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'Face Off' – Students meet to discuss 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid,' 'Dork Diaries'

SUGAR GROVE – Students came together for a discussion of two books during a Books and Cookies Club meeting at the Sugar Grove Public Library.

The club is for third- to fifth-graders.

They met for a session called Face Off: “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney vs. “Dork Diaries” by Rachel Renee Russell on April 13.

The club meets monthly to discuss featured books, eat cookies and do activities related to the books.

Alison Schwarz, youth services associate, leads the club.

“I hope that they are open to trying new genres of books that they haven’t already read,” Schwarz said.

She added that she usually picks books that are the first from a series.

“Once the students read those books, they then want to know what happens next,” Schwarz said. “So then it just continues to build a love of reading in them and just trying new things. Because sometimes kids can get so caught – and even us as adults can get so caught up in – or stuck in a rut of reading the same genre. But then, if you try new things, you can be hooked for life then on a different genre that you never thought you would even enjoy.”

Schwarz questioned students on the book basics.

She filled out a hanging graphic organizer that focused the students’ attention on the similarities and differences between the two books. Students answered the questions, which had to do with names of best friends, enemies, audience and crushes.

The books are designed like diaries, with writings and drawings throughout the pages.

Jack Dodge, 11, a Sugar Grover resident, called the artwork for “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” simple.

Dodge compared that art to “Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not So Fabulous Life.”

“They’re actually really good,” Dodge said.

Students paged through and examined Kinney’s and Russell’s books.

They pondered who the targeted audiences would be.

Montgomery resident Gianni Rabiola, 9, pointed out “everyone” for Wimpy Kid, while Sugar Grove resident Sage Spayer, 10, noted “girls” for Dork Diaries.

Schwarz passed out cookies, which have a featured role in the club. Just like the session had a name, so did the cookies: Chocolate Face Off.

One side was chocolate chip, while the other half sported double chocolate with thick white chocolate chips.

It was determined that the majority liked Wimpy Kid the best, with Schwarz as the lone one preferring Dork Diaries.

“You guys win!” Schwarz said.

Later the club related personally to the books and provided more input, did some “cheese” throwing and made their own mixed-up comic drawings.

Spayer explained the idea of the “Cheese Touch” game in which club members threw bean bag squares through a character image from Wimpy Kid.

“There is a piece of old, molded, disgusting cheese on the blacktop [in the story],” Spayer said. “And nobody dares to touch it. Otherwise they have the ‘cheese touch.’”

Dodge figured out why the Wimpy Kid character Greg wrote in a diary.

“That way he won’t have to answer a bunch of questions when he’s famous,” Dodge said.

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