Monday, January 14, 2013

Global Studies Book Club

One of the great pleasures of my job is being able to do extra activities with the kids along with our usual library curriculum. Every winter, when the weather is damp and cold, I run one or two lunch recess books club relating to our school's Global Studies focus.

This year the 2nd grade book club is reading Andrea Cheng's The Year of the Book, a thoughtful work that received a glowing New York Times review. This type of book is ideal for our gifted readers - it is completely age appropriate yet quite challenging. It raises many ethical and social issues that students can connect to and grapple with. Cheng is also an author whose own background many of our students can understand: the daughter of Hungarian immigrants, she's learned to appreciate Chinese culture through her husband, whose parents came to the US from China. 

In our discussions, I've noticed that some students were drawn in by the universal topics of friendship and conflict discussed in The Year of the Book, while others find the specific Chinese/American cross-cultural issues resonate more with them due to their own experiences. Either way, when we all get together to have a discussion, it is enlivened by all these different perspectives!

Anna, the main character, is very artistic and creative. Today two of our book club members surprised and impressed the rest of us by showing up today having sewn their own drawstring bags, just as Anna does in the first chapter! (There are directions on the back cover if you'd like to make one too!)

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