Porter Memorial Library in Machias and Peabody Memorial Library in Jonesport are teaming up to offer a Bicentennial Book Club for local youths between the ages of eight and thirteen and their families. This virtual book club will run for seven months and will feature seven middle-grade books all set in the state of Maine. Participating youths will read one book a month and will participate in a once-a-month virtual book discussion online. Machias Memorial High School English teacher Allison Paprocki (for Porter Memorial) and Heidi Hinkley (from Peabody Memorial) will lead the program and book club discussions. In addition to reading and discussing the books, participants will do hands-on activities and have the opportunity to speak with one of the authors on our reading list. This program is made possible through a grant with the Maine Public Library Fund and a generous matching donation by Robert Parsloe and his company Wireless Partners LLC. Internet access will be available for any families who wish to participate thanks to the generosity of Wireless Partners LLC. This book club is an opportunity for tweens to celebrate Maine’s Bicentennial and to connect with fellow readers despite the pandemic’s effect on Bicentennial events.
How the Program Works:
We will read one book per month for seven months. Please pick up your book set at Porter Memorial Library in Machias. Our first meeting will be the second week in March 2021, and we’ll meet in one of three small groups, broken up according to participants’ availability. Each group will meet virtually once a month, on either the second Monday, Thursday, or Saturday of that month. While the book club will be educational, the first goal is for this club to be fun. We will learn a lot about Maine, its history, and its diverse people and places. The program is appropriate for both youths enrolled in school and for those who are home schooled. Parents should feel free to connect the program to their home-schooling lessons, and we hope that families that are new to home-schooling will enjoy taking part in the program. Having the book sets at home for the full program also allows the whole family to read and discuss these books. They are captivating for any age level.
The Books We Will Read:
Wildfire: A Novel by Rodman Philbrick is about a Maine boy and girl who are left behind in an evacuation of their summer camps and have to work together to try to escape a raging forest fire. The boy’s mother is recovering from drug addiction, and the girl’s family owns a Greek restaurant.
Wintering Well by Lea Wait is set in 1820, the year that Maine became a state, and is about a farm boy who loses his leg in an accident and his sister who helps him recover. In the process, they move from the country to a town, and they both change their life goals.
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt is about the young son of a minister who moves to Phippsburg, Maine and befriends a smart and sassy girl from the nearby community of Malaga Island, which was founded by former slaves. This is based on the real history of Malaga Island and Phippsburg, Maine.
Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk is set in the Great Depression and is about a girl whose family must leave their home in town because of the Depression and move to the untamed forests of nearby Echo Mountain. When her father is hurt in an accident, the girl befriends a healing woman and a boy who carves to try to heal her father.
Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord is about an island in Maine whose school is in jeopardy of closing, but the town decides to take in foster children, giving them loving homes and keeping their school open in the process. This story follows one girl and the talented trumpet-playing boy that comes to live with her family.
Remember Me: Tomah Joseph’s Gift to Franklin Roosevelt by Donald Soctomah and Jean Flahive is about 32nd U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s childhood summers on Campobello Island and his friendship with Passamaquoddy elder and former chief Tomah Joseph, who teaches young Franklin about birch bark canoes.
Puffin Project: How We Brought Puffins Back to Egg Rock by by Pete Salmansohn and Stephen W. Kress chronicles biologist Stephen Kress’s mission to repopulate a puffin colony that had collapsed on Egg Island in Maine by introducing puffin chicks from Newfoundland to the island.
How to Join:
The book club is free and open to any tweens in Washington County, Maine even if they haven’t been a member of Porter Memorial Library or Peabody Memorial Library in the past. Contact Allison Paprocki firstname.lastname@example.org, or Heidi Hinckley email@example.com.