WELCOME! Once a month, usually on a Thursday evening, a group of writers, illustrators, teachers and librarians meets in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles to discuss children's books. Usually we talk about one picture book and one middle grade or YA novel. After the meeting, Sandy Schuckett, a retired LAUSD librarian, summarizes our discussion. Here are her reports of our thoughts about the books we have read. We'd love to have your comments too!
Thanks to Nancy Hayashi for our wonderful title art! Our group has been meeting since 2007. It was organized under the auspices of the Children's Literature Council of Southern California (CLCSC).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead

We had (as usual) a great discussion at our December meeting about When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.....Many loved it, some - not so much. But as we talked more, it seemed that everyone found something about it that they liked.....although several of us just couldn't get into the 'time travel' aspect. Folks shared favorite holiday books (various holidays!!) and we enjoyed Ann's terrific holiday lasagna and a lot of other great 'nibblies'.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

COUNTDOWN by Debbie Wiles and I LIKE BUGS by Emma Dodd and I LIKE BUGS by Philemon Sturges

We had great discussions at our last meeting.....everyone talking about what they were doing in 1962, when Countdown took place...some were in high school, some in college, and one (me!!) already working as a teacher -- oh, well. We all liked the book - for various reasons, depending upon how we approached it - which is what makes our group so much fun......On the two I Like Bugs picture books, we liked different parts of each, and figured that melded together they would make one great book.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID by Jeff Kinney, and WUMP WORLD by Bill Peet

We had a great discussion at our "Wimpy/Wumpy" meeting last Thursday. We were 50-50 on the picture book...half liked it, the other half - not so much. But when we started talking about the fact that it was published in 1970, many of the 'non-likers' changed their opinion a bit, since it was unique for its time and, in fact, portended things to come....probably very 'dystopian' before that word was even part of our vocabulary.
As for the novel, there were also mixed feelings (which is what makes our group so much fun!). Some thought it was terrific for getting kids - especially young middle school boys - into reading 'real' books. Others thought it was basically worthless, and that kids should be reading more 'excellent' literature, with characters you care about, significant stories, etc. Our discussion ultimately led into the books we all loved as kids, and their merits (or demerits -- as the case may be!) It was a great group meeting, as usual.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


We had a small group last nite -- ony six people, but as usual, we had a great discussions. It doesn't matter if our group is small or large...we still have fun!!
We all agreed that Alice Schertle is a gifted poetic genius, and that the text of Very Hairy Bear was wonderful and practically flawless. We had quite a discussion regarding the illustrations, however, and a few of us felt that they just didn't meet the high quality of the text. As for the novel, only four people had read it, and they all agreed that it was an adult book rather than a YA, but that high school kids could learn a lot about WWII and the Japanese-American Internment and other issues that were prevalent at that time. All pretty much agreed that there were some contrived situations and scenes, but when asked if those of us who had not read it should do so, they said 'yes.'

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I AM A GENIUS...by Josh Lieb, and THE LION AND THE MOUSE by Jerry Pinkney, and OLIVIA by Ian Falconer

We had great discussions at our last meeting. On the very-long-titled novel ( I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President), we all agreed that it would probably make a better cartoon or sitcom than a book for kids. Some of us felt it was an insult to excellence in children's literature to even publish this type of 12-year-old gross (and sometimes mean) stuff, while others of us thought it would definitely get some non-reading middle school boys into reading. As for the picture books, we all agreed that Olivia's strength was not in the writing/story, but in the illustrations, and we also agreed that Jerry Pinkney's Lion and the Mouse was brilliant.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

DREAMLAND by Sarah Dessen, and STRANGE MR. SATIE by M.T. Anderson

We had great discussions (in between bites of delicious food!) at our book group meeting last week. We pretty much all agreed that both books were terrific; that the novel, even tho' there were some small inconsistencies and things that annoyed us, still had an important story to tell. Several people said they wished there had been such a book when they were teenagers. Everyone loved the 'Satie' picture book.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

WEDNESDAY WARS by Gary D. Schmidt and TAR BEACH by Faith Ringgold

As usual we had great discussions at our last meeting. We all mostly loved Wednesday Wars for various reasons, and had mixed feelings about Tar Beach, many of us mentioning how we reacted to it when it first came out as compared to our reactions now. We also talked about the difference between the way a writer reads a book as opposed to a non-writer, but agreed that if something is wonderful, it's just -- wonderful....no matter your point of view.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

CHARLES AND EMMA by Deborah Heiligman and THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS by Chris Barton

We had great discussions on our two books for January. Everyone agreed that Charles and Emma was terrific, and it was interesting how different people found different things in the book that impressed them. We also loved the picture book about The Day-Glo Brothers. All agreed that it was neat to learn about something that none of us had known before, and we loved the way the story developed. Most of us weren't crazy about the illustrations, but agreed that they were perfect for this particular book.