Ideas on exactly how to start a book club for kids, how to organize it, and ideas of what books to start with!
One of the things I knew I wanted for my kids: to have a true love of books.
Once we started hybrid homeschooling, I knew that I wanted to find a way to make our books come alive. My son loved to “celebrate” great books once we were done reading them by having parties. We did this for a few series we loved, and invited family to these little celebrations.
I read in Adventuring Together (which is a fantastic book) about Greta’s book club. I was so in love with the idea, but also knew there was nothing like this around us.
Finally, I realized that sometimes you have to be the one to put in the work and the time to get what you’d love, and that’s what I was going to have to do with our book club too!
So I did some research online, put together a framework, and then pitched it to our community. We have now done a whole year of book club and I’m planning out year 2 right now!
Here’s what I’ve learned from running our book club this year.
Step 1: Figure out the logistics of your book club for kids
I don’t know about you, but I’m a “big idea” person. I don’t typically love figuring out the logistics and technical pieces, but it is necessary when you’re putting together your book club!
Here’s what you’ll need to figure out:
- WHERE will it be?
- Will book club be at the same place every time? Will you rotate places? Will you do it in someone’s home or meet somewhere else?
- We chose to host book club at my house this year, and we hosted every time.
- WHO is coming?
- Is it open for all children? Or just certain ages? Are younger/older siblings invited? Are parents supposed to stay with their kids?
- We opened it up to my kids hybrid school, which is currently grades K-8. We wanted to keep it family friendly, so we said any siblings (think: toddlers) were welcome to come. We did encourage parents to stay, but we did have some of the older kids get dropped off/picked up by the end of the year.
- WHAT will you be reading?
- Would the group like to contribute to the book list for the year? Who will make the final decisions? Are there certain topics or literary styles you’d like to focus on?
- I made up the book list for the year, and felt so much pressure to pick “the right books”! We didn’t stick to a theme, but we did choose books that were more classically leaning.
- HOW OFTEN will you be meeting?
- Will you meet every month? Every other? Quarterly? What seems like a realistic timeframe to read the books you chose, and still be able to do it without making it stressful to get the reading finished?
- We chose to meet 5 times from September-May. This averaged out to meeting every 6 weeks or so.
- WHO will be coordinating the activities + bringing the food?
- Will you assign people to plan/lead the activities? Will you take turns? Will you ask for donations for supplies?
- I planned and executed activities with help from the other parents. We did ask for donations of materials as needed. Everyone else brought food with them to share with the group.
- HOW will the book club run?
- Determine the time you’d like the book club to run. How will you structure that time? Activities, discussion, rotating through stations/centers, snack, etc.
- We changed it up depending on the group size. Sometimes, we had everyone do activities together, and sometimes we broke into smaller groups and rotated through centers. Generally, we did activities, then snack and discussion, and then did outside time either in the middle or at the end of the session.
Step 2: Gather your community
Once you’ve figured out the logistics above, you can have a more solid plan to approach people with. You want people who are excited to be a part of the book club you’re creating, so you want to make sure you’re clear with your ideas before they choose to join or not. Don’t be offended or disappointed if people aren’t ready and willing to jump on board right away – they might not be “your people”!
We opened up the invitation to our hybrid school, and got a good group from those families. If we were still looking for other people, I would have asked:
- other homeschool co-ops
- church friends
- your local library staff (see if they have a way to get the word out to other book lovers in the community, or if they can put up a flyer)
- local Facebook groups
Step 3: Get started!
Since you did all the heavy lifting in the first section, you’ll have a nice idea of how you want to run the club, who is going to be there, how tasks will be delegated, and what books you will be reading. Planning is key to success so you’re not stressed/questioning at the end!
Now it’s time to actually read, and then meet. After your first 2-3 meetings, you’ll probably find areas that need to be tweaked and problems that need to be solved. That’s all a part of it too! Keep open communication with the other adults so you know what they’re loving and what they can help with as well.
I bought this book halfway through the school year and liked the ideas they had too! We only used some of them, but I’m going to keep their book suggestions front and center when planning out next year too.
When you’re trying to figure out what books to read with your book club for kids, I can share the books that we did this past year!
- Swiss Family Robinson
- The Year of Miss Agnes
- My Side of the Mountain
- Treasure Island
- Anne of Green Gables
My favorites from this past year were The Year Of Miss Agnew, My Side of the Mountain, and I’ve always loved Anne of Green Gables.
Finally: have fun with it!
Enjoy this stage with the kids! Get to know the other families. Celebrate good literature – and just be prepared to be flexible with your book club for kids.
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