HFS students maintain book club

For six students of Holy Family School in Sauk Centre, their individual love of stories has become a group pursuit with their book club. The six girls – fourth graders Kali Yarke and Brynn Borgmann and fifth graders Lauren Sunderman, Elizabeth Friedrichs, Raya Nathe and Kadie Miller – are continuing this club into the school year, reading books and comparing them to their cinematic adaptations.

The club started in August this year when Yarke and Nathe were visiting each other.

“We were at my house, just talking about books, and then my mom (Jill Yarke) said, ‘You guys should start a book club,’” Yarke said.

The total group of six knew each other through HFS, and most of them also live in the same general neighborhood. The book club does not have an official name or leader – although Yarke often serves as the group’s spokesperson.

Although their group is about a month old, the members have gone through four books so far: “Wonder” by J.R. Palacio, “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Matilda” by Roald Dahl and “Beezus and Ramona” by Beverly Cleary. They are currently reading the C.S. Lewis classic, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” and moving forward, they have their eye on “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

When choosing books to read, the club usually ends up with three main choices that everyone votes on.

“We try to find books that have movies, so then we can watch the movie after we’ve read the book,” Miller said.

Their parents also help out with planning the club meetings.

“They help us decide the next book and give us ideas for it, and then they usually make snacks and drinks,” Friedrichs said.

There is no time frame for reading a given book; once everyone is done reading, they will meet again to watch the movie adaptation. Borgmann is considered the group’s fastest reader, usually finishing first – even if she does not start first – and she read all of “Matilda” while on a trip to Canada.

“I read the whole book on the trip because I was very bored,” Borgmann said.

“Matilda” is one of the book club’s favorites so far; Borgmann herself was initially not interested in it, but she got hooked after reading the first 10 pages. When asked about their favorite scene in the book, the group dives into animated conversation about a number of scenes with the titular protagonist’s supernatural exploits.

“I never would have read ‘Matilda,’” Miller said. “I’m glad I did, because it turned out to be a really good book.”

At this point, the group has liked the movie adaptations they have seen, and once they are done with the book and movie, they have discussions about them. Sometimes, they get printed-out discussion questions and cut them into individual pieces of paper before folding them up and putting them in a bucket or hat; whatever question is drawn is what guides the club’s reflections.

The book club is open to new members, but they prefer to start with fellow students who are already known to all or most of the group; they also do not want the group to get too large, making it easier to have everyone on a similar reading schedule. For now, they look forward to reading more books, watching more of their movies and talking more about them – all while gaining a better appreciation for the art of storytelling.