I’ve never come away from chatting with a classroom full of kids about ARCs they’ve read and reviewed for me without some interesting takeaways. The conversation below with two Cape Cod Hill School classes, one fourth grade and one fifth grade, who had just completed our annual Galley Review Project was not an exception. Note that while kids this age like nonfiction, the use of inserting fictional elements into the narrative to create dialogue is very important to them. Here are the kids!
Kenny: What surprised you the most about the book you read?
Emma Z: That seeing a unicorn in the parking lot wasn’t surprising to the people in the book. (Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures)
Brody: There was a boy who looked nice but he did something that was not nice at all.
Emma H: I read about Dolly Madison. (Women Who Broke the Rules: Dolly Madison) I was surprised that she was a famous girl who did a lot of things and helped her husband a lot.
Abigail: I was surprised that the author rated Roller Girl for 9 and up because it has a swear in it.
Kenny: What surprised you the least?
Saige: The title of my book, Best Friend Next Door, made it not such a big surprise that the girls were going to be best friends in the end.
Brody: My book had race in the title so I wasn’t too surprised that there was a race.
Kenny: Do you think that titles should make you want to read the book but not tell you what’s in it?
Kenny: Were there any character that you especially wish you could know and be friends with?
Emma Z: Pip from because of her friend Tomas who was allergic to everything, even of having fizzles in your underwear!
Kenny: Was the cover of your book accurate to the story?
Class. Yeah. Definitely.
Brynne: Mine is really for younger kids but it looks like it is for my age. (Women Who Broke the Rules: Sacajawea)
Brody: I read that one too, it was kind of boring. There were no people talking to each other in it.
Kenny: You felt the book should have had some dialogue to make it more interesting.
Christian: Definitely. I read one in that series and it didn’t have any either. It was pretty boring.
(Various voices of general agreement)
Kenny: What was the most evil thing you encountered in the books your read?
Emma Z: Big black dogs called Grims, they had sharp teeth and were evil.
Megan: Rat Shade cursed and became evil. She tricked someone else into pricking their finger on the hamster wheel. (Harriet the Invincible)
Kenny: That is pretty evil. OK, did you find anything in your books that reminded you of another books you’ve read?
Emma H: Well, Grims are in Harry Potter too.
Justin: Lost reminded me of Stranded. I liked them both.
Emma Z: Nancy Drew because there was also asking questions and solving mysteries.
Kenny: If Mrs. Perry and Mrs. Murray were teachers in a school for magic what would their subjects be.
Saige: Magical math.
Emma Z: Taking care of magical creatures.
Max: Yeah and how to make new magical creatures.
Ted: How to fly.
Kenny: Great. One last question: If you were writing a book about saving the world what would you be saving the world from?
Brandon: A giant monster.
Emma H: An evil shapeshifter who was stealing all of the world’s trees.
Kenny: That’s an excellent idea, Emma.
Brynne: Nature being wiped out
Various Voices: Zombie apocalylpse
Justin: Aliens with dentures.
Kenny: Aged aliens eh. That would be a big save! Thanks everyone for all your great reviews.
Class: Thanks for coming.