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📚 Bookelicious Middle Grade Book Club: Medusa by Katherine Marsh


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, we read Katherine Marsh's Medusa. As you can see from the word cloud participants created to describe the language they would use when book talking this title, Medusa is a book about empowerment, finding (and using!) your voice and what it means to be an ally. As the teachers and librarians who attend our monthly book club were adding to this word cloud, Katherine talked about how gratifying it is to see others recognize the themes she was thinking about when writing Ava's story. As I said at the time, who wouldn't want to read a book described like this???

That said, the Bookelicious Middle Grade Book Club is just plain fun, y'all! 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 that month's book club pick. These efforts have turned into a (VERY FRIENDLY) competition that I look forward to ALMOST as much as I look forward to chatting about great books each month! While I ended up not wearing the Medusa themed headdress that I bought for the event, I think I found a suitable surrogate. I did, however, sport some Medusa earrings that I'm quite fond us! I can't wait to see what we come up with for next month's discussion of Chanel Miller's Magnolia Wu Unfolds It All! 🧦🧦


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 make for great book club micro-collections, 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: Let's Hear It for The Girl!

Bin 2: Fantastic Friendships

Bin 3: Finding Your Voice

 Bin 4: Home Is Where The Heart Is

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 activities, related to that month's book club selection, for participants to download (for free) and use with their students. This month, I went crazy and created SEVERAL activities! Once I got started, I just couldn't stop, y'all!

Connections Puzzle:

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 puzzles of their own. 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 Medusa there, too!

Coloring Sheet:

I also shared the coloring sheet that I created as a companion to Medusa.  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.

Book Character Guess Who!?:

Inspired by a tweet from Melissa Corey, this month I created a Book Character Guess Who?! game for Medusa. I plan to make more of these, and will share more about the process then. For now, here's the one I created for Medusa. As I noted during book club, I intentionally created the characters in black and white so they could be colored! And I included a blank worksheet so that some kids could draw their own characters!

The Reader's Heart:

Although we recorded the episode months ago, we intentionally waited until recently to publish our conversation, so that it would coincide with this month's Bookelicous Book Club. I loved chatting with Katherine for The Reader's Heart and hope you find the episode as meaningful as I did. That said, although The Reader's Heart is published for adults, I often think about how these conversations would inform my reader's advisory with kids. You can find The Reader's Heart wherever you listen to podcasts, but here's a link to the show notes I wrote for this episode.

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!

We're busy planning Book Club events for the fall and I look forward to announcing those soon! In the meantime, we're looking forward to discussing Chanel Miller's Magnolio Wu Unfolds It All in August! Reserve your spot today!


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