected those titles? Are they hints to what’s going to come in the chapter? Are there any that didn’t make sense?


  15. Compare the hardcover and paperback covers. Which one do you like better? Why?

Evaluation/rating

Some groups really like to rate a book after the discussion. This can be on a scale ("I give Shadow Spinner 10 stars") or as a written evaluation. Either comes in handy if you are maintaining a website so you can add it as content. Talk with your group about how you want to rank the evaluations.

Book check-out

Have multiple copies in hardcover, paperback and audio, if available, for immediate check out. Group members will be much more likely to read the book if they don't have to make a second trip back to the library to retrieve the book. If you are holding the book group off-site, consider other ways to check out books. If a member doesn't have a card, offer to hold it at the branch location most convenient to them so they can get a card and pick it up.

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library. Send feedback to Katie O'Dell, Youth Services Services Director.