19 November 2012

Review: November Picks for Scholastic's Mother Daughter Book Club

Remember earlier this summer when I introduced you to the Scholastic Mother Daughter Book Club for middle readers? I'm committed to featuring or reviewing all the books selected for this club because I think Scholastic has picked winning titles that have broad appeal.

Don't forget that the Scholastic book club site includes more information about the books, recipes, reading guides, and contests. The resources are perfect for book clubs, teachers, homeschoolers, and any one who wants to get more out of reading books with middle grade readers.

Meg Cabot is one of the most-loved authors of middle grade and young adult fiction (and adult fiction), not least because of her amazing ability to create realistic characters whom young girls can quickly and easily relate to. Thus it's no surprise that Scholastic would recommend her books for their mother daughter book club. Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Moving Day is the first in a fun middle grade series about a nine-year-old who wants to do the right thing even though she sometimes stumbles.

Allie has a lot to contend with. First, she's having trouble getting along with Mary Kay, her BFF since kindergarten. Second, she just found out that her parents want to move across town, which means a new house, new school, and new friends. Even the promise of a kitten isn't enough to make Allie warm up to the idea of moving. And to top it off, no matter how many rules she tried to follow, she somehow ended up on the bad side of her friends and parents. Can Allie figure out a way to make peace with all these changes?

Moving Day is a terrific book club pick for young readers. The story can be read on several levels, all of which offer plenty of avenues for discussion. The most obvious approach is to focus on Allie's rules, one of which is given at the start of each chapter. Some are serious (be polite to adults), and some are particular to Allie (don't eat red foods); some she already knows well (don't cross Brittany Hauser), and others she discovers along the way (sometimes things are better than they first appear). Other topics for discussion are the meaning of friendship, standing up for what you believe in, adjusting to change, and helping your family. For more ideas check out the Scholastic book club site.

Earlier in the year, Scholastic picked Raina Telgemeier's Smile for the mother daughter book club. This month, they've tapped Telgemeier's Drama, a graphic novel geared to older middle grade readers (and teens and adults).

At the core of Drama is Callie's work on the middle school's spring musical. She loves working back stage, especially on set design. She has grand ideas, and through hard work and the help of her friends, Callie is able to meet most of her expectations. Drama, however, is less about the play and more about relationships (making sense of crushes and friendships), self-discovery, and acceptance of others.

The drama in Callie's life occurs both on and off stage as she tries to understand her crazy feelings for her good friend's older brother and then for two cute boys, who just happen to be twins. In the meantime, she and the other drama students are helping each other with the musical production.

Raina Telgemeier approaches the many types of relationships with sensitivity, in both her writing and her artwork. Young readers will want to talk about crushes and finding the right person, homosexuality, and same-sex and opposite-sex friendships. Other discussion topics for Drama include getting involved in extracurricular activities and gaining self-confidence.

The scan is from page 37 and shows a scene in which Callie's friend Liz, the student in charge of costumes, asks the others to go with her down to the basement prop room. The page has no spoilers but gives you a preview of the illustrations. Click the scan to enlarge it.

This post will be linked to Kid Konnection, hosted by Julie at Booking Mama.

Buy Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Moving Day at an Indie or at a bookstore near you (link leads to an affiliate program).
Scholastic Press, 2009; ISBN-13: 9780545040419
Buy Drama at an Indie or at a bookstore near you (link leads to an affiliate program).
Scholastic Press, 2011; ISBN-13: 9780545326995
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


rhapsodyinbooks 11/19/12, 6:41 AM  

I think I need to read Moving Day before we move again - LOL! But here's what drives me crazy sometimes: why do authors use names that will make adults think of something else, like Mary Kay? Or, my current favorite one to be distracted by: the two main protagonists of the Eve series are Eve and Arden. Now granted, I may be the only one reading the series who knows who Eve Arden is (was), but it is so distracting! LOL

bermudaonion 11/19/12, 7:37 AM  

I thought Drama was great and suspect I would enjoy Moving Day too.

Daryl 11/19/12, 10:55 AM  

making note of these ... my friend's daughter turned 14 on Saturday .. i hope she's not too old for these

Julie P. 11/19/12, 2:25 PM  

I am a big fan of both of these authors!

Robin M 11/19/12, 5:03 PM  

Daryl has a great idea. My niece would probably enjoy these. Our local charter is having a scholastic book sale coming up so will be going in armed. Thanks for sharing.

Zibilee 11/19/12, 9:21 PM  

Meg Cabot is one of the most popular authors for girls of this set, and I can see why! This book sounds so flavorful and interesting, and I love the idea of a mother reading this with her daughter. There are just loads of conversation starters in this one. Very nice review today. I can't wait to pick this one up for my niece when she gets a bit older.

Karen White 11/20/12, 10:06 AM  

My girls (9 & 12) loved both Smile and Drama. Drama is definitely a little more mature in comment, but not disturbingly so (according to them). Will definitely check out this Allie Finkle series for my younger daughter.

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