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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Our Jacky Ha-Ha Mum & Daughter Book Club

Our kids have inherited our love of reading so when we were asked to hold a mini  "Jacky Ha-Ha" Mum and Daughter Book Club we eagerly agreed.  First we handed out copies of Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson (and illustrated by Chris Grabenstein) to our cousins and friends, aged from 8-10.  It was very exciting to all be reading the same book at the same time (although I always seemed to be a couple of chapters behind the girls at any given time- they must have more spare reading time than me!).

Once everyone had read the book, it was time to organise the book club.  So what is Jackie Ha-Ha all about?

With her irresistible urge to tell a joke in every situation – even when she really, really shouldn't – twelve-year-old Jacky Ha-Ha loves to make people laugh. And cracking wise helps distract her from thinking about not-so-funny things in her life, like her mom serving in a dangerous, faraway war, and a dad who's hardly ever home.

But no matter how much fun Jacky has, she can't seem to escape her worries. So one starlit night, she makes a promise to keep her family together... even if she has to give up the one thing that makes her happy. But can she stop being Jacky Ha-Ha, if that's who she really is?

The author, James Patterson is one of the best known and biggest selling writers of his time, writing both adult and children's books.  He began to write his Middle School series to encourage his own reluctant to read son to read more and I know this series really helped my own son to build up his reading stamina when he was in this age range and the girls are really enjoying reading them now.

At our get together we set up a craft table with a colour in tablecloth, props and pencils for the girls to colour as they arrived and settled, sweets, our copies of the books and a design your own book cover sheet as well as a word-search.  We also spread out to the sofa area for our discussion to make room for everyone.

These coloured in props were then put in the "photo booth area" for photos later!

We warmed up with a game of "consequences", which is always a family favourite.  It proved popular on this occasion and there was lots of laughter reading out the funny stories we had created.

Rebecca and I began by asking some questions about the book using the suggested discussion questions as a guide, such as:

  • Why did Jacky become a class clown?
  • Who are some of your female role models?
  • Jacky has many responsibilities, such as school, after-school activities, and helping to take care of her sisters.  When have you felt that you've had a lot of responsibilities and how did you manage them?
  • Why is Jacky's speech more meaningful because her mother is present to hear it?

We also went around the group, allowing everyone who wanted to the chance to ask questions.  I noticed the girls began by asking more closed questions and extended this to asking more open ended questions as our question time continued.  It was really interesting to hear everyone else's views, mum's and daughters.

Then we all had fun in the "Jacky Ha-Ha Book Club" photo booth!  Here are some of the photos of "my lot".  We're going to print our photos of our friends out for them as "Thank you for coming to our book club" cards.

While waiting for photos, others finished their book covers and word-searches (oh, and the sweets!).

Photo booths are always fun!

We all agreed that we enjoyed the book.  Everyone loved the format, with Jacky Ha-Ha establishing herself as the fictional author of this book in the prologue and epilogue.  We also agreed that it was refreshing to see important issues addressed but in a safe and often humorous way.  We would definitely recommend this book to others!

We would also recommend holding a parent and child book club.  I often wish I could attend more book clubs but find it difficult to find the time without kids so holding family book clubs could be the solution!  Which book should we discuss at book club next?

Have you read Jacky Ha-Ha?

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel. It’s a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. We received a hamper of books and goodies to host the book club.

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