This week Scott and I attended a Boys Book Club event at Central Commerce High School in downtown Toronto. Six different schools with groups of 10-20 grade 4-6 boys came to buy books for their school. We heard them arriving even before they got up to the gym. The excited boys ran up the stairs and burst into the book display area, quickly gravitating towards their favourite series and new books. But before they were allowed to start book-buying, they were given basketballs and spent 15 minutes throwing baskets and using up some of that physical energy. The best part of their playing was that there were approximately 10 students from Central Commerce high school who were there to join in with the kids and play ball with them. These teenage boys and girls providing such a positive and joyful role model for the younger boys. They were like rock stars (and they acted like they were!). It was delightful to see.
John Ball, (a phys ed teacher) also got the ball rolling by giving a short speech to the kids. He told them he was an avid reader and the number of books he reads each year is at least as tall as he is (6’). He gave them funny and useful tips for reading and ended with a call and response cheer “BOYS ROCK!!”.
After the warm-up, half of the boys came into the book-buying area, and the other half stayed in the gym to continue with games. After 45 minutes they would have a snack break and the groups would switch places. They were each given approximately $50 to purchase books for their school. Instead of actually giving the kids cash, they received fake money - one, two, five and ten dollar bills were given to each student and each amount was a different colour (just like real money). The fake money allowed them to keep track of how much they spent. I gave a very quick mini-book talk to highlight some of our books and then they were “let loose”.
The day was truly magical and I’m convinced I met a couple of future librarians that day.