Library Programs

11 Birthdays Book Club

I was going through some old files and found the plan for a book club another librarian and I did together last summer, for the book 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass. The book club was for 4th and 5th graders. Even though the book is from 2009, the entire series continues to be well-read at our library.

11 Birthdays

The plan:

We started by decorating cupcakes that the girls then ate. This tied in to the birthday party theme in the book. (We bought bare cupcakes–pre-ordered from our local grocery store, pre-made frosting and a bunch of candy/sprinkles for toppings.) We then discussed the book, using the questions below as a starting point. The book has a lot of themes that girls this age are thinking about, and the participants had a lot to say about friendships and fighting and boy/girl relationships. After the discussion we played a game modeled loosely after Pictionary. We had pre-written nouns from the book on slips of paper and the girls took turns drawing each picture while the other girls tried to guess what it was. We ended by making bookmarks the girls could take home.

The discussion questions:
(I may have gotten some of these questions from other online sources, but if I did I have lost my sources! Eep! If I figure out that I did, I’ll give credit where credit is due.)

  1. What would be your ideal birthday party? [This served as a good ice breaker. It was fun to hear about the girls’ dream parties!]
  2. What special things do you do or eat on your birthday? What is your favorite kind of birthday cake?
  3. If you woke up and realized that you were reliving yesterday, would you be scared?
  4. What one thing from today would you like to repeat every day for the next year?
  5. If you had to repeat a day, what would you do differently?
  6. Can a boy and a girl be best friends?
  7. If you overheard your best friend talking about you behind your back, what would you do?
  8. Have you ever had a fight with a friend that lasted a long time?
  9. Do you think Amanda made the right choice by not talking to Leo for an entire year?
  10. How does Amanda feel after secretly reading her sister’s diary? How does it change their relationship?
  11. What would you do if you had a day with no consequences like when Leo and Amanda went to the mall?
  12. Why do you think Amanda tries out for the gymnastics team? Why did she finally try out for marching band?
  13. What did Amanda and Leo learn from repeating their eleventh birthday over and over?
  14. Why do you think Stephanie and Amanda are friends?  Do you think they’ll stay friends after this story ends?
  15. When you saw the cover did you think you would like it?
  16. Do you want to read the sequels?

If you’re looking for more inspiration, Multnomah County Library and Hennepin County Library also have information about doing an 11 Birthdays book club.

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