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BookTalk August 2010
The Chapter and Verse book club recommends "The Green Glass Sea" by Ellen Klages. What would your book group recommend?

Vicki Palmquist's Chapter and Verse book clubs are for adults interested in reading books written for children and teens. This partnership between independent booksellers and Children's Literature Network is based in Minnesota. The network provides information and resources for educators, librarians, families and readers. The book clubs have been meeting on the third Thursday of the month since August 2008.

What books by women authors are you currently reading?

"Split," a young-adult novel by Minneapolis author Swati Avasthi, and "Bad to the Bone: Down Girl and Sit," a lighthearted, easy reader by Lucy Nolan.

What books by women recently sparked a great discussion?

We always discuss two books, one a novel and one a picture book or nonfiction book. We read "Daddy-Long-legs" by Jean Webster, a book first published in 1908. The book was a bestseller in its day and sparked a nationwide awareness of the need for adoption and orphanage reform. Our book club members found this book fascinating, discussing its relevance to today's teen readers. It evokes a time when living in an orphanage meant being shut off from the world, and how readily we could accept a benefactor sponsoring and eventually marrying an orphan.

Linda Glaser, an author from Duluth, wrote "Emma's Poem: the Voice of the Statue of Liberty," about Emma Lazarus, the poet who was moved to write the poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty's pedestal by her concern for social issues. The two books were interesting to contrast.

What book by a woman would your group most recommend to other readers?

"The Green Glass Sea" by Ellen Klages is told from an 11-year-old girl's point of view. The main character moves to Los Alamos with her scientist father in 1943. She is kept in the dark about the race to test an atomic bomb, but has an intense intellectual curiosity about the mystery surrounding her.

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What tips could you share with other groups?

It's interesting to have a pair of books to discuss that have a common theme. No matter how thin that thread, you can contrast the way the books are written and their effect on the reader.

We were told by a wise book club leader, Nancy Pearl, never to ask whether people liked or disliked the book. The question is too polarizing. Instead, lead with a very specific question about one small aspect of the book. It gets people started.

The book club members post summaries and recommendations at www.childrensliteraturenetwork.org/blog/chapvers/

Tell us about your book group! 
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