When we first started this boys’ book club, I wondered if it would be hard to to get them to discuss a book in depth.
Now I know: it’s not – as long as you’re talking about a good book.
Apparently, The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone is a great book. The boys talked about it for nearly an hour. They had lots of questions and wanted to talk about many of the historical people and issues visited in this book (I’ve linked resources for these below.) A book doesn’t have to be non-fiction to introduce lots of factual information, and that is evident by this one. The kids wanted to know more about life in Plimoth Plantation, the settlement of New England, the Salem Witch Trials, and King Henry VIII, although the French Revolution was bandied about, too.
After a lot of historical discussion, we watched this video featuring images of rooms from this famous display in the Art Institute of Chicago.
Then we headed outdoors to build rooms out of shoeboxes.
Here the boys surprised me again. After seeing so many fancy European rooms in the video, we talked about the types of rooms we hadn’t seen – garages, barns, dens, stables, workshops, or anything very masculine, really. We talked about the many natural elements that they could find outdoors to use in their rooms, like sticks, stones, leaves, etc. We brought out scrapbooking paper, magazines, scissors, and glue, and gave the boys free rein.
Usually these kids can’t wait to go tearing around the yard looking for the perfect stick or stone – but today each of them worked strictly with paper.
They each chose a different perspective on the room and designed a different type of room – a pantry, a bedroom, etc – but in the end they all had interesting rooms to show.
Isn’t this chandelier and 3-D style bedroom cool?
Don’t underestimate your boys. Tug on the threads of history wherever you find them.
And be sure to read The Sixty-Eight Rooms with your kids. It’s well worth the read.
What are your kids reading right now?