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Tween Tuesday: Feedback from Chat & Chew Book Clubs

In Missouri, we have a state book award for fourth-sixth grade called the Mark Twain Award. This year my library has partnered with seven area elementary schools for a program we call Chat & Chew. Each month we meet with a group of fourth & fifth graders to talk about a selected book from the Mark Twain list (chat) while the kids eat lunch (chew). It's been a lot of fun and the kids have had lots of great feedback about the books we've read so far. I thought I'd share some real tween comments about the books we've read. You'll see the comments grow as we went on-the more Chat & Chew discussions we had, the more the kids wanted to talk about the books.

-"There's a character in this book that everyone can relate to." 
-"I want a teacher like Mr. Terupt."
-"I liked the ending." (spoilers here, so I can't say much-but they all LOVED the ending! :)
-"I hope Mr. Terupt gets a girlfriend in the sequel."
-"Dollar words are interesting."

-Overall the groups loved this book. They were excited it had a sequel, they loved the characters and didn't want to stop talking about this one. I think from the first semester of Chat & Chew meetings, this book was the favorite.

-"It was so funny!"
-"I liked that the hippo pooped on people!!"
(minor spoiler!)-"The hippo guts were really funny!"
-"I was surprised by who did really did it-I thought it was (fill in the blank of every other character in the story-no one guessed it correctly)
-"Summer was kind of mean-I didn't really like her."-There were lots of mixed reactions to Summer, if she was a good friend or not-this led to lots of great discussion.
-"I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next."

-Obviously, the humor and gross out parts of this one made this one a popular pick.

-"I really liked all the girls." (It was fun to talk about which character we thought we were most like)
-"I loved the colors at the start of each chapter and how they related to what was happening in the story." -"The color names were really cool."
-"It was sad but happy at the same time."/"I liked the mix of happy and sad in the story."
-"I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next in the journal."
-"Helen's journal was the best part-I liked the mystery of the journal."
-"The joke about influenza was really mean." (several of the groups pointed this out which really surprised me that they picked up on it so strongly.)
-"I want a Palace Beautiful of my own!"
-"I loved the ending!"-another one I don't want to spoil, but they all loved the ending and thought it was perfect.

-I thought this one would have mostly tween girl appeal, but all the groups had at least one boy in attendance and they liked the book and weren't turned off by the cover. They all said the best part was the journal and wanting to find out what happened next to Helen and her family.

-"Melody is such a great character! She's so smart and funny!"
-"I was really worried at the part with her sister and wondered why Melody was making so much noise." (They were all very concerned at this point in the book and each group mentioned it multiple times.)
-"Some of Melody's teachers didn't treat her well and babied her."
-"It was sad that no one believed that Melody was smart."
-"The part with the trivia contest made me so mad!!!" (There was a lot of emotion surrounding a certain scene in the book that I won't spoil, but it was great to  talk about and hear that the tweens were upset as I was!)
-"In a sequel I think Melody would compete in another trivia contest and show everyone how smart she is."
-"This book made me think about the kids in my school differently and how they're trying to communicate with us."
-"This book made think about standing up to people who are being mean."

-I think Out of My Mind was our second favorite of the semester and it gave us a lot of great discussion. I was really impressed on how thoughtful the discussion was. Each group said it made them think about kids in their school differently and saying hi to them and not being mean.


  1. I love reading the kids' comments on the books. Thanks for sharing those! They're such good critics. :-)

  2. This sounds like a great group! I love the idea of using an awards list for a youth book club...I may have to steal that idea for future meetings :)

  3. Love reading the feedback on Out of My Mind. I think it's an incredible look at a character with a disability, and I always love seeing other people reading it!

  4. I just started a grades 4&5 book club at my library...I was super excited to see this post. Great titles I can add to my potential reads list!! Thanks!


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