Books hold immense power. So, this summer, encourage your kids to harness this power. Head to a children’s book club in your city to engage your little bookworms. Here are few that we recommend!
By Vidya Nesarikar
The simplest way to raise literate children is to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them — Neil Gaiman, author.
There are several quotes on why reading is an important activity for a kid. The benefits of reading are well-known. Reading improves language skills, general knowledge and gives flight to a child’s imagination. We all know that a child with a book is never lonely. Also, parents worried about children getting too much screen time can try to inculcate the reading habit in their child. One way of doing that is to introduce their child to a book club. Book clubs turn books and reading into a community activity.
Exclusive children’s book clubs are mushrooming across cities to engage little bookworms in unique ways. Book clubs turn books and reading into a community activity. Book recommendations, fan clubs, storytelling, discussions, art and craft based on a book theme – the activities seem endless at these clubs!
Also read: Summer Reading List For High School Students
Anusha Ashok, founder of Little Spark, a library which also features a weekly book club in Chennai says, “A book club takes reading one step forward — as it generally includes a discussion post reading a book, a reading log, and more importantly exposes them to different genres like non-fiction and books that they may not generally pick up to read. It also creates a bit of a healthy competition, to keep up with the books others are reading.”
1. Book Explorers: This book club in Mumbai was started by two friends — Senjuti Bishi and Subhadra Patil. The book club is open for 8 to 12-year-olds. Children read a chosen book over a couple of weeks based on its length and then meet up for a weekly discussion. Favourites at the club include JK Rowling, Enid Blyton, Harry Potter, Roald Dahl, Ruskin Bond, Roopa Pai, Sudha Murthy, Neil Gaiman, David Walliams, Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers), RJ Palacio (Wonder), Emma Carroll (Letters from the Lighthouse), Cressida Cowell (How to Train your Dragon) to name a few.
Classics, translations, modern and contemporary books are introduced to children. “We have six levels based on reading ability and comprehension. Our aim is to make more children read books and for parents to understand the long-term benefits of reading as a hobby,” said an enthusiastic Senjuti Bishi. “We have also started a mini library with multiple copies of the same book, so that expensive books or those that are difficult to source, are easy to procure for our young members.”
Address: Orchid F, Gundecha Valley of Flowers, Thakur Village Road, Evershine Millennium Paradise, Thakur Village, Kandivali East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400101, India
Phone number: 098204 40835, 091588 89495
Fees: Rs 1500 a month
For more information: https://facebook.com/bookexplorers/
2. Joy of Books: This library in Chennai has been hosting a reading club for children in the age group of 4-7 years. “Our aim is to promote reading as an activity in itself without the frills of after activities like art and craft. We read out a book to children and have an organic discussion about it. The discussion has a minimal adult intervention. I have found this format to be quite an enriching experience for children,” said Abirami Ramanujam who has been organising these sessions for the last couple of months.“ We plan to introduce some bilingual sessions, such as readings and discussions on Thirukkrual, a classic Tamil text consisting of 1330 couplets,” she added.
Address: T 88, 5th Main Road, Anna Nagar, Chennai, India 600040
Phone number: 072993 05663
Book club timings: Fridays: 4 to 5 p.m.
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/joybooksannanagar/
3. Read n Rejoice Book Library and Kids Learning Hub: Read and Rejoice hosts a children’s book club in Chennai where children can discuss their favourite books like Geronimo Stilton and the Wimpy Kid Series. Read and Rejoice has created a space where children can discuss, share and participate in activities that motivate reading. Their motto is to create more book lovers by making reading an enjoyable activity. “We don’t have a set format. Sometimes it is a discussion about a favourite author, sometimes we read a short story and talk about it, stated Sasikala P, founder of Read n Rejoice. “Sometimes the response is not in large numbers, but we keep doing it because there are children who are passionate about reading. We hope to increase those numbers.”
Address: Plot no. 24, Door no. 10/832, Raja Nagar, Medavakkam, Chennai 600100
Phone number: 9884391091
For more information: http://www.readnrejoice.in/
4. Tuffy Tiger Book Club: This club is primarily an online library in Mumbai for children in the age group of 2-12 years. They believe that the importance of reading to a child’s development, psychological, emotional, cognitive and academic is unparalleled. “We rope in a panel of experts to create a customised reading plan for every kid based on their age, interests and reading profile. For example, a toddler who is just learning about the world of books, we recommend touch and feel books, sound books, international children’s writers, etc.” said Neelam Shah of Tuffy Tiger Book Club. “When a child returns a book, we ask for feedback such as did she enjoy the book, was it easy to read or too hard.”
Address: Shivaji Nagar, Goregaon East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400072
Phone Number: 91 83569 79677
For more information: http://www.tuffytiger.net/
5. Hippocampus Children’s Company: Since 2003, Hippocampus has been working toward a single goal — to inspire children to read more. The centre was founded with the setting up of a Children’s Experience Centre — the first of its kind, in Bangalore. The key idea was to create a fun place with books and activities for children with varied reading interests and levels, thereby promoting ‘reading for joy’. Hippocampus has a large collection of books that children can borrow and they can also participate in various club activities.
Address: 525, 16th Main Rd, Koramangala 3 Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560034
Phone number: 080 2563 0206
For more information: https://hippocampusschoolservices.com/
The Reading Raccoons – Discovering Children’s Literature: With close to 21,000 members, this Facebook group is doing wonders for — as their title suggests — discovering children’s literature. Though it is not a typical children’s book club, as it is a parents’ forum — it merits a mention; as it is an extremely active group about children’s literature. Parents discuss books that their children enjoy or perhaps why famous titles failed to impress their tots. Book discussions around issues children might face, deal with topics such as positive body image and bullying. To join the group and more information: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Readingraccoons/
Reading can open up whole new opportunities for your child. So, lead your child to the enchanting world of books with these book clubs in your city.
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