Barneblad: Start your own Barnebokklubb

A monthy feature to share with kids and grandkids


Photo: University of Oxford
Summer is the perfect time to start a barnebokklubb, a children’s book club.

Brought to you by Lori Ann Reinhall

With a break from school, summer is a fun time for kids—but that doesn’t mean it’s not a time for (fun) learning. With our focus on summer reading, it’s the perfect time to organize your own Barnebokklubb or summer book club.

Here are 10 ideas for a successful summer book club:

1) Choose a theme

For Norwegian Americans, “Norway” is natural choice of theme: what better way is there to learn about your heritage than from good books?

2) Choose a name

The Norwegian word for “Children’s Book Club” is Barnebokklubb, the perfect name for your Norwegian book club for kids. Make sure everyone knows how to pronounce it: bar-nuh-buke-klube.

3) Gather friends

It’s important to bring friends together who more or less are at the same reading level: classmates from school, church, and other kids’ groups are good places to start. It isn’t necessary that they have Norwegian ties: the book club is a time for sharing.

4) Send out invitations

You will need your guardians to help set up a time and place for the book club. They can help you send out invitations to your home, or they can organize with other families to rotate the group from house to house.

The number of books you will read will determine how many times you will meet. Ask them to print out a schedule with the dates so everyone can update their calendars.


Photo: Peterson Air Force Base
Your local librarian is one of the best resources for good book recommendations.

5) Choose books

This is perhaps the most important—and most fun—part of the planning. The public library is a great resource for finding the right books for each age group. Tell the librarian that you would like books with Norwegian themes and authors. There are hundreds of books about trolls alone and a magnificent treasure chest of fairy tales.

If everyone can buy copies of the books or check them out from libraries, they can read the books at home before the book club meeting. Another option is to have someone read from the books at the book club meetings. Make sure they are not too long or that parts of them can be read as excerpts or in installments over a number of meetings.

6) Set some rules

Once you get together, there are few rules to be clarified:

• There are no wrong answers

• Everyone gets a chance to talk

• The is no interrupting: be respectful

7) Get your questions ready

It’s important that everyone get to say something during the book club meeting. Thinking of some good questions in advance always helps. They can be very simple:

• Who is the book about?

• What do they look like?

• Where do they live?

• Who do you like and why?

• How does the book end?

8) Prepare snacks

When people get together, they get hungry! Make sure there are some good snacks to enjoy. Cookies and milk are favorites, and fruits, nuts, and cheese are great healthy choices.

9) Add in extra activities

Here a few ideas that will make you book club even more fun:

• Create a collage or bookmark related to the theme of the book

• Dress up as your favorite character and act out a scene

• Draw an alternate book cover

10) Bring takeaways

Even if you are only meeting once, it’s important that you have something to mark your progress. A little booklet or poster with the titles of the book is easy to put together. An adult can buy color stamps or stickers to mark completion of the book after each meeting. It will give everyone a great memory of their summer Barnebokklubb. You may have so much fun that you will want to keep it going all year round!


Image: Pixabay
Make sure you have a fun takeaway for your Barnebokklubb.

This article originally appeared in the July 12, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.