One of the things I love about hearing from readers is learning the many ways you’re all using The Messengers series. Classrooms, family settings, youth groups, book clubs . . . the list goes on. And the list overlaps! For example, some classrooms use Discovered or (and?) Concealed in a book club unit. Several schools have book clubs after school. Some have summer book clubs for their youth. So you’re probably seeing the pattern for today . . . book clubs! Whether it’s with your school, your church, or your book club of friends, here are some ideas to help your meeting over Concealed come to life.
First, I’ll direct you to the blog post about leading Discovered in a book club. Why? Because some of the elements, such as decorations, still apply.
Speaking of decorations, did you know that both Concealed and Discovered have handy free promotional tools? Just click on the item pages and scroll down to—you guessed it—“Free Promotional Tools.”
Okay, now that we have that all covered, let’s dig in to using Concealed in your book club!
Getting started . . . at the end.
I’ve mentioned before that there are questions at the end of the novel (two questions per chapter). Sixty questions can be a bit daunting for a book club! So, here are some thoughts. (1) As your group is reading, ask them to mark their favorite questions. The most popular choices get first priority. (2) Designate a person every five chapters or so to pick and lead one question when you meet. (3) You pick! You know your group, so skim through the questions (especially for the last few chapters) and decide the game plan yourself. (4) Make me pick. Here’s a brief list of questions I would probably ask if I were leading a book club:
- Chapter 3, Question 2 introduces some early tension in the book. Simon’s attention keeps bouncing between Charity and Ella. Especially if your book club meets a few times on the same book, readers can wonder what kinds of priorities each young woman represents in Simon’s life.
- Chapter 4, Question 2 is a great way to explore Jonathan’s motivations. In the first novel, readers may have occasionally questioned Jonathan’s bravery. After reading chapter 4, what nuances can be added to this discussion?
- Chapter 9, Question 1 is a great way to share and grow closer as a group. Whether with teens or adults, thinking about these two families can provide meaningful conversation.
- Chapter 12, Question 2 is a great way to talk about marginalized individuals in a Christian setting. What does Jesus say about the outsider?
- Chapter 27, Question 1 explores Simon’s struggles, which include physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual attacks. How do your book club members view the fog? This can provide rich, revealing discussion.
Live a little with fun activities.
Help bring the book to life with the following activities and games that encourage readers to experience New Morgan.
- Dress the Part. Invite friends to dress like Messengers: knit hats, dark sweatshirts, and the like. Flashlights, message vials, and λόγος rings all add to the fun. Check out the free downloadable so that you can make your own paper rings! You could use metallic cardstock or cover with foil for added effect.
- Chapter Vote. Before everyone meets, ask readers to mark a few notable chapters. When you’re all together, nominate favorite and least favorite chapters. Then, vote on which chapter to read together out loud.
- Reader Response. Ask everyone to answer the following questions, then discuss.
- Who is your favorite character?
- Who is your least favorite character?
- Whom are you most like?
- Whom would you like to be your friend?
- Finish the sentence: “I want _____________ to happen to _________________.”
- Trace the story, as best as you can remember it, over the past two books. What has happened? Where in the plotline are you now? What do you think will happen next?
Create the environment.
Depending on your energy level, you could go all out to turn your book club space into New Morgan.
- Think of some intense movies, and find the soundtracks. Create a playlist to play in the background as you meet.
- Buy a few blank posters and a few packs of markers. Divide into small groups to create a poster—either for New Morgan or for the Messengers. Ask groups to explain their work, and put them all on display.
- You could go simple and play a few rounds of King’s Corners as you discuss the book in groups of four. For directions, you can print the downloadable and set a copy with each deck of cards. You could even treat the directions as a label and glue them to your card boxes! (Need extra help? There are a few videos on the web that explain the game. It’s also known as Kings in the Corner.)
I’ve also seen some terrific Messengers games designed by teachers, youth leaders, and the like. Do some searching on the Internet, or ask me to point you in the right direction.
Hope you enjoy! And don’t forget that I’m just a social media post away; let me know how I can help make this experience a great one for you and your book club.