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Hey everybody.

We met on August 31 and everyone read books by Patricia Reilly Giff. Since several people read more than one book, I'll just mention the books that we talked about. I'm going to try not to summarize them too much (click the links to go to amazon and read more about each title if you so desire!). Instead I'll try to concentrate on what discussion each title sparked/how people liked the books, etc. I encourage everyone to leave comments if you want to add more!!!

Don't Tell the Girls: A Family Memoir is Giff's book about her family's geneaology and her search for the paternal grandfather she never knew. From what people said about many of Giff's novels, it seems like many of them are based on family stories or have characters that are based on Giff's relatives/ancestors.

Diana: 20th Century Princess (Women of Our Time). This is a biography that Giff wrote about Princess Diana. One thing we discussed at the meeting was how versatile Giff's writing is- she's written juvenile books, chapter books, picture books, YA, non-fiction...

Have You Seen Hyacinth Macaw?. This is a mystery written by Giff in 1981. I found it similar to Cam Jansen, but for a slightly older crowd (3rd-4th grade and up). We talked a bit about whether or not kids mind if stuff is "dated". Some people think it's important to keep things current, but we thought that maybe kids don't really notice that much.

Kidnap at the Catfish Cafe. This is another mystery, one of the Minnie and Max series. It's shelved in the first chapter books at MCPL, but we agreed that it looks like it might be harder. Abbie thought it would be appropriate for 3rd graders and it's a comically written fun story.

All the Way Home. This book has alternating chapters, told by Mariel and Brick. It's appropriate for 4th grade and up and could inspire interest in older kids, making it a good high-low book. Bobby said it reminded him of Walk Two Moons, so that's a possible readalike.

A House of Tailors. This book is about a German girl who is sent to America to live with relatives. It's set in the 1870s and based on Giff's relatives (a German grandmother, I think?).

The Gift of the Pirate Queen. In this book, young Grace O'Malley must deal with a diabetic younger sister and an unwelcome cousin coming over from Ireland. Cousin Fiona tells the girls the story of the pirate queen Grace O'Malley and this helps give Grace strength and courage to deal with her problems.

This sparked a discussion about disease in Giff's books. Gift of the Pirate Queen deals with diabetes; smallpox plays a major part in House of Tailors; in All the Way Home Mariel is a polio survivor... This, along with orphans/missing parents seems to be a major theme in some of Giff's books.

Next Year I'll be Special. This is one of Giff's picture books. In it, the little girl is looking forward to second grade when, unlike her crappy first grade year, everything will be PERFECT!!!

Pictures of Hollis Woods. This seems like a very poignant novel and from the reaction of people talking about it, I would say it seems like one of the favorites that people read.

Other books that people brought but that we didn't get into much discussion about included Lily's Crossing, Maggie's Door, and All About Stacy (New Kids of Polk Street School).

Okey doke, I think that's about it (and I hope I didn't leave anything out). If you have anything to add/discuss, you can leave comments below!
Hi, all.

We met on Thursday, July 27 and our topic was "Books you always wanted to read, but never had". Here's what people read:

Bobby read Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume. As a companion book, he also read The Amazing Life of Birds by Gary Paulsen, which is a book about a boy going through puberty.

Abby (me!) read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. We also discussed some of the other books in the Narnia series. This is the only one I've read, but I'm kind of intrigued to go and read more.

Krista read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. This sparked some discussion about Dahl's other books, notably The Twits.

Anne read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I can't really remember what else we talked about with this one- I think it sparked a discussion about fantasy vs. sci-fi and fantasy elements in sci-fi. Maybe I blocked it out because I really don't like AWIT. ;)

Katy and Judy read The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. One thing I thought was interesting was that they brought different versions of the book with different illustrations. (My personal favorite illustrations for this book are those of Ernest H. Shepard and I think if you haven't seen them, you should try and glance through the book sometime because they are hiLARious!)

Mary read The Giver by Lois Lowry. We talked about a couple of potential readalikes, including City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau and Fish by LS Matthews. (And Mary, if you're reading, I'd be interested to hear what you thought of the end!)

It was a nice discussion and thanks to all who were able to come!! I look forward to seeing everyone on August 31!
Welcome to the SLIS Children's/YA Book Club blog. Here we'll keep track of the books that people read every month and other books that we discuss at meetings. I think it's a nice way for people who maybe can't attend every meeting to still feel connected to the group and still be able to comment about stuff. You should be able to comment whether or not you have a livejournal account. If you don't have a livejournal account, just make an anonymous comment OR you can create your own livejournal account for free. You can comment on a post by clicking on the "Reply" link at the bottom of that post.

People are welcome to make posts about whatever, though I don't think you can make a post unless you have a livejournal account. (And if anyone does want to make an account and you have questions or can't figure something out, let me know! I'm happy to help.)

I hope everyone enjoys the site!