It might be a case of popcorn and cupcakes rather than cheese and wine, but children’s book clubs are still about the same thing – getting together with friends to have fun and talk about your favourite reads.
You may have noticed that your local independent bookshop or library has a Kids Book Club running, maybe not just one but a series of clubs for various ages and interests. Typically free, aside from the cost of the book – but you can always share or borrow – often there are snacks included and it’s not uncommon to have a guest appearance from the author. A bit of a book party really!
Ava, who attends the monthly primary years book club at a Berkelouw Bookshop in Leichhardt NSW, goes with a group of friends who share around their copies of the prescribed read and scour the shelves for the back list of every author that visits.
‘I love coming to the book club with my friends,’ she says, ‘we have fun and it’s really good to be able to have the author come and talk to us. We play games and eat the popcorn that’s given to us.’
Ava’s mother Emily, feels that it’s a great way for Ava to find new books to read and share with friends.
According to the 2017 Australian Kids and Family Reading Report (2017) Nearly four in 10 parents (38%) agree that their child has trouble finding books he or she likes, especially as their child grows older. Book clubs can help with this problem.
‘The bookshop does a great job and they make going to book club like going to any other social kids’ event – be that a party or sport – it’s considered fun, not a chore,’ says Emily.
Many local libraries also host book clubs for children and young adults and you can find out about initiatives like summer reading clubs and holiday reading events by contacting your local library or your local council, directly.
Eve, who also gets together with a group of friends each month at Berkelouw Bookshop, says they get a real thrill meeting authors. ‘We had Tim Harris come to our last book club and we’ve also met Deborah Abela. I love to ask the author questions about things they don’t put in the book and if they are writing another one.’
So, if you think this sounds like a great idea, here are a few wonderful bookshops that host book clubs or can point you in the right direction:
NSW – Better Read Than Dead
Vic – The Little Bookroom
SA – Matilda Bookshop
Qld – The Younger Sun
Tas – Fullers Bookshop
WA – Beaufort St Books
If none of these work for you then how about setting up your own book club? A lot of the larger publishers have teachers/reading notes for their kids’ books and the following links would be a great start!
Other than that, you just need a few parents to take turns, a park, cubby house, back-yard, or a lounge room and some book loving friends.