Contact Us

Wanna be on the show? Got a book suggestion? 

Washington, DC

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.

Broomfield Colorado Library readers future episode.JPG

Tips for Creating Lifelong Readers

Filtering by Tag: non-fiction

Tip #75: Want to Win on Jeopardy?

Kitty Felde

Divergent readers

Want to be a millionaire? The amazing James Holzhauer has racked up more cash more quickly than anybody in the history of the TV show "Jeopardy." His secret: non-fiction kids books.

Holzhauer told "Publishers Weekly" that he'd order stacks of books on all sorts of topics from public libraries in the cities where he lived: Seattle, San Diego, Naperville, Illinois, and Las Vegas. "All had excellent library resources," he said. 

His favorites? Zachary Hamby’s books on mythology, and the Classics Illustrated series of literary adaptations. 

It makes sense: non-fiction for young readers - everything from picture books to biographies to science - are well-written, with lots of infographics and illustrations. Information is often broken down into bite sized morsels. And they're fun to read!

So watch an episode or two of "Jeopardy" with your young reader. They may do better in certain categories than you! (Holzhauer says kids non-fiction didn't help much with popular culture questions.) Take notes of the categories that frustrate them and take them to the library to check out books on those topics. You can even create your own "Jeopardy"-style quiz. Here's afree version online.

The pitch to your reluctant reader: you, too, can be a "Jeopardy" millionaire!

Tip #57: An Upside to Climate Change?

Kitty Felde

Book Club Tee Shirts

Kids worry about the future. A lot. Christine Stoessel says she can tell because they come to her with questions.

Christine is the librarian at Sousa Middle School in Washington, D.C.  She says last year's spate of hurricanes at the beginning of the school year created a surge of requests for books and articles about climate change. "They're always interested in climate change," she says.

Last September was the most active month for hurricanes on record, according to The Weather Channel. Ten consecutive hurricanes roiled the Atlantic, including Category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria and Category 4 hurricaneJose

Kids want the answer to the big questions: can we blame the series of hurricanes on climate change? Will Category 4 or 5 hurricanes become the norm for the future? Christine says there are some terrific books and online resources that help kids find the answers.

Christine says climate change isn't the only topic kids are asking about of late. Immigration is another hot-button issue among middle schoolers. Again, there are lots of great lists of middle grade books on this topic.

Kids want answers to the questions they worry about and wonder about and think about. Growing up in the era before Google, I can remember my mom (a former elementary school teacher) giving the same response to almost any question: "look it up." According to Sousa Elementary School librarian Christine Stoessel, kids still seek out the same expert I did: they ask the librarian for help finding the answers.

Tip #54: Articl-ate Reading

Kitty Felde

Our live show at the Colorado Book Festival

Our live show at the Colorado Book Festival

Oh, those non-fiction lovers. 

On the Book Club for Kids podcast, we focus on glorious middle grade fiction - fantasy novels, realistic tales of contemporary life, historic dramas, you name it. But there are some readers who just don't connect with stories that aren't "true."

Ra'Neta Oliver is a fifth grade teacher at Excel Academy Public Charter School in Washington, DC. She says for kids who crave facts instead of fiction, she looks for articles that are "culturally appropriate" for her readers, often related to hot topics all over social media and the news. Recent favorites include stories about the #MeToo movement, #BlackLivesMatter, and International Women's Day.

Ra'Neta uses the free content on Read Works (which offers articles from all sorts of sources, including The Wall Street Journal, the American Museum of Natural History, and even the New York City Ballet.) She says the various reading levels make the material accessible to all of her scholars. She also usesAchieve3000, which is not free.

Ra'Neta admits that news articles aren't a miracle cure for all things reading. Even after finding what she thinks is the perfect article for the perfect kid, it doesn't always work. "They still don't like it," she says with a laugh.

What works for you?