The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 18, 2002


Carlisle Middle School book group is a continuing success

Today's teens are very busy.

Between sports, music, clubs, drama and, of course, school work, we move from one activity to the next, oftentimes looking for a peaceful moment just to sit, relax and enjoy a good book. In fact, that is what 3,000 teens told the American Library Association (ALA) in an online survey last year. Kids say they would read more if they only had the time.

In Carlisle, however, there is a group of young adults doing just that making time to read, share and enjoy books. Last October, a middle school book discussion group was started that became so popular that the kids asked to continue meeting through the end of the school year. This informal group meets on Wednesday afternoons once or twice a month in our school library. Discussions have ranged from favorite reads of summer, to books by specific authors like Gary Paulsen and Avi and, most recently, the book Tangerine by Edward Bloor. Of course, one discussion was dedicated to discussion of the Harry Potter books prior to the release of the movie.
Sandy Kelly leads a Carlisle Middle School book discussion group at the school library. (Photo by Ellen Huber)

While the gathering has evolved into a core group of regulars, new members are always welcome. On one recent Wednesday, a newer member joined in the group's celebration of two members' January birthdays. The group includes both boys and girls, representing grades six through eight.

Author visits

The group also had the opportunity to be library guests when acclaimed author Natalie Bober visited the library on Tuesday, December 18. Her presentation was geared to seventh graders who are studying "What's Worth Fighting For?" in their curriculum on the American Revolution. Bober was accompanied by a videographer from CSPAN, a cable network, which taped the program for Book TV. She described her use of original sources such as letters, diaries, and speeches in writing her book Countdown to Independence: A Revolution of Ideas in England and Her American Colonies: 1760-1776. Other books by Natalie Bober include Thomas Jefferson: Man on a Mountain and Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution. She also wrote biographies of Robert Frost and of the artist Marc Chagall. A question-and-answer period followed Bober's presentation at the Carlisle School. The program will be broadcast on CSPAN2 on Saturday, January 26, at 8 a.m. and 12 noon.

Some of the students are attempting to author their own works. In addition, some have shared reviews of their favorite reads (see below). Book club members are also brainstorming additional activities to include other students in the school. In March, the plan is to have a used paperback book exchange in the school library. Middle schoolers will be invited to bring in used books in good condition, which may be exchanged for other titles they would like to read. Anyone in grades six through eight will be welcome to participate.

Book recommendations

Looking for a good read for a teenager? The following books were suggested by school librarians as contenders for the 2001 Newbery Award. It is always a highly guarded secret by the Newbery Committee as to which books are on the list. Do you have a favorite? Have you read any of these?

Tiger Rising by Kate Di Camillo

Dancing in the Cadillac Light by Kimberly Willis Holt

Jakarta Missing by Jane Kurtz

The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley

Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl

The Gawgon and the Boy by Lloyd Alexander

Witness by Karen Hesse

The 2002 Newbery Award and the Young Adult Printz Award winners will be announced by the American Library Association January 21, online at The Massachusetts Children's Book Award reading list is available on the school library website@

There you will also find the Carlisle Middle School recommended reading list and links to the Gleason Public Library and the Concord-Carlisle High School Library.


2002 The Carlisle Mosquito