An update from the Doncaster Middle Fiction Book Club

Last month, Readings Doncaster launched its first ever Middle Fiction Book Club, and was met with enthusiasm from young readers and parents alike. Our Doncaster bookseller Sam Kelly gives us a taste of what the fortnightly book club entails, and looks ahead at what’s to come.

With half the session of our inaugural term complete, it is safe to say the Doncaster Middle Fiction Book Club is a hit!

First was Animal Week; for our first session we discussed Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan and the consensus was that it was great – sad – but great. We discussed the real gorilla that inspired the book (also named Ivan), and the similarities and differences in his story compared to the book. We also talked about animal rights, and how much has changed in the last hundred years for animals like Ivan the Gorilla or Stella and Ruby the Elephants.

After our discussion, we followed up with a choice of two activities: writing or illustrating. Some chose to draw Ivan, others to draw Stella, and one attendee decided to draw a mermaid, ‘cause why not? Some wrote recommendations for books to go on the shelf in the store and others wrote a short story from the perspective of an animal character like Ivan.

Our second session was Fantasy Week and we talked about fairytale adaptations such as our book of the week The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer. When we opened up the discussion to different types of fantasy in books, there were plenty of recommendations flying around as everyone shared their favourites.

Our next session on 10 May is History Week and we will be discussing historical novels and The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. A few of our attendees have already declared this is a favourite, so we are excited to hear everyone’s opinions. At this session we will also be discussing what books to consider for future sessions of the book club. If you want to play a part in that exciting conversation, make sure you come along!

We always love to see new members so don’t be discouraged if you haven’t been to a session yet – all are welcome, and the more the merrier! The book club is $5 per child, per session, and we run from 7-8pm in the kids' corner of the shop every second week. You can see a run-down of our schedule here. The Book Club is aimed at children aged 10 to 13, but we welcome those who are a little older or younger if they are reading at that level and are eager to join us for an evening of intrigue, discovery and, most importantly, fun!

If you are interested and would like to be added to our email list for updates on the book club, contact Sam at Readings Doncaster by email ( or phone 9810 0891.

Sam Kelly works as a bookseller at Readings Doncaster.

The War that Saved My Life

The War that Saved My Life

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

$16.99Buy now

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