If grown up book clubs are merely excuses to gossip and drink wine while fingering the latest best-seller in hardback, could book clubs for kids be the place where real reading and thoughtful discussion happens? Red Tricycle is on the case with an up close and personal look at NYC’s favorite book clubs for kids. Save the date for the next club meeting of your choice and have your little reader start the book now.

Free NYPL Book Clubs for Kids

New York Public Library Book Buddies! Book Discussion Group
She’s graduated from Family Story Time and she’s ready to sink her teeth into a big girl chapter book (without you around). Try this group geared for kids ages 7 and 9 who can read at a 3rd/4th grade level. It offers a first taste of independent literary life – as long as a caregiver hangs around in the vicinity.

Go: Last Friday of the month at 4:30 pm, starting September 27, NYPL Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, The Main Branch, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street

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New York Public Library Bookalicious
True independence, however, comes with Bookalicious. Here, boys and girls ages 10 to 12 and reading on a 5th/6th grade level can truly dive into a tale. The emphasis here isn’t on merely sounding out and understanding the words and story, but exploring themes and literary devices. Not to mention, Mom and Dad can go browse in the adult section. You’re cool by yourself.

Go: Second Friday of the month at 4:30 pm, starting September 13 at NYPL Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, The Main Branch, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street

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Book Store Kids Book Clubs

Torly Kid Book Club
Focusing on books of interest to boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14, the Torly Kid Book Club doesn’t just read and discuss, they also do art projects based on the book of the month’s themes. Previous picks have included: The One and Only Ivan by K.A. Applegate and Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Coming of age stories are particularly popular, and authors often drop by to lead the chat and answer questions. Pre-register by emailing torly@torlykid.com. Each meeting costs $10, but a trial class is available if you ask (tell them Red Tricycle sent you!).

Go: First Wednesday of the month, starting September 4, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, $10, at Torly Kid, 51 Hudson Street, Tribeca

Greenlight Young Readers Book Group
Geared for kids ages 8-14, the Greenlight Young Readers Book Group reads both contemporary and classic chapter books, with a new title selected, and available for purchase on the store’s website, for each session. In July, the kids read One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Discussion is facilitated by a former teacher turned bookseller and, most importantly, pizza is served! Greenlight is taking a break for August, but check the website for details on September’s title. You’ll need to buy the book (or, possibly, check it out of the library if available), but attending this book club is free!

Go: Fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm, Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street, Fort Greene

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Middle Grade Reading Club
Launched by a children’s book blogger, this group for brainy readers ages 9 to 12 meets in a location that also touts itself as part “mini-gallery, and community space.” This Middle Grade Reading Club isn’t afraid to tackle heavy topics and titles like The Apothecary by Maile Meloy and Navigating Early by Clare Vanverpool, then spend an hour exploring the book’s central characters, thematic elements, and social issues presented therein. In fact, they told Red Tricycle that the kids “basically demand books that will challenge them and will give us enough fodder for in depth discussions.” Powerhouse on 8th likes to feature local authors who are available to come in and talk to the kids in person but, when that’s not option, it’s Skype to the rescue! PowerHouse even has their own juvenile publishing imprint to insure plenty of appropriate titles for the future. Pre-register by emailing RSVP@POWERHOUSEon8th.com.

Go: Second Wednesday of the month, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm at Powerhouse on 8th, 1111 8th Avenue, Park Slope

George O'Conner signing books

Thalia Kids Book Club
During the school year, this club for kids ages 9-12 has tackled classics like Harriet the Spy and soon-to-be classics like A Series of Unfortunate Events with readings and Q&As with authors, as well as discussions with other experts in the field. And in the summertime, they’ve even got a camp, where past field trips have included a sleuthing adventure with NY Times reporter Michael Winerip of the Adam Canfield series, a Kiki-Strike-related jaunt through the West Village with author Kirsten Miller, a visit to the Greek and Roman rooms at the Met with George O’Connor of The Olympians series, and other literary inspired outings to the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art, The Museum of the Moving Image, The Tenement Museum and the New York Hall of Science. Next up? Rick Riordan Heroes of Olympus, October 9 at 6:00 pm.

Go: Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, Upper West Side

Reading at the Museum

The New York Historical Society’s Dimenna Children’s History Museum
Every month, the museum suggests a book on their blog that teaches the history of New York City, is relevant to the museum’s collection and is appropriate for children ages 9 to 12. Then, at the end of the month, they host a Book Wrap event to discuss the story and dig deeper into the history behind it with the Museum’s collection. Previous activities have included examining 18th century documents, going on a museum-wide scavenger hunt and touring a photography exhibit. August’s book is Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider and October’s read is Cooper and the Enchanted Metal Detector. All Book Wraps are free with museum admission (if cost is a barrier, you can email familyprograms@nyhistory.org to receive a free family pass).

Go: Aug., Wednesdays, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm; Sept.-May; Sundays, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, free with museum admission

– Alina Adams

Images: Torly Kid, Powerhouse on 8th, Symphony Space