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Young Adult Book Club Bonds Different Ages

Avid readers meet once a month at Whitefish Bay Public Library.

Once a month, kids sixth grade and older dive into conversation over the latest book assigned to the Young Adult Book Club at the .

“There's been a bunch of great books,” said seventh-grader Emma McGovern.

The book club started about five years ago for kids in middle school. Children from one area school would get extra credit for attending the meetings. Eventually, teachers decided they weren't going to give out extra credit for the club and attendance dropped.

Amanda Hyland, the assistant to Head of Youth Services Anni Jones, runs the club. She talks to the kids about which books they'd like to read and goes from there. Jones said about three-fourths of the books are suggestions from students and the rest of the titles are picked out by library staff.

“They really do a good job. Even if they have read it or know someone else who has, they come to us with some good titles,” Jones said.

The Young Adult Book Club meets for one hour, on one Tuesday each month. The hour is usually highlighted with food and activities that go along with the books. Kids have participated in things like scavenger hunts and even had to find their way through a maze of chairs while wearing a blindfold.

The subject material covers a variety of topics. If a student is not interested in a title or feels uncomfortable with a subject, they can always opt to skip a meeting.

Jacob Laundrie is the solo boy in the group of seven regular attendants. Laundrie said in addition to the snacks and activities, he also enjoys how the book club has allowed him to expand beyond the genre of books he normally picks up. “I love to read books and it's really fun because we read a lot of books that I normally wouldn't find out about or read,” He said.

Freshman Abby McGovern has been in the group for two years and enjoys being able to talk about a book and its characters with people around her. “It's a nice way to be able to discuss books that we're reading. I don't really have anything like that through school, so it's nice to be able to meet and talk with other people who like to read,” She said.

The fact that the group is not connected to a class and is outside of school is also refreshing for group members. “It's nice to not always have a test when you finish the book,” said freshman Kendal Gehrke.

Freshman Elizabeth Dean joined the book club a year ago and said it won't take much for other kids to become interested in joining the book club. She encourages others to come for at least one meeting.“I'm sure they'll be persuaded because it's fun,” She said.

The next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. This month's book is Geektastic, Stories From the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucc. It's a collection of short stories for a variety of authors.

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