What do I need to know about Friends over Books?

Friends Over Books, a division of Island Readers & Writers, is all about reading for fun and discussing what you read with kids your own age. Think of it as a book club for you and your friends!

FOB is exciting because you get to take some extraordinary literary adventures: to an African game preserve or a hip hop jamboree; inside the mind of a gopher snake,classroom bully or the leaders of a dystopian society. In the process, you’ll not only be awed by extraordinary new worlds – real and imaginary – but you’ll also gain insight into what you and your friends really think about the problems of life and how to solve them.

Who runs Friends over Books?

Friends Over Books was created and organized (with help from young readers) by enthusiastic adult volunteers who want to share their love of books with YOU, the next generation. They research and find exciting new books that will engage you, the reader, in book discussions, field trips and activities that bring a book to life. They are acutely aware of how important life-long learning will be in the next century and they want to encourage you to develop a passion for reading.

How are the books chosen?

The volunteers of Friends Over Books choose the books – 95% fiction – from three categories: Fiction/Fantasy; Foreign Countries; Career. Each year they read twenty to thirty books in each category. The choices come from prize lists, librarians, teachers, publishers, critics, kids, and grandchildren. After each category has been tweaked, the 6 or 8 remaining choices are passed around for comment and final selection.

How does a typical book club begin?

Each book club begins with an introductory meeting where you will view background information about the book; either a trailer about the author and novel or a DVD on why it is important to learn about the subject. At this time you will also be given your own copy of the book, a list of discussion questions and additional information to help you with the reading.

Then what happens?

You take the book home, read it and two weeks later return to talk about it. Under the guidance of adult volunteers, there will be a 45 minute discussion with your peers, followed by skits, games and/or projects to help make various themes come alive. For instance, if the novel involves Latin America, your group might make tortillas or paper mache piñatas or act out the difficult journey of illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border into the United States. The following week there might be a field trip to further illustrate what the book is about. For instance, if the book is science related, you might visit a marine biological lab and dissect a lobster; if the book is about the performing arts, then you might spend time backstage at a repertory theater and learn how a play is put together; if the subject is food, you might spend a day at an organic garden or farmer’s market.

How much does it cost to join?

It costs only your active interest and participation.

When and where does the book club meet?

The book clubs meet in July and August but we recruit members beginning in June.

How do I sign up?

See your school or community librarian or call the Island Readers & Writers office at 244-5111. Readers are accepted on a first come, first served basis.