The Solvang Library has launched its new virtual Book Club for Kids.
The club is open to youths ages 9-12 in the Santa Ynez and Goleta valleys. The first meeting will take place virtually at 4 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a second one at 4 p.m. Sept. 29.
The club will continue to meet at 4 p.m. on two Wednesdays each month, according to a news release.
The first book for the Book Club for Kids will be “Prairie Lotus” by Linda Sue Park. The club also will discuss related titles.
Reading “Prairie Lotus” before the meeting is optional.
Dr. Anne Jansen, a longtime local library enthusiast, is the club’s book moderator. Dr. Jansen, whose doctorate is in English, has taught multiethnic literature at the university level.
“Connection is so important, and we are in such a disconnected moment right now,” Dr. Jansen said in the news release. “Getting young readers to talk about books is a way to foster connection and create space for community during a challenging time.
“Also, I love to geek out over books!” she continued. “Being able to talk with others about the things we love — in this case, books — is such an amazing thing.
“I would have loved the opportunity to be part of a group like this as a kid, and I hope to help young readers share or grow their love of reading with their peers.”
Dr. Jansen said many of the book club’s titles will be multicultural. “We live in a world where people are finally starting to realize the importance of diversity. Studies have shown that reading increases empathy, so to read stories about characters from different backgrounds can have a very meaningful impact on young readers. Perhaps some of our readers will even see people like them in these stories, and that can be a powerful thing!
“I remember the first time I realized literature could be about people like me,” Dr. Jansen said. “It literally changed the course of my life.
The Book Club for Kids is supported by the Friends of the Library of Santa Ynez Valley.
The Solvang Library is part of the Goleta Valley library system. For more information, go to www.goletavalleylibrary.org.