Today I had the privilege to host our 2nd book club of the year with one of my colleagues.
We read Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee.
The students didn't seem to love this book as much as Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein, but you couldn't really tell that from their discussion! Once they got talking about the book, you could tell that they had some strong feelings and strong connections to this book.
We started the book club by reading a passage from the book that described the museum and we had the students close their eyes to visualize themselves standing in the museum as we started our discussion. We discussed how the author used such descriptive language to help us imagine the immense museum. We also discussed how past experiences with museums and our background knowledge came into play as we read this book.
My absolute favorite part in the book was when Ophelia came across a letter.
"Be kind to everyone whom you meet along the way, and things will be well.
Kindness is far stronger than any cruelty.
Always extend your hand in friendship.
You may feel alone, but there will always be people will help you along the way.
Never, ever give up."
What a fabulous mantra to live by and such a fabulous piece of writing to discuss with 4th and 5th graders. I just loved hearing what the students had to say and their reaction to these lines. If everyone could just live by these lines...life would just be better...and more peaceful!
We discussed the lines
"...and you might think a name is just a name, nothing but a name, but this is not the case. Your name is tacked to you. Where it has joined you, it has seeped into your skin and into your essence and into your soul.”
as well as the lines...
"The strangest thing I ever learned is that it’s impossible to know what’s inside someone. I have learned this myself. Those who appear tall and straight and very good are sometimes rotten on the inside, and others, huge and clawed and apparently very bad, sometimes contain a pure and sweet form of goodness. The biggest trap is to judge someone by their outer casing. Their skin. Their hair. Their snow-white feathers.”
These lines speak volumes and resonated with me.
The boys were fascinated with the story of the Snow Queen and the misery birds and leopards. The girls were fascinated with beautiful Alice and Ophelia and Ophelia's connection to her dead mother. The discussion was lively and I think that they realized how much they truly did LOVE this book!
It was a wonderful afternoon spent with some pretty special readers!