You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
— James Baldwin
For our book discussion, we read Front Desk by Kelly Yang. Read a review and description of the book here, for the realistic fiction post of the reading log. Initially I was worried to be in a book discussion group because I was honestly worried that I would be too shy to say too much. Thankfully I wasn’t and was able to express myself, fairly well perhaps. I tend to have a case of staircase wit (see wikipedia here for explanation on that!) but was glad that I had finished the book in enough time to process my thoughts on it and be relatively prepared to discuss them in group. I’m actually worried that I said too much and while everyone was participating in the discussion I do feel like some maybe said a bit more. It seemed that everyone in the group generally liked the book and I’m excited to booktalk it with my students even more now. I have only informally participated in book discussions before, despite having been a librarian for five years. I led a few book discussions as a teen librarian, in conjunction with my associate. But it was incredibly difficult to get the teens to talk most of the time! In college, when we had book discussions I was much too shy to say much but now it seems I have built up my confidence a bit. I appreciated the loose structure of the conversation, and will try to take that to book discussions with students. I was super worried that we wouldn’t have any structure since our group did not meet beforehand and was happily surprised when I realized Mary would be facilitating the conversation. It was super helpful to have that model (thanks Mary!) so that I can then go likewise hopefully lead a book discussion at school. It was an important tidbit for me to hear from our professor, Mary, that we should ask open ended questions with students that they can answer, by making connections to self, even if they have not read the book. It’s a helpful reminder that we are not English teachers, and rather that as librarians we can hope that if they do identify with the questions, perhaps they will willingly go back and read. Overall I had an enjoyable discussion over a truly sweet book that I can’t wait to share with more students next year.