Monday, 30 September 2013

Book Club: Orpheus and Eurydice

When Orpheus' bride Eurydice is killed by a snakebite on their wedding day, Orphues' world is shattered. The young widower must journey to the underworld to negotiate with Hades himself to win his bride back. Can love trump over the dark and powerful underworld

Orpheus and Eurydice was the first of our chosen books for our new monthly book club at Big You, Little You. Aimed at children aged 8+, this book is a great introduction to the Greek classics, with a tale that allows for different depths of understanding for different ages. Book club was new to all of the children in the group and they were all excited to attend something new, with a one child saying her parents attend book clubs so they can now be part of a club! I chose a Greek classic as our first book, partly because I just love the new additions to the Barefoot Books Greek series; with great illustrations and end notes they are an excellent educational tool and are definitely favourites amongst home educators. However, the main reason that I picked a classic was to inspire debate and encourage the children's imaginations. Book clubs are not simply about literal interpretations of the text, they are platforms to explore you own feelings that arise from the book and to hear about different interpretations. With a little encouragement and open questioning, all of the children were confident in telling of what they book meant to them, what did and did not make sense and how they can relate the story to everyday life. It was so refreshing to here the children denounce the jealousy and anger that arises in the story; all wanting the collective goal of being with the people they love without the need to constantly look behind themselves. Of course, children being children, amongst all of the deep conversation was a definite liking for a bit of blood, gore and beasts! The illustrations in the book jump out of the pages and inspire creativity within the reader. We spent a lot of time observing and commenting on the artwork and each took turns to read some of the key passages and individual highlights.

After we had finished talking about the book and reading our favourite passages, we all tried our hand at a Greek inspired word search, whilst nibbling on some traditional Greek snacks. The word search was a great idea to invite more discussion about Greece and it's traditions, I think we all went home with a new fact or two. It was great to hear the children talking in detail about what they liked and disliked about the book and what books they have been inspired to read next. When I asked if they had enjoyed the session, there was a definite "YES" from them all. Here's just a few quotes about why

" It's good to be able to read books outside of school, some of the ones the teachers don't read with us "

" I liked that I could talk to people the same age because my brothers are too little and don't understand"

" I liked talking about all of the pictures together "

"I can't wait for the next one "

I can't wait for the next one either.If you like the sound of this and are looking to start your own book club, in a community space near you, get in touch and we can  provide books, fact sheets and guides plus if you are in the North West of England we may be able to  facilitate for you.

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