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Book Club for Kids is a podcast where middle school readers discuss the books they love with host Kitty Felde. The author answers questions. A celebrity reads from the book.

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Summer Intern Hannah Matzecki's Favorite Episode - Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar

Kitty Felde

Hannah Matzechi is also the stage manager for the upcoming FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES podcast (coming in October)

Hannah Matzechi is also the stage manager for the upcoming FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES podcast (coming in October)

Every summer, we invite our summer interns to pick their favorite Book Club for Kids episode and tell us why they love it. This summer, it’s Hannah Matzechi’s turn. Hannah not only has been helping with Book Club for Kids, she’s been stage managing our newest venture: a 7-part episodic podcast THE FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES that will premiere in October.

The worst summer vacation ever? Being stuck in the middle of a New Mexico desert with the crabbiest grandfather on planet earth. But there are also magical bees that promise the end of of a drought. Students from Belvedere Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia discuss HOUR OF THE BEES and writer Lindsay Eager tells where the tale began. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham from New Mexico is celebrity reader. Kitty Felde is host.

Diego, Callie, and Valeria are 5th graders at Belvedere Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia

Diego, Callie, and Valeria are 5th graders at Belvedere Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia

Writer  Lindsay Eagar  and daughter Fin

Writer Lindsay Eagar and daughter Fin

Governor  Michelle Lujan Grisham  is our celebrity reader.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is our celebrity reader.

Get the book HERE from our friends at Hooray for Books!


Favorite books from Diego, Valeria, and Callie at Belvedere Elementary:

Holes - Louis Sachar

Amulet - Kazu Kibuishi

Wolf Hollow - Lauren Wolk

Macbeth - William Shakespeare

Favorite Book of Lindsay Eagar:

Danny, the Champion of the World - Roald Dahl

Favorite Book of Hannah Matzecki:

Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

Favorite Book of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham:

I Love You to the Moon and Back - Tim Warnes

All of Our Episodes

Kitty Felde


Al Capone Does My Shirts - Gennifer Choldenko

Alligator Bayou - Donna Jo Napoli

Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia/Margaret Stohl

Bees on the Roof - Robbie Shell

Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel - Kimberly Willis Holt

Chains - Laurie Halse Anderson

Click Here: To Find Out How I Survived Seventh Grade - Denise Vega

Code Talker - Joseph Bruchac

Counting by 7's - Holly Goldberg Sloan

Crenshaw - Katherine Applegate

The Crossover - Kwame Alexander

Dead End in Norvelt - Jack Gantos

Divergent - Veronica Roth

The Door by the Staircase - Katherine Marsh

Double Identity - Margaret Peterson Haddix

Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell

Esperanza Rising - Pam Munoz Ryan

The Ethan I Was Before - Ali Standish

Eye of the Storm - Kate Messner

The First Rule of Punk - Celia Perez

Fish in a Tree - Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Flying the Dragon - Natalie Dias Lorenzi

Foxheart - Claire Legrand

Garvey’s Choice - Nikki Grimes

Gilded - Christina Farley

The Girl Who Drank the Moon - Kelly Barnhill

The Great Brain - John D. Fitzgerald

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu - Wendy Shang

The Honest Truth - Dan Gemeinhart

Hoodoo - Ronald L. Smith

The Hound of Rowan - Henry Neff

Hour of the Bees - Lindsay Eagar

Hypatia Academy - Esther Goldenberg

I Lived on Butterfly Hill - Marjorie Agosin

Jackie & Me - Dan Gutman

James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl

The Jumbies - Tracey Baptiste

Keeper of the Lost Cities - Shannon Messenger

The Length of a String - Elissa Brent Weissman

The Lions of Little Rock - Kristin Levine

A Little Wicked - Janet Macreery

A Long Walk to Water - Linda Sue Park

Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case - Patricia Hruby Powell

A Mango Shaped Space - Wendy Mass

Maniac Magee - Jerry Spinelli

The Meringue Witches - Isora Morales Suarez

Milo Speck, Accidental Agent - Linda Urban

Milo: Sticky Notes & Brain Freeze - Alan Silberberg

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

Monster - Walter Dean Myers

Moo - Sharon Creech

Old Yeller - Fred Gipson

One Amazing Elephant - Linda Oatman High

One Crazy Summer - Rita Williams-Garcia

Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D. Schmidt

Orleans - Sherri L. Smith

Orphan Island - Laurel Snyder

Our Teacher is a Vampire and Other (Not) True Stories - Mary Amato

Out of My Mind - Sharon M. Draper

Pashmina - Nidhi Chanani

Passenger on the Pearl - Winifred Conkling

Pax - Sara Pennypacker

Public School Superhero - James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard

Revolution - Deborah Wiles

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano - Sonia Manzano

Ribblestrop - Andy Mulligan

The Secret Zoo - Bryan Chick

The Shadows - Jacqueline West

Spy Mice - Heather Vogel Frederick

Spy School - Stuart Gibbs

Stormbreaker - Anthony Horowitz

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda - Tom Angleberger

Tales from the Odyssey - Mary Pope Osborne

The Tiger Rising - Kate DiCamillo

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith

Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbitt

Turtle in Paradise - Jennifer L. Holm

Ungifted - Gordon Korman

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street - Karina Yan Glaser

The War That Saved My Life -  Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 - Christopher Paul Curtis

The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin

When the Sea Turned to Silver - Grace Lin

When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead

Wonder - RJ Palacio

The Worst Class Trip Ever - Dave Barry

A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L’Engle

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass - Meg Medina

 Coming soon:

Amulet - Kazu Kibuishi

The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak

Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe - Tricia Springstubb

The Parker Inheritance - Varian Johnson

Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword - Henry LIen

Refugee - Alan Gratz

Rooftoppers - Katherine Rundell

The Storm Runner - J.C. Cervantes

Watch Us Rise - Renee Watson & Ellen Hagan

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown


Amy Solano's Favorite Episode - The First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez - with celebrity reader former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Kitty Felde

Actress Amy Solano (who plays Fina Mendoza in the upcoming mystery podcast THE FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES poses with Alice (yes, she is named after Alice from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"), Ritsu the black and white dog, and Mio the cat

Actress Amy Solano (who plays Fina Mendoza in the upcoming mystery podcast THE FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES poses with Alice (yes, she is named after Alice from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"), Ritsu the black and white dog, and Mio the cat

Kayley, Angelina, and Taylor are 7th graders at Brambleton Middle School in Ashburn, Virginia

Kayley, Angelina, and Taylor are 7th graders at Brambleton Middle School in Ashburn, Virginia

Every summer, we ask our summer interns to choose their favorite Book Club for Kids episode. This has been a rather unusual summer. In addition to producing this podcast, we’ve been busy creating a new mystery podcast series premiering this Halloween. It’s called THE FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES.

The seven part series is based on the middle grade novel “Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza” by Kitty Felde. It’s the story of a ten year old girl from California who moves to Washington DC with her older sister to live fulltime with their Papa, a congressman from Los Angeles. Fina gets an afterschool job walking congressional dogs and solves the mystery of the Demon Cat of Capitol Hill.

More about THE FINA MENDOZA MYSTERIES this fall. But in the meantime, we invited actress Amy Solano who plays Fina to tell us her favorite Book Club for Kids episode. It’s “The First Rule of Punk” by Celia Perez.

Here’s the story:

Malu is moving to Chicago and she's not very happy about it. She's also not very happy with the way her mother would like her to be. Two things do make her happy: punk music and creating zines.

Students from Virginia talk about those times when they acted "punk" with host Kitty Felde and ask questions of writer Celia Perez. Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is celebrity reader. 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hosts his own podcast  CHICAGO STORIES  (Photo Credit: City of Chicago/Brooke Collins)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hosts his own podcast CHICAGO STORIES (Photo Credit: City of Chicago/Brooke Collins)

Writer  Celia Perez

Chicago Public Library tells us they're thrilled that Book Club for Kids selected “The First Rule of Punk.” Their kids’ librarians voted the title as the winner of CPL’s “Mock Newbery Award.” It was also a Best of the Best 2017 title, selected as one of CPL’s Best Fiction for Older Readers.


Get your own  copy  from our friends at Hooray for Books!

Get your own copy from our friends at Hooray for Books!

 

Favorite Books of Kayley, Angelina, and Taylor:

Everland - Wendy Spinale

The Lunar Chronicles - Marissa Meyer

The Crossroads: A Haunted Mystery - Chris Grabenstein

Celia Perez' Favorite Book:

Pacy Lin series - Grace Lin

Rahm Emanuel's Favorite Book:

I'll Take You There - Wally Lamb

(Chicago's One Book One City selection for 2018)

Amy Solano’s Favorite Book:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll


Episode 94 - The Length of a String - Elissa Brent Weissman

Kitty Felde

Saniah, Amaeya, Vinchenza, Mariah, and Quan'Nairer from  Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School  in Baltimore are members of the  Girlfriends Book Club  (photo by  Tonya Wright )

Saniah, Amaeya, Vinchenza, Mariah, and Quan'Nairer from Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore are members of the Girlfriends Book Club (photo by Tonya Wright)

What’s it like to be adopted? Does your adopted family’s history become your history or do you feel the need to find your biological story? Our book this week is "The Length of a String" by Elissa Brent Weissman. It’s a Holocaust story about a Jewish family separated by the war. Readers from the Girlfriends Book Club of Baltimore at Hazelwood Elementary Middle School discuss the book and pose lots of questions to our writer. Actor and producer Bari Hochwald is celebrity reader. Kitty Felde is host.


Oh, and just a warning: the discussion contains spoiler alerts, so you might want to read the book before you listen to the episode.

Favorite Books from Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School:

Public School Superhero - Chris Tebbetts and James Patterson

All the Ways I Love You - Theresa Trinder

Amulet - Kazu Kibuishi

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

The President of the Whole 6th Grade - Sherri Winston

I Hate School - Jeanne Willis

Captain Underpants - Dav Pilkey

Episode 93 - Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Kitty Felde

Dezirae and Xicara are students at Sousa Middle School in Washington, DC

Dezirae and Xicara are students at Sousa Middle School in Washington, DC

C’mon. Admit it. Don’t you just wish sometimes that your parents would just disappear? But what happens next? That’s just part of the plot for our book this week “Double Identity” By Margaret Peterson Haddix. Our readers are from Sousa Middle School in Washington, D.C. Our celebrity reader is actress Molly  Parker, from "Deadwood" and "Lost In Space." Kitty Felde is host. 

Oh, and just a warning: the discussion contains spoiler alerts, so you might want to read the book before you listen to the episode.

Celebrity reader  Molly Parke r

Celebrity reader Molly Parker

Favorite Books from Sousa Middle School:

Liar - Justine Larbalestier

A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket

Margaret Peterson Haddix’ Favorite Books:

A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L’Engle

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E. L. Konigsburg

Front Desk - Kelly Yang

Molly Parker’s Favorite Book:

The Marrow Thieves - Cherie Dimaline

Episode 91 - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Kitty Felde

Daniel, Katelyn, and Isabella from the DC International School

Daniel, Katelyn, and Isabella from the DC International School

Do you ever feel different? Peculiar? Perhaps not as peculiar as the kids in "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children." Readers from the DC International School discuss Ransom Riggs' novel and pose questions to the author. NPR Special Correspondent Melissa Block is celebrity reader. Kitty Felde is host.

NPR Special Correspondent  Melissa Block

NPR Special Correspondent Melissa Block

Favorite Books from the DC International School:

Delirium - Lauren Oliver

James Patterson books

The Maze Runner - James Dashner

Ransom Riggs’ Favorite Book:

All American Boys - Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Melissa Block’s Favorite Book:

Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White


Thanks to JoBlo.com "a movie news website" for audio from Ransom Riggs.

Episode 90 - Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Kitty Felde

Ellie, Bea, and Tommy from Murch Elementary School in Washington, DC

Ellie, Bea, and Tommy from Murch Elementary School in Washington, DC

"Esperanza Rising" is a riches to rags tale about a wealthy Mexican family who end up as farmworkers in California's Central Valley. Students from Murch Elementary School in Washington, DC compare the book to Frances Hodgson Burnett's "A Little Princess." Actress Christine Avila is celebrity reader. Writer Pam Munoz Ryan talks about her real-life grandmother whose life inspired the book. Kitty Felde is host. 

Celebrity reader actress  Christine Avila

Celebrity reader actress Christine Avila

FAVORITE BOOKS FROM Murch elementary SCHOOL:

Danny Dragonbreath - Ursula Vernon

Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Land of Stories - Chris Colfer

Pam Munoz Ryan’s Favorite series:

Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Christine Avila’s favorite book:

A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman - Alice Kessler-Harris

Thanks to Tim Podell of Good Conversations for our conversation with Pam Munoz Ryan.

Episode 89 - Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Kitty Felde

Quera, Jasmine, Myron, and London from  Kelly Miller Middle School  in Washington, DC

Quera, Jasmine, Myron, and London from Kelly Miller Middle School in Washington, DC

Is a podcast about a graphic novel like dancing about architecture? Give a listen to our latest episode "Pashmina" by Nidhi Chanani. It's a tale about a magical pashina and secrets and mothers and daughters. Our readers are students at Kelly Miller Middle School in Washington, DC. Rasika Mathur is our celebrity reader. Kitty Felde is host.

Writer  Nichi Chanani
Actress  Raskika Mathur

Favorite Books from Kelly Miller Middle School:

The Hate You Give - Angie Thomas

Rapunzel - Paul O. Zelinsky

Dork Diaries - Rachel Renée Russell

Nidhi Chanani’s Favorite Books:

Jason Reynolds’ Track series

Rasika Mathur’s Favorite Book:

You and Your Dog - David Taylor

That Dog - Nannette Newman

Episode 87 - Public School Superhero by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

Kitty Felde

School Within a School

Do you dream about becoming a superhero? What kind? 5th graders from DC's School Within a School discuss "Public School Superhero" by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. In the book, our hero Kenny dons his alter ego Stainless Steel just to survive at a very lousy middle school. Actor Chuma Hunter-Gault is our celebrity reader and Chris Tebbetts joins us to talk about collaborating. Kitty Felde is host.

Writer  Chris Tebbetts  co-wrote the book with  James Patterson

Writer Chris Tebbetts co-wrote the book with James Patterson

Celebrity reader actor  Chuma Hunter-Gault

Celebrity reader actor Chuma Hunter-Gault

Favorite Books from DC’s School Within a School:

Notebook of Doom - Troy Cummings

The Land of Stories - Chris Colfer

The Crossover - Kwame Alexander

Spy School - Stuart Gibbs

The Chronicles of Prydain - Lloyd Alexander

A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket

Chuma Hunter-Gault’s Favorite Book:

A People’s History of the United States - Howard Zinn

Chris Tebbetts’ Favorite Book:

James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl

Episode 86 - Jackie & Me by Dan Gutman

Kitty Felde

Lily, Sofia, Daluchi, and Max from  Murch Elementary School  in Washington, DC

Lily, Sofia, Daluchi, and Max from Murch Elementary School in Washington, DC

Los Angeles Dodger  Tommy Davis  is celebrity reader

Los Angeles Dodger Tommy Davis is celebrity reader

Favorite Books from Murch Elementary School in Washington, DC:

Percy Jackson - Rick Riordan

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - J.K. Rowling

Fly Guy - Tedd Arnold

Keeper of the Lost Cities - Shannon Messenger

Dan Gutman’s Favorite Book:

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick

Tommy Davis’ Favorite Book:

How to Be Like Jackie Robinson: Life Lessons from Baseball's Greatest Hero - Pat Williams

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Read:

Are you a reader in Southern California? Click here for information about how reading can get you to Dodger Stadium.

Episode 85 - Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Kitty Felde

Sa'Mirror and Imani from  Anne Beers Elementary School  in Washington, DC

Sa'Mirror and Imani from Anne Beers Elementary School in Washington, DC

Would you like to be a legend? To have people tell stories about you long after you’re gone? Would you like to be “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli? This Newbery Award-winning classic is our Book Club for Kids pick this week. Our readers are from Anne Beers Elementary School in Washington, D.C. and John Michael Higgins (“Pitch Perfect” and “A Mighty Wind”) is our celebrity reader. Kitty Felde is host.


Want to be an FBI agent? Check out this episode featuring Ed You, the FBI agent who protects us from weapons of mass destruction.


Here’s what Book Club for Kids looked like in the old days. Watch these students from Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet in Southern California tape an episode and ask Jerry Spinelli questions:


Favorite Books from Anne Beers Elementary School:

Junie B. Jones - Barbara Park

I Am Malala - How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition) - Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick

John Michael Higgins’ Favorite Book:

The 13 Clocks - James Thurber


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Many thanks to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for supporting this episode. The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. 

Episode 84 - Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Kitty Felde

Millie, Maddie, Caroline, Ragan, Sarah, Lauren, Ella and Lucky the dog

Millie, Maddie, Caroline, Ragan, Sarah, Lauren, Ella and Lucky the dog

Virgil's grandmother keeps telling him scary stories as life lessons. One of his friends is convinced she can predict the future. Virgil is trying to find a way out of his shell. 

This week we discuss Erin Entrada Kelly's 2018 Newbery Award-winning novel "Hello Universe." Actress Kat Purgal is our celebrity reader. Members of the Rocket Readers book club of Newport Beach, California discuss the book and talk about how school testing stresses them out. 

Kitty Felde is host.

Celebrity Reader  Kat Purgal

Celebrity Reader Kat Purgal

Favorite Books from the Rocket Readers of Newport Beach, California:

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand

The Boys in the boat - Daniel James Brown

Greenglass House - Kate Milford

Echo - Pam Munoz Ryan

Little Monsters - Kara Thomas

The Apothecary - Maile Meloy

A Spy Among Friends - Ben Macintyre and John le Carré

The Rangers Apprentice - John Flanagan

Favorite Books of Erin Entrada Kelly:

The One and Only Ivan - Katherine Applegate

When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead

Favorite Book of Kat Purgal:

A Time for Dancing - Davida Wills Hurwin

Episode 83 - Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Kitty Felde

Zaekwon, Marjhay, and Maven from Kramer Middle School in Washington, DC

Zaekwon, Marjhay, and Maven from Kramer Middle School in Washington, DC

He's on trial for murder. Does that make him a bad person? Our readers from Kramer Middle School in Washington, DC tackle tough questions about a tough book: Walter Dean Myer's award-winning novel "Monster." Actor Larry Powell is celebrity reader. Kitty Felde is host.

Actor  Larry Powell

FAVORITE BOOKS FROM KRAMER MIDDLE SCHOOL IN WASHINGTON, DC:

Holes - Louis Sachar

Chains - Laurie Halse Anderson

LARRY POWELL’S FAVORITE PLAY:

The Piano Lesson - August Wilson


2018 GNG Seal.png

Many thanks to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for supporting this episode. The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. 

Episode 82 - Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Kitty Felde

Catherine, Maya Grace, and Olivia

Catherine, Maya Grace, and Olivia

Do you wish you had a super power? Want to hang out with some elves? This week, a book club from Maryland picks our book: Shannon Messenger's fantasy novel "Keeper of the Lost Cities." Nick Roman is our celebrity reader and our readers interview the writer. Kitty Felde is host.

Celebrity reader All Things Considered host  Nick Roman

Celebrity reader All Things Considered host Nick Roman

Favorite Books from Maryland readers Catherine, Maya Grace, and Olivia:

Warriors - Erin Hunter

The Blackthorn Key - Kevin Sands T

The Serpent’s Secret - Sayantani DasGupta

Shannon Messenger’s Favorite Book:

Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine

Nick Roman’s Favorite Book:

At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor - Gordon W. Prange


Episode 80 - Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli

Kitty Felde

 
Abbey, Nola, Isabel, and Calah

Abbey, Nola, Isabel, and Calah

New Orleans is a city rich in history and rich in wonderful food. Both are topics in this week's discussion of Donna Jo Napoli's novel "Alligator Bayou." Readers at the New Orleans Public Library discuss the book with host Kitty Felde. Our celebrity reader is NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott.

NPR National Correspondent  Debbie Elliott

NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott

Favorite Books from the New Orleans Public Library:

The Inquisitor’s Tale - Adam Gidwitz

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

Debbie Elliott’s Favorite Book:

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Donna Jo Napoli’s Favorite Book:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith

Episode 78 - The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Kitty Felde

Messina, Alice, and Sophia from Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, DC

Messina, Alice, and Sophia from Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, DC

‘The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963” touches on a tragic moment in American history: the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. But it’s really a family story about a road trip. Readers from Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, DC discuss the novel with host Kitty Felde. Writer Christopher Paul Curtis won the Newbery, the Golden Kite, and the Coretta Scott King awards for this book. He talks about how all those statues allowed him to become a full time writer. Our celebrity reader is actor Quinn Marchman.

Celebrity reader  Quinn Marchman

Celebrity reader Quinn Marchman

 

 Favorite Books from Two Rivers Charter School:

Percy Jackson series - Rick Riordan

Counting By 7’s - Holly Goldberg Sloan

Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman? - Patricia and Fred McKissack

Wonder - RJ Palacio

Quinn Marchman’s Favorite Book:

The Dead Emcee Scrolls: The Lost Teachings of Hip-Hop - Saul Williams


Thanks to Tim Podell at Good Conversations for sharing the interview with Christopher Paul Curtis.

Episode 77 - Code Talker - Joseph Bruchac

Kitty Felde

Virginia, William, Lara, Leila, and Henry from McLean, Virginia

Virginia, William, Lara, Leila, and Henry from McLean, Virginia

November is a month when we honor veterans, celebrate Native American culture, and sit down to Thanksgiving with our families. This week’s episode touches on all three as we discuss a fictionalized story about one of the Navajo Code Talkers - the Marines who were recruited to use their native language to help the Allies win World War II. Students from Chesterbrook Elementary School in Virginia discuss Joseph Bruchac’s novel “Code Talker” with host Kitty Felde. Our celebrity reader is Elayne Silversmith. the librarian at the Vine Deloria, Jr. library at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

Elayne Silversmith, librarian at the  National Museum of the American Indian

Elayne Silversmith, librarian at the National Museum of the American Indian

Favorite Books from Chesterbrook Elementary:

Rooftoppers - Katherine Rundell

Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson

Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne Collins

The Underneath - Kathi Appelt

Lord of the Flies - William Golding

Elayne Silversmith’s Favorite Book:

A Coyote Columbus Story - Thomas King

Joseph Brushac’s Favorite Book:

The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling

Episode 76 - The Meringue Witches by Isora Morales Suarez

Kitty Felde

Nadia, Aubrey, Nichelle, Makayla, and Sarah from the Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore

Nadia, Aubrey, Nichelle, Makayla, and Sarah from the Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore

This episode began with a chance meeting in a tiny art gallery in the city of Cienfuegos, Cuba. Writer Isora Morales Suarez was minding the store to pay the bills, but she told us that one of her novels for kids had just been published in English by a nonprofit called Cubano Books. Some of our favorite readers from the Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore discuss Isora’s unusual fairy tale “The Meringue Witches” with host Kitty Felde. Cuban ex-pat Adolfo Nodal is celebrity reader.

Writer Isora Morales Suarez autographs her novel

Writer Isora Morales Suarez autographs her novel

Favorite Books from the Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore:

Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls

Marley and Me: Life and love with the World’s Worst Dog - John Grogan

Nightmares - Jason Segel

El Deafo - Cece Bell

One of Us is Lying - Karen McManus

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Translation of this interview with Isora Morales Suarez:

And why this book?

Well then, why did I write this book? This book is an important part of my life. Because I live in a place called Ciudad Nuclear (Nuclear City). It’s a special place in Cuba, because it’s a place where they were going to build the first nuclear plant, but, the maps changed color in Europe, socialism fell, and it wasn’t built. The project was paralyzed, and many people were suddenly without jobs, suddenly without—these were people who had studied at university to do these jobs—their dreams were broken. And then, since their dreams were broken, the city languished.

So, I use this city as the setting for my book. In my book, Ciudad Nuclear is called Ciudad Nublada (Cloudy City). And then I made an entire fantasy story, a story of witches, dragons, magicians, princesses—so that people would cheer up! Because people get very sad because they don’t have money, because everything is very difficult. But I believe that humans can’t lose the capacity to dream. Dreams keep us alive in the most difficult moments.

So, I still live in this place—I haven’t been able to leave—and since I’ve always had a difficult relationship with this place, because life is very hard here, I decided to write about it, because it was tormenting me, and I didn’t want it to torment me any more. I wanted to make a story for kids, for young people, but also for adults, and I wanted to tell them: we have to dream, because if we don’t dream, we’re lost. If we don’t dream and we don’t act in solidarity, if we don’t help each other when we’re—when we’re scared—ay, sorry—because sometimes we’re scared. We’re anxious, and we’re scared that everything will go wrong in life—excuse me. So I wanted to write this book so that people would have faith that the world can be better—people help each other, support each other, love each other—so that people trust that the world can be a place of love and not of war. Always a place of love, never a place of war.

This book isn’t the only one you’ve written?

Yes, it’s my first book. I didn’t—I didn’t start—I wrote my first book when I was almost fifty years old. Because before my life was very stressful. I have a son, Eric, my son Eric who is my greatest treasure. So then, my son studied in Cuba to become a dancer. My son—he is a dancer now. So then, I had to struggle a lot, to work a lot at different jobs, and I couldn’t concentrate, because I had to work, I had to arrange things—I raised my son alone—his father and I divorced, and his father went to another city to live and had another family. So then, I had to arrange everything for my son. His clothing, his shoes, his food, his—everything. And so, I couldn’t concentrate because I had to take care of these things.

My son graduated, started working, and things started to go well for him. Then I took a deep breath, and said—“Ay, what am I going to do now?” Because all of the sudden—it had been lots, a lot a lot of struggle with everything, with the food, with money, with everything—and suddenly I was like—and now, what do I do? And then I said, “Well, I always wanted to be a writer.” My mother, who is a lovely woman, always told me, from the time I was a little girl, that I was going to be a writer. Because when I was a child I was different from my sisters. My sisters didn’t read, and I read and read and read, I was always reading from the time I was little. And so my mom would say that I—her daughter—was going to be a writer. And I would say, “Why do you say that?” And she would tell me that it was because I really liked books. And I would respond, “But writing is very hard—it must be very hard.” And then my mom would reply, “But you’re going to write.” And she said it as if it was a fact. Her fact: she knew it was going to happen. Because mothers are never wrong.

And so, I said, “Well, my mom says I’m going to be a writer—that is, my mother was my greatest inspiration. And so, I started to write. And I said, “Well, I have to write a fantasy.” Because reality is a little hard. So I wanted to create a book of fantasy, of magic, and I want that magic to be good for people. And that’s why I wrote this book.

Hoodoo by Ron L. Smith

Kitty Felde

Lina Nguyen, Kyra Johnson, and Ava Muniz are 6th graders at Sonora Elementary School in Costa Mesa

Lina Nguyen, Kyra Johnson, and Ava Muniz are 6th graders at Sonora Elementary School in Costa Mesa

Writer Ronald L. Smith takes us on a trip down south, to the backwoods of Alabama, where a young boy was born with a heart-shaped birthmark, the mark of magic, or Hoodoo, according to his grandmama. Hoodoo must learn to tap his inner powers of magic to battle evil. Veteran public radio journalist Brian Watt is celebrity reader. Ron Smith just won the Corretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award from the American Library Association for "Hoodoo."

Award-winning writer  Ronald L. Smith

Award-winning writer Ronald L. Smith

Celebrity reader  Brian Watt  is a veteran public radio journalist

Celebrity reader Brian Watt is a veteran public radio journalist


Favorite Books from Lina, Kyra, and Ava:

Radiance - Alyson Noel

Hoot - Carl Hiaasen

A Night Divided - Jennifer A. Nielsen

Recommended by Ronald L. Smith:

The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet - Eleanor Cameron


Our First Bilingual Episode in English and Spanish

Kitty Felde

Our MacFarland Middle School readers share their favorites.

Our MacFarland Middle School readers share their favorites.

This week, we’re asking students at MarFarland Middle School in Washington DC our favorite question: what’s your favorite book? What’s so special about that? These students are telling us all about it in English – and Español.

It’s our first bilingual episode of the Book Club for Kids. The readers will answer first in English, and then in Spanish. Kitty Felde is host.