I recently hosted a special book club at my house for kids between the ages of 9 and 13 (except me, but we won’t talk about that). It was special because the book we read was HER OWN TWO FEET: A RWANDAN GIRL’S BRAVE FIGHT TO WALK. It was a major thrill to see our book in real reader’s hands!! But this wasn’t just for thrills. I had assigned these kids an important task.
I asked each kid to come up with questions for Rebeka and videoed them, so I can show Rebeka when I’m in Rwanda.
On June 19th I fly to Rwanda. In addition to answering her reader’s questions, Rebeka will also give a tour of her school and her home and introduce her family and friends. A little backstory: to have questions about the book we needed readers, and we wanted young ones. In what I can only call a miracle, within 24 hours of hatching the idea I had ten ready and willing kids, and my publisher was able to get me a few more advanced reader copies (thank you Scholastic!). A months later, my readers brought their unique perspectives and curiosity and notes to my dining room table. (I had a few who came early or late or couldn’t make it to our meeting, so I got their questions separately.)
Of course we had snacks, as every proper book club should. In addition to cupcakes with sprinkles, we had some treats reminiscent of Rwanda: guacamole (avocados in Rwanda are amazing!!), mangoes and orange Fanta.
The kids got to see Rebeka’s shoe. They touched the black rubber sole made from tires, the same shoe that once supported the calloused top of Rebeka’s foot. It was sweet to see how Rebeka became a little more real to them. The goal is to bring a little of Rebeka to every school visit or book party, even if she can’t be there in person. I am so grateful to all of my readers, and I can’t wait to show people our video next fall! Stay tuned for Book Club Part Two (my time with Rebeka in Rwanda) and Book Club Part Three (when I share Rebeka’s responses with our readers).
What a fabulous book club! I love the curiosity they showed through their questions. Have a wonderful trip and I cannot wait to read the book when it comes out this Fall. Can’t wait for book club #2.
Thank you Annika! I’m excited about posting book clubs #2 and #3 as well and seeing how this all comes together!
Wow, wow, wow . . . how cool is this? LOVE IT!!!!!
Thanks Jerri, I love it, too!! And this means a lot coming from not only a talented writer, but an amazing teacher!!
This is so fantastic! I love the connections that are forming – how these 10 young readers now have a connection to Rwanda and sharing their questions offers the chance for even more people to connect. It can grow and grow!
I’m looking forward to Book Club Parts 2 & 3 – I can’t wait to hear Rebeka’s answers! 🙂
Gayleen, you nailed it. How cool it is that these kids have thrown their “string” across the ocean, both by reading Rebeka’s story and asking questions, and Rebeka will throw one back across, connecting them even more. So thankful for all the strings that tie the two of us together, VCFA and writing and SCBWI and coffee shop writing and so much more.