The Mad Hatters Middle Grade Book Club is made up of four kids aged 9 – 12. Every fortnight during the school term we explore both fiction and non-fiction targeted towards kids in upper primary school. We cover a range of genres and writing styles to broaden their variety of reading material as well as take into consideration what they do and do not like to read.
Each fortnight the kids read a new book and rated it on a 3 star scale:
1 star = okay; 2 stars = good; 3 stars = great.
Book #1: Malala: My story of standing up for girls rights by Malala Yousafzai
We started off the year with a non-fiction book; it was a fitting book to begin the school term with and something outside of their comfort zones. We talked about who Malala was and why it was important to know her story. They found Malala’s honest and confronting autobiography to be insightful and entertaining.
Rating: Three ★★★ and one ★★ making it an overall success with the group.
Book #2: A Witch for a Week by Kay Umansky
Our next book was something from the opposite end of the scale: a junior fiction book about a young girl who is picked to house sit for a witch for an entire week and the events that unfold from the unusual circumstances. Although the book was entertaining the kids found it a bit too young for them. They determined the characters and plot points were underdeveloped for their liking and they sought something with more depth.
Rating: Two ★★ , one ★½ star rating, and one ½ star rating.
Book #3: Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
For our third book of the year we switched genres again, delving into crime fiction. This book was a favourite among the kids who had lots of fun coming up with theories based on the small amount of information we had on the book before reading it.
Rating: one ★★★ star rating, two ★★½ star ratings, and one ★½ star rating.
Book #4: The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer.
Due to popular demand we didn’t stray far from the crime genre, this time landing on the mystery book for our final book of term one. The story about the younger sister of the famous Sherlock Holmes went down almost as well as the previous novel, only missing the top spot by 1/2 a star.
Rating: three ★★½ star ratings, one ★½ star rating.