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The Do More Club by Dana Kramaroff

In “The Do More Club” by Dana Kramaroff, the author reflects on her previous article, “Buffets and Books: What Fills Me Up as a Reader?,” and discusses the need for students to explore diverse book choices. While students have enjoyed sharing their reading interests and recommendations, they often gravitate towards books that mirror their own identities and experiences. Kramaroff emphasizes the importance of stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing new perspectives through literature. She shares a personal encounter where a teacher hesitated to offer her a book centered around a Jewish Bat Mitzvah, assuming it wasn’t relevant to her non-Jewish students. Kramaroff encourages readers to embrace diversity and promote understanding by starting conversations through her middle-grade novel, “The Do More Club,” where the protagonist creates a club to combat hate.

The Do More Club by Dana Kramaroff

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The Do More Club by Dana Kramaroff

When I wrote Buffets and Books: What Fills Me Up as a Reader? for Nerdy Book Club in 2016, I hoped to help educators understand who they and their students were as readers. Since then, I have used this practice with many students and have always found that what makes each reader unique is like a fingerprint.

If I had written a part two of that article, I would have explained what happens in the days to follow in my classroom. Students are given a shopping list and told that being part of a community of readers means finding shopping ideas for what their next book choices might be. Students have always enjoyed this part so much – checking out each other’s paper plates, talking about books or series ‘you just have to read next’ and then lovingly checking off books they have added and finished, just like one might do at the grocery store once an item is put into the cart.

Regrettably, there’s been a part that has been missing. Even though I have always encouraged my students to talk to their classmates about the books they should read next, to develop their shopping lists, the truth is that the book suggestions may vary in genre but are all too similar in many ways to their peers. Students rarely choose books that are separate from their own identity thus creating a situation in which students lean toward books with characters that look like them, think like them, or have similar lives or families as them.

It’s akin to buying the same items at the grocery store week in and week out to make meals that we know will taste good. (Guilty!) We, as humans, don’t always reach for trying new things and we get into terrible ruts. We may even attempt bravery and think to ourselves, ‘Ooh, maybe I will try a new recipe or meal!’ But those worries always come into play: What if I don’t enjoy it? What if it is hard to make? What if I regret it after? We are, after all, creatures of habit and relish in the experience of living in the places where we are most comfortable. But thus, we are living in times where many people are uncomfortable just being themselves and the discomfort of only knowing our own identities and avoiding others is problematic.

I like to tell the story of how I was once walking in the hallway of a K-5 school and a very well- intentioned teacher walked up to me with a middle-grade book in their hands that centered around a Jewish Bat Mitzvah. This teacher felt as if I should have the book. It was as if they were sending the message: ‘This is part of your identity, not mine, so why would I read it or have it in my classroom for my non-Jewish students to read?’

If I had done things differently, I would have pushed back and gently said, ‘I think you should keep this one. It may open the eyes of your other students who don’t know what it is like to be Jewish. If you or your students have any questions, I would be happy to answer them.’

When I wrote THE DO MORE CLUB, I did not want it to just be for your one Jewish kid in your class. It is for all of your kids because being the ‘only one’ in a class or school is not a unique experience. One of the lessons my main character Josh must learn is that sometimes being the ‘only one’ is hidden underneath the surface, like his own Jewish identity. But for others, being the ‘only one’ is obvious in one glance. For all the children who feel they have to hide who they are and for all the Jewish children who face antisemitism every day, my words are for you.

We can all work to spread more kindness, so hate can’t win, which is why Josh starts ‘the do more club’ after swastikas are spray-painted on his school. My hope is that like Josh, you recognize that we can’t rid the world of people that hate, but we can do our part to repair our own little corner of it. No matter whether you are a kindness army of one or if you bring your whole class or school into forming a Do More Club, I hope you will consider using my book as a jumping-off point to start the conversation.

The Do More Club by Dana Kramaroff

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Using The Do More Club

As a conversation starter

The Do More Club can be a great conversation starter in classrooms or book clubs. The story tackles important themes such as identity, diversity, and kindness. By reading and discussing the book, students can explore their own identities, learn about different experiences, and engage in meaningful conversations about empathy, acceptance, and the power of standing up against hate. It can serve as a catalyst for deeper discussions about inclusivity and the importance of embracing diversity in literature and in our daily lives.

Starting a kindness movement

Inspired by the Do More Club, you can start a kindness movement in your school or community. Encourage students to perform acts of kindness and spread positivity in their daily lives. It can be as simple as saying kind words to someone who needs it, helping a classmate with their homework, or volunteering for a local charity. By instilling the values of kindness and empathy in students, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive world.

The Do More Club by Dana Kramaroff

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Author’s Background

Dana Kramaroff, the author of The Do More Club, has a rich background as both a mother and a teacher. With eighteen years of experience as a mom and twenty-three years as an elementary teacher, Kramaroff brings a deep understanding of the needs and interests of young readers. Drawing inspiration from her own experiences and the challenges she has encountered, Kramaroff brings a unique perspective to her storytelling, capturing the voices and emotions of her characters with authenticity and heart.

The Do More Club by Dana Kramaroff

Publication Details

The Do More Club is published by Penguin Random House – Rocky Pond Books and is set to be released on August 29, 2023. This debut middle-grade novel in verse promises to captivate readers with its powerful themes, relatable characters, and engaging storytelling. As an exciting addition to the world of children’s literature, The Do More Club is a must-read for educators, parents, and young readers looking for a heartfelt story that sparks important conversations about identity, diversity, and the power of kindness.

In conclusion, The Do More Club by Dana Kramaroff presents a compelling and timely story that explores the importance of understanding oneself as a reader and embracing diversity in literature. Through the story of Josh and his journey to spread kindness in the face of hate, readers are invited to reflect on their own identities, challenge their comfort zones, and take action to make a positive impact in their communities. By using The Do More Club as a conversation starter and starting a kindness movement, we can foster empathy, acceptance, and a deeper appreciation for the richness of diverse identities. With its thoughtful storytelling, The Do More Club is a powerful tool for educators, parents, and young readers who are passionate about creating a more inclusive and compassionate world.

The Do More Club by Dana Kramaroff

Source: https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2023/10/20/the-do-more-club-by-dana-kramaroff/