Elizabethtown College Education Department Book Club discussion

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The Science of Breakable Things

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message 1: by KCapLiteracy (new)

KCapLiteracy | 26 comments Tae Keller's The Science of Breakable Things is our July title. Feel free to add thoughts and/or questions about this book throughout the month of July!


message 2: by KCapLiteracy (last edited Jul 15, 2018 06:24PM) (new)

KCapLiteracy | 26 comments Thanks to Kristen for suggesting this title! I just finished The Science of Breakable Things this evening! I read Esther Ehrlich's Nest, another middle grades book about a young girl who struggles due to her mom's depression, so I was really interested to see how Breakable Things stood up to this book. Overall, I enjoyed how Keller designed the book around this idea of a science experience and revealed that theory does not always reveal accurately what real life has in store. I liked Natalie as a narrator, but I felt that Keller's voice "came in" at too many points. What do you all think about Natalie's narrative voice? I really enjoyed the overall message about the power of friendships, and I think many middle schoolers will resonate with this aspect of the book. I especially liked the chapter "December 25/ Assignment 28: Twig's Laugh." In this chapter, Keller shares the power of friendship - and how sometimes it's our friends who help us move through life. I'm really interested to hear what you thought about the ending. The adventure Natalie, Twig, and Dari embark upon just did not seem realistic to me. What did you think? When I read the "Acknowledgments" section, I was intrigued by the author's statement about how her agent kept telling her to "go deeper." I feel like this would be my suggestion. There was a missing element to this book. I enjoyed this book, but I just can't say that it holds up to Nest. Would love your thoughts on this idea of depth. Excited to see your thoughts and/or questions! We'll take August off for the book club, but I can't wait to sit down and chat about another middle grades title in the fall!


message 3: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Weigle | 7 comments I also loved the set up of this book! I think revolving it around science blended well with the story line. I think it puts how school can relate to life, on a broader scale, into perspective for students. I felt some disconnect whenever Natalie's mother was brought in. Her presence did not seem to flow for me. I liked the idea of Natalie talking to someone, besides her parents, about issues at home because I think it puts the message out there that it is okay to open up and discuss how something makes you feel. It encourages middle grades students to see guidance counselors or a therapist as an option when times are tough. I agree with your thoughts on the ending. The whole break-in happened too quick and those pages seemed rushed. I expected more from the ending, in general. I would have liked a chapter at the end, that was set a couple months or a year down the line, that explains how Natalie's life is now and how her family dynamic changed.


message 4: by Kristin (new)

Kristin Wilkinson | 3 comments Oops! For some reason I thought this book was for July and August, so I just finished it. Like both of you, I really liked how the book emulated the scientific method. I almost wish there was more references to the scientific method towards the end. The whole break in to the lab was very unrealistic to me, too. I wish they had been able to enter another egg drop contest and have to make changes to their hypothesis and design like most science experiments. This would have made a better ending in my opinion. I thought this would be a great book to help students who have family members suffering from mental illness. Natalie's dad and therapist help normalize the need for family members to have someone to talk to when someone in their family is going through a rough time. I hope my students could learn that getting help can greatly aid the family dynamic. I was confused when Natalie would bring up how she was sick for a month in the past, and her mother would lay with her. I know she clarified later that her mother was depressed then too, but it seemed a little out of the storyline and unnecessary. Overall, I enjoyed the book and I'm looking forward to reading more this fall!


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