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📚 Bookelicious Middle Grade Book Club: And Then, Boom! by Lisa Fipps

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Y'all, it's no secret that I love the Bookelicious Middle Grade Book Club. If you've never participated, these monthly events feature a new title written for middle grade readers and focus on helping educators create meaningful connections between these books and the readers they serve. Structured, in part, as a "build your own book club" workshop, participants leave with book lists and resources to use back at school, but the best part is that the authors and illustrators of the books we read join us in conversation!

Oh, and did I mention these events are free??


This month's meeting was all about, connections, y'all. The way our hearts connect to story; the way story connects our hearts to one another; the way connection makes it easier for us to empathize with one another and... Connections puzzles! (More on that later!) If you've read Lisa Fipp's sophomore novel-in-verse, And Then, Boom! then you already know that this is a book that is deeply rooted in the themes of connection and community. (And if you haven't read this amazing book yet, scroll down so you can use my Bookelicous discount code to correct that error!) Those themes resonated throughout our book club meeting, which was made all the more special because Lisa Fipps joined us! I loved our conversation about Joe, Grandmum and the community that comes together to support Joe when the world comes crashing down around him. Despite the fact that And Then, Boom! explores some heavy topics, or maybe because we were discussing these topics together, our book club meeting was as joyful as it was meaningful. Big thanks to everyone who joined us - including John Schu and Katherine Marsh (who is next month's Book Club guest, y'all!) who popped in to be part of this wonderful conversation!

Jennifer wearing "overripe banana" earrings.

And speaking of connections... if you've attended our book club in the past, you know that my partner in crime for these events is Aliza Werner. Aliza and I often try make sure our outfits and/or backgrounds are thematically connected to the book. These efforts have turned into a (VERY FRIENDLY) competition and while the real winner in all of this are the kids who get to read the books we discuss, I'm awfully proud of the "overripe banana" earrings I sported during last night's event. And, yes, I did paint my nails to match the book! That said, I can't wait to see what we come up with for next month's discussion of Katherine Marsh's Medusa! 🐍


Inspired by Breathing New Life Into Book Clubs by Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen, each month we share potential "book club bins." These micro-collections all feature that month's book club pick as an anchor text, along with several other titles that are connected by theme, genre, format or some other element that would be easy for kids to be in conversation about. The purpose of these book lists is to provide kids with voice and choice when selecting texts for book club (or literature circle) reading. Note: these suggestions are meant to serve as spring boards for educators to think about titles in their own collections that might great book club micro-collection, too! It's my hope that you'll also learn about some new titles to support this work AND I'm always so grateful to those who attend our events who suggest even more great books during our book club meetings!

Here are this month's book club bins and themes:

Bin 1: Resource Insecurity

Bin 2: Terrific Teachers

Bin 3: Found Families

Bin 4: Novels In Verse

Please enjoy a special discount of 20% off the titles mentioned above (or others of your choice) by visiting Bookelicious and using the code JENNIFERLAGARDE. Note: I do not make any money when you purchase books from Bookelicious, but I am delighted that you get to save some! HOWEVER, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that buying books from Bookelicious is the way we keep these events free while also supporting the authors and illustrators who join us each month, so... I hope you'll think of your book purchases from Bookelicous as supporting a good cause!

Each month, I also create an activity, related to that month's book club selection, for participants to download (for free) and use with their students. This month, that activity focused on a dupe of the NYT Connections Game, but for And Then Boom!

I wrote about the process of creating these book related Connections puzzles here - including a planning document that I create to support kids when crafting these puzzles. This post also include a Padlet board links to all the book related Connections puzzles (and their solutions!) that I've made so far. You'll find the one for And Then, Boom there!

As an added bonus, this month I also shared the coloring sheet that I created as a companion to And Then, Boom! As an aside, I've been a bit obsessed lately with the reality that both reading and coloring are proven stress relievers. As a result, I've been creating both book related coloring sheets AND monthly reading challenges that include pages for readers of all ages to color. I hope you find these resources useful.

Finally, here are my slides from this month's event.


As much as I have shared here, really this is just the tip of the reading joy iceberg! The real value of these events comes from participating, with the next best thing being watching the recording later. However, only those who register in advance get access to the recording, so head on over to right now and reserve your spot for one of their upcoming events. While I'm (obviously!) partial to the Middle Grade Bookclub, there are lots of opportunities to join this joyful reading community. I hope to see y'all there!

In the meantime, we're busy planning Book Club events for the fall. In the meantime, we're looking forward to discussing Katherine Marsh's Medusa in July. Reserve your spot today!


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