At my library, there are two book clubs: Tween Book Club, for kids in grades 4-6, and Teen Book Club, for teens in grades 6-12. When I took over the Tween Book Club two years ago, my group was comprised almost entirely of fourth graders. The teens were mostly eighth and ninth graders. Things worked out swimmingly…for a while.
As my kids have gotten older, they’ve wanted more mature and difficult books to read. The same thing has happened with the teens. The problem, of course, is that the age ranges of these clubs are really broad. Tween BC originally included third graders – they got dropped last year because it was just too difficult to find material that was stimulating and appropriate for eight-year-olds and twelve-year-olds. (With the exception of the Wimpy Kid books, which everyone loves.) And now, four of the girls from my group have “aged out” of Tween BC. I can’t keep them – trying to accommodate seventh and fourth graders brings back the problems we had with the third grade kids – but they don’t all feel comfortable transitioning to the teen group, because most of the members are juniors in high school.
Last summer, we tried to start a middle school book club, but attendance was low and 100% redundant with the other two clubs, so we dropped it. Now I’m starting to think that we should reconsider. I would love for our third graders to have a book club again, for one thing. Plus, it would definitely ease the transition – it’s a pretty big jump to go from The Hoboken Chicken Emergency (our book for this month) to the five-hundred-page paranormal romances that are popular in the teen group. By adding a middle school group (thus making the grades for each group 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12), we would be better able to find materials that suit everyone’s skill levels and interests.
For today, though, my seventh-grade girls will get a very charming cardstock graduation cap, and we’ll send them off to the teens.