“On the same page” is a series featuring Utah book clubs and will run every other week.
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SALT LAKE CITY — Virginia Hanney of the Philology Circle book club in Kaysville, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, said the group’s focus on children’s literature has helped her to guide and connect with her children and grandchildren over the years.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Deseret News: How did this book group start?
Virginia Hanney: It began in the 80s with a couple of gals. One of them was a literature teacher at a junior high, and she was concerned with what she was seeing with middle-aged readers and felt like if mothers got together and talked about books, it would give them a better understanding to encourage their kids to read. And this is 30 years ago, but I think she took a class that was offered at the high school, and then she just called and got friends together, and it just grew from that.
DN: What do you wish more people understood about children’s literature?
VH: I wish people understood the value that it can be in our everyday lives, that there’s usually a moral that you can pick out that can benefit your life. There are so many good, good books out there. There’s a lot of books that aren’t good too, and that’s one thing we hope to do with our book group is to help people discover the good books. That’s what we want to do is to share with each other books that we know about that are good that our members can take home and share with their families and help to encourage everybody to have a love of reading and a love of literature.
DN: What have you learned or gained from this book club?
VH: First of all, I feel like I was better prepared to help guide my children when they were reading. Now I’m a grandmother, and being knowledgeable about books connects me with my grandkids. Most of them don’t live around here, but we can communicate with books; I can send them a book, we can text about books. It’s been a great way for me to stay connected in their lives when they’re not right here and we don’t get together for Sunday dinner. And then the second thing is the blessing of friendship; to have these great, great women. Some of them are schoolteachers, some librarians, one’s been a high school teacher and Julie, who started the group, a junior high English literature teacher. I’ve just learned so much from all of them, and I think that’s how everyone feels. We just have another circle of friends because of this group.
Philology Circle recommends:
Children’s Picture Books
“Noah’s Ark” by Peter Spier, Doubleday, 48 pages (f)
“So Many Bunnies” by Rick Walton, HarperFestival, 32 pages (f)
“The Water Hole” by Graeme Base, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 32 pages (f)
“The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear” by Don and Audrey Wood, Child’s Play, 32 pages (f)
“Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown, HarperFestival, 34 pages (f)
“Go, Dog. Go!” by P.D. Eastman, Random House, 72 pages (f)
“Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss, Random House, 72 pages (f)
“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, Little Simon, 36 pages (f)
“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 320 pages (f)
“The Goose Girl” by Shannon Hale, Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 432 pages (f)
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Scholastic (f)
“Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, HarperCollins, 352 pages (f)
“A Year Down Yonder” by Richard Peck, Puffin Books, 160 pages (f)
Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, Aladdin (f)
“The Candy Shop War” by Brandon Mull, Aladdin, 384 pages (f)
Young Adult Readers
“The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis, HarperCollins, 784 pages (f)
Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke, Scholastic Paperbacks (f)
“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, Penguin Random House, 464 pages (f)
“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, Penguin Random House, 480 pages (f)