Monday, December 15, 2008

Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

This was a great book that many of the boys seemed to really enjoy. What could be better for boys? It is a story filled with one adventure after another. Since Despereaux must rely on his senses in the dungeon, the boys were challenged to use their senses in a variety of activities.

For touch, they felt the contents within a medical bag to determine what was in the bag. For hearing, they listened to audio recordings of environmental sounds to try to determine what was making it. For taste, they closed their eyes and pinched their nose and tasted three drinks. One was Coke, the other Pepsi, and the last 7 up. For sight, they had to determine if a penny would fit on the drawing of a table. For smell, they smell the contents of three different cups to determine what was in each.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

The Baudelaire children are forced to out wit their appointed guardian when they discover that he is trying to get control over their inheritance. This is a popular series that one of the Leaders requested. It is important to support not only the boys interest but the leaders as well.

Activity: Through out the book Snicket defines words for the reader. We used those words and their context to play hang man. Instead of spelling the words, the boys had to define the meaning of the word before the man was hung.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is the main character in this book and he is a demigod. Again, this story is filled with one adventure after another as Percy and his friends set out on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.

Activity: Since the book inadvertently teaches the boys a bit of Greek mythology, we thought it would be fun for them to create a poster using the Greek alphabet. We gave them poster board and markers and let them create posters advertising the Guys and Books club.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Amulet. Book 1, The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

This graphic novel has a very powerful beginning that pulls the reader into the story immediately. Don’t let the fact that the main character is a girl keep you from using this title with boys. There is enough action and mystery in the story to keep them reading.

Activity: The book ends as the house morphs into a robot vehicle that travels on to the next adventure. So, using Legos we gave the boys the opportunity to create their own transforming machine. We gave them tons of Legos with many parts and pieces and let the boys go at it. Don't know who had more fun, the young guys or the teen guys?

Check out the photos and decide for yourself:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Swindle by Gordon Korman

When Griffin is swindled out of a valuable baseball card, he puts together a group of friends to help him steal his card back. This is one of those on the edge of your seat adventures.

Activity: We gave the boys baseball cards and they flipped cards. Instructions can be found on
The leaders decided to turn this activity into part of the discussion. So, they began by asking questions about the book and the boy that answered correctly got to flip. This is when we began to see the success of allowing the activity to prompt the discussion.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Measle and the Wrathmonk, by Ian Olgivy

Measle is an orphan that lives with his Uncle who turns out to be a Wrathmonk. What is a Wrathmonk? It is one that can turn people into teeny tiny people. When Measle gets into his Uncle’s way, he is made into one of those teeny tiny people and is set to live in a model train set. Measle soon learns that there are others also living in the train set and they soon learn that working together will help them survive.

Activity: This book was not a hit with the boys. The teen Leaders (one of whom chose the book because he remembered liking it when he was young) were very critical of the poor writing style. So we learned a lesson: use only well written books. Measle and the others need to rely on team work in order to survive, so the older guys led two team building activities. Apparently, the guys needed teamwork to survive this less-than-stellar book choice as well!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko

Living on Alcatraz Island at the same time as Al Capone is an adventure, all its own. But, try living there with your autistic sister. This is a humorous coming of age story that is sure to intrigue boys with "What would it be like to live on Alcatraz Island?".

Activity: We contacted the Federal Park on Alcatraz Island and asked if we could have a virtual tour of the Island. A Park Ranger guided the boys via conference call through significant areas of the park in which they visited via the Internet. Our teen guy leaders did an excellent job!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal, by Jeff Kinney

In his journal, Greg records his daily trials and tribulations of being a wimpy kid just trying to survive sixth grade. This is a great book to begin a book discussion session. It is a quick read, full of cartoons that help tell the story. Add humor to the mix and the boys are sure to read it.

Activity: THIS IS OUR FIRST BOOK USING A NEW FORMAT, and we couldn't have picked a better title. We are now training local high school boys to lead the discussions for the younger boys. Discussions are held at the local elementary school in that building's awesome new library kiva. So...since this book is full of cartoons, we found a high school boy that was willing to come to the meeting and demonstrate cartooning techniques and gave tips while the boys tried their hand at cartooning. The guys loved the book (no surprise) and the activity and high school boys were a big hit.