Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: Ten Books I Want to Read with My Book Club

*Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish*

I’m in the planning stage where I’m starting to pick out next year’s books for my two book clubs.  I keep a running list of books that I’d like to use in the future, but here are a few of the highlights.  Some are even being used in 2016!

     Dead End in NorveltDead End in Norvelt– Jack Gantos

The Fairy-Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, #1)

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives– Michael Buckley

The Fourteenth Goldfish

The Fourteenth Goldfish– Jennifer L. Holm

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp– Kathi Appelt

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library– Chris Grabenstein

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

A Sick Day for Amos McGee– Erin Stead

Bridget's Beret

Bridget’s Beret– Tom Lichtenheld

Good Dog, Carl

Good Dog, Carl– Alexandra Day

The Day-Glo Brothers

The Day-Glo Brothers– Chris Barton

Imogene's Last Stand

Imogene’s Last Stand– Candace Fleming


The One Liner Book Review: February Edition

I realized that I haven’t done a lot of book reviews lately (on my blog or Goodreads).  I’ve been reading, just not talking about it.

Here’s another secret: I’m not a fan of writing book reviews.  It’s tricky for me to talk about a book beyond “I like it,” “I hate it,” “Not a fan,” “THIS IS THE WORST BOOK EVAR!,” or “OMGYOUMUSTREADTHISORIWILLNEVERSPEAKTOYOUAGAIN!”

Thus, we have the birth of the One Liner Book Review!  Every month, I’ll (try) to post one liner reviews of books I read the previous month.  And by one liner reviews, I mean just one line to give my thoughts on the book.

There is a good chance it will turn into two liner and three liner reviews.  Just saying.

February selections:

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)

1.) The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

About damn time I read it and I loved it!  Mrs. Coulter gives me the heebie-jeebies.


2.) You by Caroline Kepnes

Gave me nightmares, you have been warned.

A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)

3.) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Re-read for book club.  Charles Wallace is awesome.

Stay for the Food: Hot Chocolate a la Book Club

I swear I’m capable of making more than hot chocolate.  It just worked out that the two recipes I’ve shared so far are hot chocolate recipes.

Our library has two monthly book clubs for kids (click here for more about that) and instead of having a traditional book club meeting in December, we have a party.  There are games, free books, shenanigans, and the now infamous Hot Chocolate Bar.

I found this recipe on Pinterest three years ago and it has become the centerpiece of the book club parties.  This recipe has also been a hit at our staff training day lunches.

Be warned: this stuff is RICH.  I’ve upped the milk from the original recipe to help cut the richness a bit (and make the recipe go further).  What makes it so rich?


Nothing like smartphone photography!

Nothing like smartphone photography!

I love sweetened condensed milk.  The recipe calls for whole can…but in all honesty about a third of the can makes it into the hot chocolate.  The rest goes into a cup for me.  Omnomnom….


Hot Chocolate a la Book Club

-1 1/2 cups heavy cream

-1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

-2 cups milk chocolate chips

-8 cups milk

-1 tsp. vanilla extract

-Marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips, candy canes, and whatever else you need to adorn the hot chocolate (or you can drink it plain…but why?!)

Dump all the ingredients into a slow cooker and stir.  Cover and turn slow cooker to low.  Stir every 15-20 minutes, being sure to scrape all of the goodness off the bottom of the slow cooker.  Hot Chocolate should be ready in 1- 1 1/2 hours, depending on your slow cooker.  Once everything is melted, you can turn your slow cooker to Warm.  Stir before serving.  Allow guests to top as desired.

Book Clubs for Kids

At last month’s CYPD conference, I gave a presentation called “You Can Find Me in the Club, The Book Club!” (cue the 50 Cent music).  I talked about the two book clubs our library has for kids, how they work, and what we do during meetings.  Since I’ve been working away at various book club related tasks today, I thought I’d share some book club info with you.

What are your book clubs?

My library hosts two book clubs for kids.  One for kids ages 5-8 called “The Page Turners” and one for our tweens ages 8-12 called “inbeTWEEN the Lines.”

What do the book clubs do?

We meet once a month to discuss a book and do different activities related to that book.  The kids get a free copy of the book (while supplies last) to keep.

Why do you have book clubs for kids?

Why not?!  Book clubs give kids the chance to talk about books.  It can help them define what they like to read (or what they don’t like to read).   It also encourages them to read outside their comfort zone in terms of reading ability and their normal reading tastes.

The book clubs have also given me the opportunity to get the know the kids one on one.  Because book clubs do have a fairly big discussion element, we get to talk about more than just the books.

How do you select the books?

I DO WHAT I WANT!!!  Actually, I try to think about what the kids would like to read and what books might bring more kids to the book clubs.  We mostly read fiction (picture books for the younger group) but I do try to include some non-fiction and graphic novels.  There is also something classic-y every year (i.e. Where the Wild Things Are, Pippi Longstocking, etc.).  In the summer, I try to tie the selections into our Summer Reading Program theme.  In 2013, we read all award winning books in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal.

Where do you get the books?

I have purchased the books through the Scholastic Literacy Partnership and Book Depot.  Both have been fabulous in terms of selection, price, and how quickly the books are delivered.

What have you read?  

The Page Turners (5-8 year olds)

  • Silverlicious
  • The Snowy Day
  • Make Way For Ducklings
  • Bad Kitty
  • The Sandwich Swap
  • Junie B. Jones and the Yucky, Blucky Fruitcake

inbeTWEEN the Lines (9-12 year olds)

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Savvy
  • The Adventures of Captain Underpants
  • Hatchet
  • The City of Ember
  • Dewey the Library Cat

My library doesn’t have a very big programming budget.  How can we start a kids book club?

In Indiana, there are Book Club kits available through the Indiana State Library.   The kits contain 15 copies of each title and check out to your library for 3 months.  If you’re outside Indiana, check with your state library to see if they have a similar program.  I also think this would be an excellent grant opportunity.  Reach out to your Friends of the Library group to see if they could help fund this project.

Have any more questions about kids book clubs?  Ask away!