EJK Award Book Discussion Guides

Designed to be used with a selection of EJK Award and Honor books, these Discussion Guides highlight “themes” or “perspectives” in specific books that can then be used to develop active and critical reading skills for children of all ages.

Discussion Questions and Activities Help Develop

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Comprehension of a book’s text, illustrations, and design
  • Recognition of basic literary and artistic elements and techniques
  • Understanding lessons about real life through reading

Virtual Learning Tips

These Book Discussion Guides were created for in-person and remote learning situations, but the challenges of virtual learning are worthy of special attention. We’re happy to offer a few tips for working remotely with different age groups, but we would be thrilled to hear how you’ve made your online classes more engaging.

Older Kids

  • Based on EJK Award themes, create projects that students work on in groups
  • Have different students present a two minute themed book review every day.
  • Have different students lead class discussions relating to themes important to their lives.
  • Partner with a primary level class and assign buddies for themed reading times and report on the experience.

Younger Kids

  • Provide caregivers with two or three questions they can ask the child when they reread the book together and discuss the themes after class time.
  • Find an older reading “buddy” who can read and talk to the child remotely.
  • Make sure there are craft supplies in the home so the child can make drawings based on the books to share with the class.

Book Discussion Guides (to Download)

The following themes are explored in-depth because of their particular relevance and potential to address issues important to your classroom curriculum.

All Themes

The EJK Foundation has identified fourteen (14) themes for in-depth group discussions and activities. Our Discussion Guides can be explored for ideas as you create your own guides based on any of the themes below:

Thank You

Thank you for the contributions of the following for their input and leadership on creating this toolkit:

  • Dr. Ramona Caponegro, Curator, Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, University of Florida 
  • Dr. Jacqueline LaRose, Professor of Education, Eastern Michigan University

Participants from Estabrook Learning Community in Ypsilanti, Michigan:

  • Ryan Johnson
  • Kristen C. Rickman
  • Ashley Chrzaszcz
  • Donna McWilliams
  • Amanda Garner
  • Jessica Terlep
  • Keely Miller
  • Barb Baker
  • Shoshana DeMaria

Participants from Holmes Elementary School in Ypsilanti, Michigan:

  • Lavonda Jackson
  • Stephanie McKinney
  • Marlo E. Bearman
  • Debbie Swanson
  • Dawn Dennis
  • Jennifer Gray
  • Kimberly Barrett

Please send us your experience based tips so we can periodically update the materials. Email jmccarthy@ezra-jack-keats.org.