Feature Stories

Student-Led Scenic Heights Book Club Surprised with Virtual Author Visit During Summer Meeting

This summer, Scenic Heights Elementary fifth grader Kiran Pradhan organized a summer book club to connect with friends and find enjoyment in reading together. 

The group held their first meeting in June to select a book. They met in July to hold a discussion and plan to meet again in August to discuss their second chosen title. 

Pradhan was inspired to start the book club because of his love for reading, and after a conversation with a friend in his Chinese class prompted him to consider potential ideas for clubs. He took the initiative to begin making his idea a reality, carrying out much of the planning and organizing himself. 

“I started by asking my friends if they wanted to join. Then I made a Google Slides presentation for the book club and added my friends so we could collaborate and share what books we wanted to read. We have 11 kids, including me, who wanted to do it,” he explained.

In June, the members of the book club came together for their first meeting, each bringing a book they were each interested in reading. Through a voting process, they agreed on The Anti-Book by Raphael Simon for their first title. The club received a pleasant surprise when their next meeting featured a guest appearance by the author himself, who joined in on the students' discussion about the book. 

Author Raphael Simon joined the student book club discussion virtually.

When asked about his favorite memories from the summer book club, Pradhan listed the conversation with Raphael Simon among them. He added, “I love that we did a cookout at my house to kick off the book club, and at Ethan’s house we had some great lemonade. At my house, we played games and talked about all of the books we wanted to read.”

Pradhan considers the book club a great experience that was both fun and educational. His biggest takeaway was learning how much fun he finds hanging out with others and bringing them together. The group is currently reading Holes by Louis Sachar in preparation for their next meeting.

Through organizing the book club, Pradhan has continued to develop skills in leadership and community-building. To other students interested in planning something similar, he advises: “When you are starting a book club, you have to pick the right amount of people, the right place and why you want to do it. The ‘why’ is the most important part.” 

Pradhan is grateful for all of his friends who joined the book club this summer and to all of their parents for helping the group. 

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