WHYY Book Club

Welcome to the WHYY I Like This Book "Book Club," a place where kids and adults alike can get suggestions for reading, talk and discuss books, and even give your own suggestions about books you like. Check out some of our recent reading recommendations and crack open a book.


Predictable repetition and gorgeous collage illustrations make Brown Bear, Brown Bear a perennial favorite among young children. Questions to ask:

  1. What are some of your favorite animals in the story?
  2. What are some of the colors that you saw?

Ideal for any growing youngster, The Very Hungry Caterpillar narrates the journey of one very ravenous wooly worm, as he becomes a beautiful butterfly. Questions to ask:

  1. What phrases do you hear a lot?
  2. What does the caterpillar eat?
  3. Do you ever see caterpillars like this?

After Max is sent to bed without supper, a fantasy ensues, in a land of wonderful creatures where Max is king. A classic tale filled with wonderful illustrations. Questions to ask:

  1. Why do you think Max was sent to bed without supper?
  2. What would you do if you went to the land where the Wild Things Are?

Poor Harry hates baths and decides to hide his scrubbing brush. This transforms Harry "from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots." Share in his misadventures. Questions to ask:

  1. What do you like most about your pet?
  2. How do you recognize your pet?

Written in a poetic style, Goodnight Moon details the bedtime wishes of a young rabbit trying to postpone his bedtime. Questions to ask:

  1. What do you do when you are getting ready for bed?
  2. Who do you say goodnight to?

Since 1922 this classic has warmed the hearts of children. The poignant tale of a small velveteen rabbit that lives in a nursery awaiting the day when "the boy" will come to love him. Questions to ask:

  1. Do you have a favorite toy?
  2. What were some of your parents or grandparents' favorite toys?

The funny tale of the Noonan children. Left at home, the three children decide to paint the house for their parents, with hilarious and very colorful results. Questions to ask:

  1. Have you ever done something special for your parents?
  2. How would you react if someone painted your house?

Sweet Miss Nelson goes missing from her rowdy class. In her place comes the cruel Miss Viola Swamp. Throughout the tale the class comes to appreciate their former teacher as well as learn new manners. Questions to ask:

  1. Where do you think Miss Viola Swamp came from?
  2. What do you think the children learned after having Miss Viola Swamp as a sub?

The classic illustrations and rhymes revolves around Sam-I-Am's attempts to get on the good side of his cantankerous neighbor. Questions to ask:

  1. Why do you think the eggs are green?
  2. Do you think you would become friend with Sam- I-Am?

The story of a fruit bat who loses her mother, attempts to live with birds and ultimately realizes the best thing to do is to be herself. Questions to ask:

  1. What would you do if you got lost?
  2. What makes you, you?

With over twenty books in the series, Nate the Great chronicles the cases of one great little detective. Concise prose and plenty of clues make reading interesting even if Nate typically likes to "work alone". Questions to ask:

  1. Have you ever had to solve a mystery?
  2. How does Nate solve the case?

The laugh out loud stories of the literal minded housekeeper. When she is asked to draw the drapes, or give a surprise shower, she does just as she's told. (Gets out a pad of paper and sketches the curtains and then hoses down the crowd of guests in the backyard) Fortunately her scrumptious baking acts as a redeeming quality in the Roger's family's eyes. Questions to ask:

  1. Did you ever get confused about what a sentence means?
  2. Do you know what homonyms and homophones are?

Its always fun to imagine food raining from the sky, but what if it wasn't so fun to experience it? In this quirky little tale, Judi Barrett's writes about the tiny town of Chewandswallow, were the weather comes three times a day in things like soup, juice, and mashed potatoes. Everything went well until the food got bigger and bigger and people began to fear their lives. Questions to ask:

  1. What type of weather do you get where you live?
  2. What type of food do you wish would rain down from the sky?

Henry lives with his Mom and Dad and doesn't seem to have any friends. He asks his parents for a puppy. Mudge, a teeny tiny pup, eventually grows into a 180-pound dog, and the two are the best of friends. 20 something more books are a part of the series. Questions to ask:

  1. Do you have a best friend? Is it a human? An Animal? Imaginary?
  2. Why do you think Henry and Mudge are such good friends?

Enter Junie B. Jones, the sassy almost six year old in one of her first stories. Questions to ask:

  1. How did you feel on the first day of school?
  2. What can you do to make new students feel welcome?

PInstead of a school build one story high with 30 classrooms, Wayside School was built into 30 one-classroom stories. Whether or not this explains the strange things that happen there is still to be determined, but plenty of things do occur, particularly on that thirteenth floor. Questions to ask:

  1. Which was your favorite story and why?
  2. Is there anything interesting about your school?

11 year old Marty meets a mistreated beagle pup and struggles with ethical questions of what to do about it. Questions to ask:

  1. How does finding Shiloh change Marty's opinion of how animals should be treated?
  2. What kind of person do you think Judd Travers is?

Boisterous little Ramona Quimby experiences 3rd grade life and all its pitfalls. Questions to ask:

  1. Why is it difficult for Ramona to be nice to Willie Jean?
  2. Do you have any fads, like the hard-boiled egg fad, at your school?

In the most famous of the Little House books, based on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pa Ingalls decides to sell their house in Wisconsin and travel by covered Wagon to Kansas. Questions to ask:

  1. Why do you think it is important to remember stories about Pioneer life?
  2. Who is your favorite character and why?

The endearing tale of the little pig Wilbur who becomes famous with the help of the clever spider Charlotte. True friendship personified. Questions to ask:

  1. If you could write something in a web for Wilbur what would it be?
  2. Is Templeton a good guy or a bad guy?

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse that was enacted with his dirty, no good, pig- stealing great great grandfather. He is unjustly sent to a camp for criminal boys where he is forced to dig a hole every day. Eventually he learns there is more going on at Camp Green then curing juvenile delinquents. Questions to ask:

  1. Stanley's father says he "Learns from Failure". How is this true? Do you learn from failure?
  2. Why do you think Stanley lies to his parents in the letters he sends them?

After eating nothing but chocolate Henry Green breaks out in chocolate spots. What will happen? Questions to ask:

  1. Why do you think Henry is afraid of the Doctor's Office?
  2. What do you think the author wants us to learn from the story?

Leroy Brown aka Encyclopedia is his town's premier detective. Is there any case this kid can't crack? Questions to ask:

  1. Why is Leroy Brown known as Encyclopedia?
  2. How did Encyclopedia solve his case?

Billy must eat 15 worms in 15 days if he wants to win $50 for a shiny new mini-bike. To make things easier he comes up with creative ways to eat the slimy grubs. Questions to ask:

  1. What would you eat for $50?
  2. What sounds like the tastiest way to eat fried worms? Why?

With her best friend Justin moving away, Amber comes to cope with her feelings. It's hard to resist the outgoing third grader. Questions to ask:

  1. If you could take an imaginary lane trip, (like Amber's class) where would you go?
  2. What are some qualities you look for in friends?

A funny family story that tells the tale of 4year old Elisa and her attempts to be like her 8 year old brother Russell. Questions to ask:

  1. Do you remember when you were 4 years old? What do you remember the most about it?
  2. What is the best part of growing up? The worst?

Written in the form of a diary this charming book chronicles 14-year-old Catherine's life in the year 1290. Questions to ask:

  1. Do your parents have any expectations for you?
  2. How has the world changed since medieval England?

11 year old Marty meets a mistreated beagle pup and struggles with ethical questions of what to do about it. Questions to ask:

  1. How does finding Shiloh change Marty's opinion of how animals should be treated?
  2. What kind of person do you think Judd Travers is?

A detailed fantastic journey that follows Eragon, a young farm boy, after he finds a dragon egg and comes to learn he is the last of the dragon riders. Questions to ask:

  1. How would react if something similar occurred to you? Would you want to be a dragon writer?
  2. Why are fantasy stories so much fun to read?

After a tragic plane crash, young Brian Robeson is forced to survive in the Canadian Wilderness. Questions to ask:

  1. What do you think are the most important survival skills to have?
  2. If you could bring three items along with you into the wilderness what would they be?

A series of thirteen books that detail the misadventures of three children, the Baudelaire Orphans, after the death of their parents. Questions to ask:

  1. How do the Baudelaire orphans help each other? (provide examples)
  2. How is Count Olaf recognized?

The wilderness adventures of Sam Gribley. Questions to ask:

  1. Why has Sam runaway to the mountains?
  2. hy doesn't Sam's father prevent him from going?

Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, but disliking un-comfort of any sort she chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the place she will hideout. Questions to ask:

  1. Where would you choose to hide if you ran away?
  2. Who would you choose to go with you? Why?

This fictional account is written from the perspective of 10 year old Annemarie during the Evacuation of the Jews in 1943 is filled with suspense and friendships across religious lines. Questions to ask:

  1. What do you think the meaning is of the title?
  2. How are Annemarie and Ellen similar and different?

The fantastic and poignant tale of two unlikely friends, Jess and Leslie. Questions to ask:

  1. How is Miss Edmunds, Jess's favorite teacher, different from his other teachers?
  2. Why do kids make fun of other kids that seem different?

Taking place during the great depression, the book follows Billy, a ten year old who saves u his money to buy two coon pups. Questions to ask:

  1. How is Billy different from the other kids in town?
  2. Why is his grandfather so surprised when Billy brings in his $50?

The Pulitzer prize winning story of a small southern town racial injustice, and the loss of innocence. Questions to ask:

  1. How do Jem and Scout's opinions of Boo Radley change throughout the book?
  2. Atticus tells Scout and Jem they must walk in another's shoes before they judge them. When do they do so?

The coming of age tale of two prep school friends, Gene, and Phineas (Finny). Questions to ask:

  1. Do you think Gene is an unreliable narrator? Why?
  2. What role does Leper play?

Excerpts from the diary of Anne Frank that was written during a two year period while she was hiding with her family in the Nazi occupied Netherlands. Questions to ask:

  1. What role does the diary pay in Anne's life?
  2. How does Anne grow and develop through throughout the book?

Set in Florida, Hoot is a Newberry Honor award winner that tells the story of a boy Roy, and his two friends as they try to stop the construction of a Pancake House that would destroy a colony of burrowing owls. Questions to ask:

  1. How does Roy , who for most of the book feels like an outsider, come to feel a part of Florida?
  2. If you could be a part of this book how would you be involved?

In this debut novel, young, legally blind outcast Paul fisher comes to uncover the truth about his football hero brother. The story takes place in Tangerine Florida, a town notorious of horrible thunderstorms. Questions to ask:

  1. Despite being practically blind, how does Paul see clearly?
  2. Do you think Paul's parents understood what their lie did to Paul?

The 1979 Newberry award winner tells the tale of the sixteen heirs of Sam Westing. After hearing his will the remarkably different heirs are asked to unravel the mystery of his strange death in order to gain his inheritance. Questions to ask:

  1. Which tenant was chosen by mistake? Why?
  2. Do you feel sorry for any the characters? Why? How would you help them?

The story of Buck, a previously pampered dog who finds his primordial instincts returning after becoming a sled dog in the treacherous and frigid Yukon. Questions to ask:

  1. Do you have any pets? How would they react to living in the wild?
  2. What other books can you think of that are written from an animal's point of view? What makes this perspective interesting?

Written through a series of letters to an anonymous friend, The Perks of Being a Wallflower tells the story of the introvert Charlie and his teenage experiences. Questions to ask:

  1. What do you think being a wallflower is? Do you agree with Bob's definition?
  2. How is music a part of your life? In what ways? What particular bands?

A collection of stories about a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War. Questions to ask:

  1. Why do you think the first story is written in third person? How does this effect the rest of the collection?
  2. What item was most surprising in the list of things the soldiers carried? Why?

The popular, bordering on magical tale of Tita, a young girl, who longs for her love Pedro. Questions to ask:

  1. Discuss the role of tradition and how it affects the characters' lives.
  2. How is fire used as a symbol in the book?

The classic novel, takes place during a summer in the "Jazz age". Recounted by Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby tells the sad story of the young millionaire, Jay Gatsby, his love Daisy, and the failure of the American Dream. Questions to ask:

  1. What does the Green light symbolize?
  2. Is Nick a reliable narrator? Why, or why not?

One of the Great American Novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn chronicles the life of Huck, his slave friend Jim and their daring escape down the Mississippi. Questions to ask:

  1. Discuss the river as a symbol throughout the book.
  2. Why do you think Twain uses a boy as the center of consciousness?

The story of a Minister's family, told from several point of views and their experience in the African Congo. Questions to ask:

  1. What are the implications of the title?
  2. Why isn't the Rev. Nathan Price given a voice?

Chronicling the life of the expelled prep school teenager Holden Caulfield, this classic perfectly captures the experience of an alienated adolescent. Questions to ask:

  1. What are some of the symbols in the story?
  2. What is the significance of the title?

The haunting story of one man's quest for love in a world that's power structures controls information, individuality and freedom. Questions to ask:

  1. Discuss the idea of Doublethink.
  2. What role does Big Brother play? Do you find any similarities in today's society?

The fantastic and poignant tale of two unlikely friends, Jess and Leslie. Questions to ask:

  1. How is Miss Edmunds, Jess's favorite teacher, different from his other teachers?
  2. Why do kids make fun of other kids that seem different?

The science fiction story of the book burning firefighter Guy Montag. Questions to ask:

  1. Why would society make being a pedestrian a crime?
  2. Why do you think the firemen's rulebook credited Benjamin Franklin- writer, publisher, political leader, inventor, ambassador-as being the first fireman?

The frightening true account of young Christopher McCandless, who chose to leave behind possessions, money, and family to roam across America. He eventually ends up in Alaska where four months later he is found dead in an abandoned bus in the wilderness. Questions to ask:

  1. Do you agree with Krakauer's take on Christopher?
  2. Do you think McCandless was mentally ill?

This debut novel follows the life after death of young Susie Salmon. She struggles to accept what happens to her while still watching the lives of those who have gone on living without her. Questions to ask:

  1. What would your heaven be like?
  2. How does Susie's family experience loneliness?

The fascinating though equally horrifying member of a young Dave Pelzer who was forced to overcome the abuse of a maniacal alcoholic mom. Questions to ask:

  1. Why do you think Dave's mother abused him?
  2. Why do you think Dave continued to fight?

The award winning fantasy tale that follows the quest of the loveable homebody Bilbo Baggins. Questions to ask:

  1. Is Thorin in any sense a heroic leader?
  2. Where do humans fit in among the other races of Middle Earth? Are they good or bad?

The strange tale of 8 people of different backgrounds called to an island and murdered one by one. Questions to ask:

  1. Discuss the role of the poem "Ten Little Indians"
  2. Discuss the order in which the characters die. Why do some live longer?



Additional resources

  • The Well-Read Child
    The Well-Read Child, created by Jill Tull features book reviews, reading tips, and learning activities.
  • Bookclubreader.com
    Produced by Simon and Shuster, this website helps blossoming book clubs choose their next book, as well providing guides for discussions.
  • LitKids from LitLovers
    Lots of information about starting book clubs for kids.
  • Scholastic Books
    Look for new books as well as questions to discuss about the books you love.
  • International Digital Children's Library
    An international children's digital library. Providing books and resources from a variety of countries.
  • Amazon.com
    Search for new and used books to buy.