Our Fairfield Middle School Rabid Readers Book Club met today after school to discuss the book The Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck. This meeting was the perfect illustration of why I love middle school kids. The Tiger's Curse was highly recommended to me last year by several students. So highly that I put it on our book club reading list without reading it myself (also evidence how much I trust these particular kids).
Every kid at the meeting tonight loved the action parts. But, this book was a romance. There was no sugar-coating it... definitely a romance. But I couldn't believe how many of the kids, especially the boys stuck it out. We had 32 kids at our discussion tonight, and we broke them into groups: liked the book, didn't like the book, and indifferent. There were a few kids in the indifferent group, but the majority of the group was split pretty evenly between the "liked" and "didn't like" groups. We ended our meeting with a heated discussion about why it was a good book or not. They gave examples from the text with their opinions, and it was FUN!
My personal opinion was that I liked the book (the action reminded me a lot of Indiana Jones adventures), but I could have done without the teen angst romance. It made it a little like Twilight with tigers to me. But I digress...
My favorite part of tonight's meeting was the food. The main character in the book went to India for the first time and tried many new foods. I wanted the kids in book club to try some flavors of India as well. I worked out a small menu of chicken tikka masala and chicken saag with some pappadums and some naan. I also cut up 6 mangoes at lunch for them to try as well. For the less adventurous, we had animal crackers (tigers?), and we had lemonade. I wanted to make a lemon drink in the book called jal jeera, but lemonade is the closest we got there.
I was so proud of the kids. Almost every single one of them wanted to at least try the Indian food. And most of them actually liked it! Honestly, saag is one of the grossest looking things I've ever seen, but it's also one of my favorites. I don't think I would have put it in my mouth when I was 12. I screwed up a little by not having a vegetarian dish for a couple of my kids (I felt so bad), but I let them have the rice that I wasn't really serving anyone else.
It was a great afternoon of discussion and trying new things. I love it when that happens. We laughed and talked about books. 32 kids getting involved in school and having fun doing it. Sigh. :)