Every couple of months, I meet and discuss books with a group of some of the most critical and thoughtful readers I know. They’re insightful, articulate, and extremely smart. They’re also in grades 4 through 8.

They are members of the Essex Free Library’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Discussion Group, and each time we meet, we discuss a book from the DCF list. As the youth services librarian, I look forward to our DCF meetings, when a group of quiet young bookworms suddenly becomes a lively and noisy crowd.

This lively and noisy crowd of bookworms also tends to be quite hungry, and we start every meeting with pizza. Then we dive into our discussion and end with a game of DCF book trivia. If you’re looking for a quiet place to study on a Tuesday evening when the DCF group is meeting, you won’t find it here. Though we meet in the small community room downstairs, the group’s laughter and conversation can be heard throughout the library.

When we met last week to discuss One Came Home by Amy Timberlake, I asked the group why they like to read the DCF books. Some of the more competitive readers like the challenge of reading all thirty books. A couple of girls told me, “If they’re on the DCF list, you can be pretty sure that they’re good.” Another told me she likes how they make her cry. Naturally, they all agreed that they like the pizza that is served at the meetings.

As for me, I like how DCF books bring kids together. These kids might not agree with each other’s opinions of the book, but they share the experience of having read the book, they enjoy listening to each other, they laugh. They’re not all in the same grade, and some don’t even go to the same school. They all have different interests, different experiences. But for one hour on a Tuesday night, they are a group of friends in a small community room making the library a lively, noisy place.

Interested in how your child can become part of a book club? Take a peek at your local library’s calendar of events to see what they offer young readers.

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