Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Clubbin' with Olivia and Ivan

A few weeks ago when I encouraged Sean to read he said it just wasn't as much fun without more people. At school they had small groups reading books together as a book club, so I suggested forming a book club with his new friend Olivia.

Olivia also asked a couple of her friends to join, and the four of them started reading "The One and Only Ivan," by Katherine Applegate. This book is based on a real life gorilla named Ivan who lived at one of our local malls, called the B&I, in Tacoma.

I saw Ivan in the 1980s when I was here visiting my family. I remember feeling so very sad for him, and he looked very lonely to me. I was on the verge of tears as I left that day, wishing there was something I could do to rescue him from there and put him back where he belonged.

A few years later a group of locals did do something and he was moved to the Atlanta Zoo, where he lived to be very old, and died last August. He lived at the B&I for almost 30 years before being moved to the zoo. The story is a sad one, and you can read more about it here.

So when I heard on NPR a few months ago that someone had written a book about him, and that it was for young readers, I was pretty excited. I found the book at Costco in August.

It seemed a natural choice for the book club.

The four kids met today at Olivia's house to discuss the book, but I'm not sure how much discussion there was. They were just getting to know each other, and there was a lot of laughter. (It was so nice of her mom to host the club at their home.)

They did book discussion and ate a snack, then moved to another room to do some knitting, and eventually went outside to play.

Although they are using different curricula than we are, and they are all girls, Sean hit it off with them and seems to really enjoy time with Olivia. They have similar interests, and similar personalities, and I hope to get him involved in a couple of other activities with her.

It was great for both me and Sean. While he was with friends, I was able to have some adult conversation and listen to the other moms talk about the ups and downs of homeschooling. It was good to hear how others feel, and know that I am not alone in some of the struggles.

As we were ready to leave I reminded Sean to tell them goodbye, and Olivia gave him a hug. She is such a sweet girl.

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