Bobby's World

It would be tempting to compare Bobby Gordon's all-boys book club at the Plaza Branch to the Kansas City Chiefs. Both are active for the duration of the football season (well, most of it). And, both generate lively discussion among the fans who get involved.

But unlike our struggling team at Arrowhead, Bobby's Books for Boys Reading Group rarely has a bad moment on its chosen field.

That's not always a given, though, considering the typical reading habits of boys aged 8 to 12.

"Boys tend to come to the Library for different reasons than girls," says Gordon, a Plaza children's associate of 13 years. "Girls like to hang around, but boys have more activities. They come and go faster and tend to be a little later with their reading. I just keep an eye on things they check out and are interested in."

Now in its second year, Bobby's Books for Boys meets every third Wednesday starting October 19 and runs through March 2012. Last year, Gordon had a core group of five regulars that swelled up to nine at various points throughout the season. He hopes this year's group will be bigger and better.

But how do you keep boys coming back to read every month? For Gordon, it's a matter of picking the right books and cultivating conversation.

"Being boys, we're gonna do the same things we do when we're sitting around watching sports," Gordon says. "We get food, sit around, act it out - just doing things that boys do. While we're being goofy, we're still able to have a good conversation."

Also, with a reading list that includes the first books in many popular preteen series, including Jenny Nimmo's Chronicles of the Red King and Dan Gutman's Genius Files, Gordon hopes to hand his young readers the ball and let them run with it on their own.

Word about Bobby's Books has been getting around, too.

"Girls have been asking me why they can't come. I've had some good titles, and they're like 'Why can't I come?'" Gordon says.

Sorry, ladies. This one's for the boys.

Bobby's Books for Boys is part of the Library's Building a Community of Readers initiative.

About the Author

Jason Harper is the web content developer at the Kansas City Public Library. He has been tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, and YouTubing for the Library since 2010.