How to Host a Grade School Book Club with Jorie and the Magic Stones:
Last fall, children’s fantasy author AH Richardson, sent her book Jorie and the Magic Stones for our grade school book club to discuss. As the leader of our club (which meets once every month or so at the local library), I have developed a winning formula for a successful book meeting. When I began, I searched for resources and my strategies are a combination of ideas I’ve collected and some I’ve thought of myself.
We always open with a craft. As busy moms, I know making it places on time can be difficult. The craft helps keep the early birds busy while waiting for their friends to arrive. For Jorie, we painted magical stone pendants. My husband used a bit to drill tiny holes in the rocks and I bought chains to string them on (you can buy these stones instead though).
Next, we play a game or two. One of our favorites is guess the character, which also serves as an icebreaker. Simply print out the names of the characters and tape one to each child’s back. Have the children guess yes or no questions to discover which character is on her back. Then we usually play another game that tests memory and reading comprehension: Story Order Game. I print out events from the book and then hand one (sometimes two if we have a small group) to each child. They then put them in the order they occurred in the story. Another way to play this is to simply make a sign that says “And, Then…” You pick an event from the beginning of the story, announce it to the children and pass the sign to the next child for her to continue it until you come to the end.
Next, we discuss the book. This is a good time to review the five elements of a story (characters, setting, theme, conflict, and resolution). To keep the conversation going, I ask trivia questions about the book. We also discuss favorite characters and focus on morals.
Teaching points in Jorie: loyalty, friendship, good versus evil, trustworthiness, perserverance.
Topics to discuss: Should children disobey parents or authority figures about matters of safety (aka when the children went near the Tarn)? Is magic real? What is the importance of magic in storytelling? What is symbolism in literature?
One of my kids’ favorite part of book club is when we play “Who said it?” I read a quote from the book and they identify the character.
Here are some other fun book club games:
Book Jeopardy: Make a poster board and write six categories across the top. Make a grid and print five answers per category. Write amounts $100-500 on construction paper and tape them over the answers. Then, have the children answer by forming the question that corresponds with that square. Example: Category: Characters for $100. Answer: Main character of the story. A girl with fiery hair. Question: Who is Jorie?
Roll and Retell: Have the students roll a dice and answer a corresponding question. I use this chart.
Finish up with a little visiting and maybe a snack. Enjoy encouraging a love of reading and watching your children blossom in a social environment.
Want to know more about Jorie? Read on for a synopsis of the book and go here to buy your own copy.
Review: Jorie and the Magic Stones by A H Richardson explores a magical world based on good and evil. Little orphan, Jorie goes to live with her Aunt on a large estate with a magical Tarn (aka pond). She dives into her new world headlong with little reservation, trusting in books and the mystical. The plot and characters are lovely. I feel like the writing could have been more concise and/or simplified to make the book more readable to a younger audience. I also would have loved to hear more background on Jorie and have the ending developed a little more while the beginning could have been more condensed. That said, I can’t wait to read the next one where hopefully all my questions will be answered. Overall, very enjoyable. My children loved it and I loved all the fantastical creations Richardson included like degglewater and the egg people.
If you want to read more, be sure to order your own copy on Amazon.