The Mount Si High School library is hosting its 9th Book Club session this fall and has attracted the largest group of students yet – approximately 136.
Currently, students are reading The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown, and meeting each Tuesday for lunchtime discussions in the library. This is a true and inspiring story, based in Seattle, about nine working class boys from the University of Washington’s rowing team and their epic quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
The Book Club program began in 2012, in partnership with the King County Library System (KCLS) which works to make multiple copies available of the books and helps to guide the discussions. Mount Si Library Specialist Kristeen Ransavage explained that the Social Studies department is also very supportive of the program, providing extra credit opportunities for participating students.
The books spark discussions around the historical and political context of each story. For example, during a recent visit to the Book Club, students learned about and shared their perspectives on the hardships of life during The Great Depression. KCLS Teen Librarian Maggie Wong helped them consider how difficult a rigorous rowing regimen must have been for the young men, especially while so many struggled with having enough to eat and a place to live.
Previous MSHS Book Club sessions covered the following books:
Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand – 66 students participated from the Main Campus (MC)
Lost City of Z: A Take of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, by David Grann – 63 students at MC
In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson – 25 students at MC
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak – 27 students at Freshman Campus (FC)
A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage – 47 students at MC, 98 students at FC
Code Name Verity / Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein – 34 students at FC
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot – 61 students at MC
When asked what they like about Book Club, students in the past have commented:
I loved the book we did, and talking about what's going on was super interesting.
The book that we picked was really interesting and I wouldn’t have read it if I hadn't joined book club.
I liked the open discussions; it really helped me to better understand the book.
I enjoyed seeing how everyone else responded to different events in the book. I also liked seeing everyone’s opinions on it.
I love the productive, fun meetings that we participate in every Tuesday.
Everything. Discussing the book made it much more fun to read.
The historical facts we got to learn about.
I liked the casual atmosphere and the food.
I liked how so many people interacted and bonded over a book!