Readers ages 9 to 12 are invited to join Solvang Library's inaugural kids book club to be held virtually on two Wednesday afternoons each month starting Sept. 15.
Longtime resident and book club moderator Anne Jansen will lead the program alongside Solvang Library branch supervisor Carey McKinnon. They will encourage participants to explore new books, new ideas and different perspectives, a library spokeswoman said.
Jansen, who holds a doctorate in English and teaches college-level multiethnic literature, explained the benefits of engaging readers at a young age, especially during this "disconnected moment."
“Connection is so important," she said. "Getting young readers together to talk about books is a way to foster connection and create space for community during a challenging time."
Jansen said being able to talk with others "about the things we love," such as books, is valuable to interpersonal growth.
“Many of the books we’ll be sharing are multicultural, and that is especially exciting," Jansen said. "We live in a world where people are finally starting to realize the importance of diversity. Studies have shown that reading increases empathy, so to read stories about characters from different backgrounds can have a very meaningful impact on young readers."
The first online meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, and the second online meeting is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 29.
The featured book is "Prairie Lotus" by Linda Sue Park. Copies will be available for borrowing at Solvang Library.
To register, go to GoletaValleyLibrary.org, or call the Solvang Library at 805-688-4214.
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