For most people, part of the college experience is learning about who you are and what interests you, but not everyone has the passion and motivation to turn those interests into a community service.
As the founder of Littlerature, the newest book club on campus, senior Joanna Simone said that literature has always been important to her, and the idea for the club actually came from reading a book as well.
“I was reading a book called The Happiness Project [by Gretchen Rubin], which discussed a woman’s journey through happiness,” Simone said. “In the book, she talks about pursuing what she really liked, regardless of what other people thought, and eventually creates a children’s literature book club and finds other people that are interested.”
In the fall 2013 semester, when Simone first came up with the idea for a book club, she said she wasn’t sure she wanted it to be as official as it is now.
“I discussed the idea with a couple of my education major friends, and they [said], ‘Yes, and we should make it into a club,’ and the next thing I knew they [said], ‘Look, we wrote up a constitution,’ and then we were approved,” Simone said.
Now, as a Student Association organization, Littlerature spreads awareness of children and young adult literature through its meetings and its work in the community. Simone said the main goal is to share in reading and to work to inform teacher candidates about current, popular children’s and young adult literature.
As president and sole executive board member, Simone said running the club herself is a lot of work.
“All of my friends are student teaching this semester, so all of my e-board members are gone,” Simone said. “Plus, we were approved only a few days before the Student Organization Expo last semester, so we had to pull our club together really quickly, which didn’t give us enough time to elect a new e-board from our remaining members.”
Despite this, Simone said the club has had immense support from the education department. Through the resources offered by the library and media center on campus, she and the rest of the club have been able to continue sharing and discussing popular children’s and young adult books at weekly meetings.
“We have a lot of great resources at our fingertips,” Simone said. “And we’ve had a ton of involvement from faculty and staff – we have a lot of help across campus; it’s been pretty great.”
Simone explained that the club is working closely with other educational resources as well and even attended the Rochester Children’s Book Festival, where she spoke with different authors and had books and lesson planning materials donated to the fledgling club.
“We have a bunch of things we’ll be working on and sharing with the club this semester,” Simone said. “We have plans to work with poetry too, and do some author studies – plus, there have been a few people on campus who have written and illustrated books, so we’re hoping to get a chance to work with them.”
The group is working to organize a few more future projects, including one set up with professor of education Brian Morgan and a local school.
“There’s a preschool teacher who said she wants books on tape for her classroom, so we’re actually recording real books on tape for her to use with her students.” Simone said. “It’s a very cool opportunity.”
According to Simone, the project will begin within the coming weeks, but in the meantime, Littlerature will continue its discussion at weekly meetings and its volunteer work at Wadsworth Library’s read-aloud Story Time nights.
“We have accounting majors; we have a biochemistry major,” Simone said. “The club is just for people who genuinely enjoy this kind of stuff – and who doesn’t enjoy a good story time?”