Mid-week greetings everyone! Today we have a guest post from SCBWI member Kitty Felde, who is the founder of an amazing program Book Club for Kids. Makes me almost want to be in middle school again! Here’s Kitty telling us all about it –
I’m an SCBWI member, but also the creator and host of a free new podcast called the Book Club for Kids. It’s the place where middle grade readers meet to talk about the books they love!
The show was inspired by conversations I had with young readers at the LA Times Festival of Books. These were kids trapped in mom’s carpool, forced to listen to public radio, desperate to hear young voices or conversations about things that interested them. I created Book Club for Kids and it became one of the most popular events at the LA Times Festival of Books
First we started on radio. For nearly a decade, I hosted a talk show in Los Angeles where we would set aside half an hour to listen to middle school students talk about the book of the month. (I believe Book Club for Kids was the reason I was named Journalist of the Year three years out of four by the LA Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.)
A live, on-stage version of Book Club for Kids became an annual tradition for half a decade at the LA Times Festival of Books. Every spring, we’d spend a full hour onstage with half a dozen young readers, discussing one of the books nominated for an LA Times Book Award. The author would listen from the back of the tent, and then was invited onstage to participate in the discussion, answering questions from the kids and the audience. We’d even have a “celebrity” reader to kick off the conversation.
Here’s a couple of video clips from a couple of LA Times Festival of Books appearances:
As you can see, the show moved to cable TV. Here’s a link to one of the programs:
Now that I’m here in Washington, DC, Book Club for Kids has become a podcast.
The show features a conversation with a trio of young readers about the book of the month, a short conversation with the author with questions from kids from around the country, and a reading from the book by a “celebrity.” Past shows have featured the FBI’s special agent for weapons of mass destruction, two LA mayors, and Washington DC Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Here’s a link to our latest show featuring Newbery winner Kwame Alexander and LA Laker Tarik Black:
Already, the show has gotten some buzz: it made the front page of DC’s local newspaper:
Book Club for Kids has also been invited to participate onstage at Virginia’s Fall for the Book this autumn.
Want to help grow the show?
ITunes gives new podcasts about six weeks to establish a name for itself. Apple measures this three ways:
• How many SUBSCRIBERS there are to a podcast
• How many RATINGS there are for that podcast
• How many REVIEWS there are for that podcast
Here’s how YOU can help!
• SUBSCRIBE to the Book Club for Kids podcast
• Rate it – like you do on Yelp, give it some stars
• Review it – write a sentence or two about the show
If you’re one of us adults who hate technology and haven’t yet downloaded a podcast, no worries. There’s help on our Facebook page!
Questions? Email us at BookClubforKidsPodcast@gmail.com.
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