Monday, May 20, 2013

May Bookworms Meeting - Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood

This past Thursday we had our fifth and final meeting of the 4th & 5th grade book club - The BOOKWORMS - for this school year at our library. For the May meeting, the kids chose to read PRAIRIE EVERS by Ellen Airgood.

Book Description
Prairie Evers is finding that socialization isn't all it's cracked up to be. She's been homeschooled by her granny and has learned the most from traipsing through nature. But now she has to attend public school, and feels just like her chickens--cooped up and subject to the pecking order. School is a jolt for Prairie until she meets Ivy, her first true friend. But while raising chickens and the great outdoors have given Prairie wisdom and perspective, nothing has prepared her for the give and take of friendship. When Prairie finds out that Ivy's home may not be the best place for Ivy, Prairie must corral all her optimism and determination to hatch a plan to help.

This book really was a sweet, but thoughtful foray into a young girl's life. Prairie was homeschooled until she moves and begins to attend fifth grade in public school. Her story is such a mix of family-handed down wisdom, country life, and her new life in upstate New York. All three girls really enjoyed the story, and we got into some great discussions about school, family relationships, and raising animals for pets and food.

To start the meeting, we again did our trivia contest, with a candy to both the winner and our very close runners up. Then I had a list of discussion questions that we talked about. Here are a couple quick examples:

*What do you think are the benefits to homeschooling? What are benefits to being in "regular" school?

*What is the best show and tell item (or visual aid for a presentation) that you have ever brought to school?

*How would you feel about eating chicken if you raised your own?

I'm always amazed at how intuitive these kids can be about certain topics. They talked about social interactions in school, being held back by slower learners, or learning in different ways from a classmate if their teacher's style didn't work for them. They discussed the ethics of eating meat if you owned chickens, pigs, or cows as pets... I really do love hearing their ideas and perspectives and seeing how they end up influencing my own!

We finished out our meeting by designing our own quilt squares. Prairie's mom makes her money by creating quilts and teaching a quilting class in the book. I'd loved to have taught them how to actually make a real quilt square, but time, skill levels and money were all a factor here, so... we colored our quilt designs instead.

(This is mine.) It's amazing to see how very creative the kids can be. One girl did all of her squares in orange, but with different patterns drawn on each square. Another created a larger picture over all nine of her squares. Honestly, I would have loved to see these quilts in real life.
I'm sad to say that we're done for this school year. I'm hoping each of these attendees will return in the fall. But for now, on to planning the summer reading programs!!

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