New Teen Book Club Offered at the Library by Brittney Uecker

This winter, I’m excited to be offering LPL’s Teen Book Club. For our first book pick we will be reading Katherine Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale.” Sign-ups and book distribution are happening now at the youth desk. Participants will have a month to read the book, and we will meet once on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 4 pm to discuss. This group is targeted towards teens ages 13 to 18, though I plan to add future book picks for middle school ages.

The first installment of the “Winternight” trilogy, “The Bear and the Nightingale” melds the genres of fantasy and fairy tale with a bit a history – it takes place in turn-of-the-century Russia – and horror, with the strange monsters and demons of old Russian lore afoot. The story follows fierce and determined Vasya as she fights to protect her family and village from the evil forces of these demons, as well as her villainous stepmother, all while rebelling against her supposed destiny to either marry or join a convent. Set in the unforgiving Siberian wilderness during the winter, “The Bear and the Nightingale” is perfect for cuddling up with a blanket and a cup of cocoa while watching the snow fall outside.

Why join a book club? Though the benefits of a book club are similar for all ages, there are several ways in which the book club setting is especially beneficial for kids and teens. Book club picks may be a book that your child may not pick on their own, so they are introduced to a variety of genres. It encourages kids to read for pleasure and outside of school, as well as increases their exposure to library resources. With the knowledge that we will be discussing the book, kids’ reading comprehension is automatically increased. Taking notes and jotting down questions they have or quotes they like as they are reading the book helps with this process. This also helps them to think beyond whether they simply like or don’t like the book, guiding them to analyze themes, characters, and writing styles on a deeper level. Come discussion day, they are given a voice and a space to freely discuss their feelings about the book without judgement or the pressure of a right or wrong answer. They are given the chance to practice speaking up in a group, as well as respecting different opinions and beliefs.

As I dive into this read alongside the book club participants, I can’t wait to hear what they have to say about “The Bear and the Nightingale.” If you have any questions, call 538-5212 or see Brittney Uecker at the youth desk.

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