I’ve been running a Faculty Children’s Literature Circle for, I guess, about 10 years here at Dalton. The purpose of the Circle is simple: to enjoy books published for children and young adults, without a curricular agenda. We meet once a month (give or take) during the school year and have read picture books, poetry, graphic novels, fiction and nonfiction.
Once in a while, an author or an editor would drop by and talk to us. Last spring Wendy Lamb (editor for the Newbery winning title When You Reach Me) came and listened to our discussions and met with a few students about the book and this spring Rita William-Garcia and Rosemary Brosnan (author-editor duo for One Crazy Summer) visited with us and answered some of our queries and shared with us some of their insights and process. Two other authors came to Dalton and spoke to the students and we also prepared ourselves by reading one book from each author: Katherine Paterson and Jacqueline Wilson.
There are about twenty of us who hold quite a mixture of roles: administrators, middle school classroom and English teachers, math teachers, preceptorial faculty, theater teachers, technology department staff, and librarians from lower and middle school. We have lively discussion and really enjoy each other’s company.
I always wanted to keep a record of what we read and what we talk about during the meetings and now I am actually going to start simply by listing what we read this past academic year in the Circle. We met six times this year and read novels of various genres.
The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson
Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula le Guin
The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson
One Crazy Summer by Rita William-Garcia