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Park Rapids students McKenna Coats, Melissa Rogers, Kymberly Weeks and Nikky Pederson worked on picking out the first book they will read for the book club Wednesday afternoon. They decided on "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" by John Boyne. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Love of reading books brings students together

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A Park Rapids Area High School book club will start the year reading about the Holocaust.

The first book on the docket is "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" by John Boyne.

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"It's an excellent choice," said Susan Cassidy, media center director and facilitator for the club.

A few of the students were in the book club last year and they look forward to another year of conversation and reading.

Melissa Rogers, a junior, said she absolutely loves this group.

"It's just very entertaining for young kids like us to just sit in a room and discuss what we get out of a book," Rogers said.

The book club started with an American Library Association grant last year, Cassidy said. This year, PEO Chapter T donated money for books and treats.

Last year, the group read "Sold," by Patricia McCormick, about a 13-year-old sold into slavery and "Tyrell," by Coe Booth, about a kid growing up in the inner city projects.

The group doesn't meet at a regular time. It depends on the length of the book and the students' schedules.

Paula Guajardo, a junior, likes getting free books to call her own.

"I love reading," Guajardo said. "I really started reading more about two years ago. It just expands your imagination."

Sophomore McKenna Coats is also part of the book club.

"It's like watching TV in your head," Coats said. "If you have a problem, reading can take your mind off it."

Guajardo said her vocabulary has expanded since she began reading more regularly.

"Sports never really amused me," Guajardo said. "With reading, you can just imagine it and make up your own characters."

So far, nine students have signed up for the book club. More students are welcome.

Cassidy is working with Beagle Books to set up a meeting between the students and an author through Skype, which is an interactive Internet site.

The students will read "Shiver," by Maggie Stiefvater and then meet her through the Skype meeting.

Cassidy is excited about the opportunities for students this year in the book club.

"It's about promoting an interest in books," Cassidy said. "It's a fun time and fun way for kids to interact."

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