OTTUMWA — Learning to read is a vital part of today’s world, but actually enjoying it is a different story entirely.
The children in the Middle School Book Club at the Ottumwa Public Library were given an opportunity to share their love of books with the nation through the Book Club for Kids podcast. The group received an invitation to participate in the program after Book Club for Kids podcast creator and radio journalist Kitty Felde saw an article about OPL’s book club on the Courier’s website.
“Kitty just called me out of the blue, and I immediately said yes,” said Youth Services Librarian Allyson Kirking. “The kids were so excited to be a part of the program, as was I.”
Felde said she was always surprised by how many kids said they watched her talk show when she was working in L.A., which gave her the idea for the kid-centered episodes and eventually the podcast.
“When I came to D.C. I used the same format I had used on the talk show but adapted it for radio and just figured out what worked best and what did not,” she said.
Felde had wanted to expand the podcast outside of the larger city areas where she had typically focused on in the past when she contacted Kirking. The podcast format made this expansion easier because Felde did not have to travel from her home in Washington, D.C., to record the episode.
Each episode of the podcast focuses on discussing a certain book or having a guest reader record certain parts of popular children’s books. The club members took turns talking about their favorite books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney and “The Amazing Book is Now on Fire” by Dan Howell and Phil Lester.
Felde said she tries to read the books that are recommended or popular among children so she can discuss them more in depth. There is a moment with some books where Felde questions why the book is so popular, but that feeling is common among book lovers with different tastes.
Kirking also reads along with the OPL Book Club. She said it makes for better discussions, especially so she can guide the students along through the meeting. Most of the students come in with at least three other books they are interested in reading or have already started.
“I think this will have a really positive impact on them to share their passion for reading,” said Kirking.
You can hear the bonus episode from Ottumwa and see all the book recommendations at the website www.bookclubforkids.org.
To contact reporter Neal Querio email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @CourierNeal.