Sharing a love of reading

Papermaker Book Club includes 22 students

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Camas High School students (from left) Ashley Mayfield, Cassidy Hines and Elizabeth Walsh are a part of the Papermaker Book Club. They enjoy the opportunity to discuss different books with other teens who share a love of reading.

Cassidy Hines has always loved to read. So when Camas High School teacher-librarian Rosemary Knapp talked to her about having a school book club, Hines was all for it.

“I think that a book club is a really cool thing to have at school,” she said. “It’s important because you learn how different students interact with books and each other.”

Knapp and Hines applied for a Camas Educational Foundation grant to get the club started, and received $250. However, they still needed about $800. Knapp did some additional fundraising, but it didn’t bring enough money to reach the $1,000 needed.

That changed after Knapp had a conversation with longtime friend and business owner Jack Kane of Pathfinder Logistics. He sent a check for $500 to cover the rest of the cost for book purchases.

The Papermaker Book Club was formed. Twenty-two students read “Lockdown,” a science fiction thriller about a futuristic prison for teens.

They met in two separate groups in November and December.

“Twenty-two students is a bit too big for one meeting,” Knapp said. “We had some great discussions and it was a lot of fun.”

Inspired, Knapp e-mailed the author, Alexander Gordon Smith, to ask if he could talk with Camas students via Skype from his home in Norwich, England. “His response was, ‘Sounds great. When?'” she said.

In early December, a group of students gathered in the career center at 7:45 a.m., which was 4:45 p.m. in England.

“We had a lot of kids show up for the talk and students also got to ask him one-on-one questions,” Knapp said.

Smith also gave the students a sneak peek at the book cover artwork for his fourth novel, which has not yet been released in the United States.

Smith’s book the students read is on a list of nominated work for the Evergreen Young Adult Book Award and the Young Readers Choice Award.

Knapp said she is trying to pick books from that list for students in the book club.

The second book will be “The Maze Runner,” by James Dashner.

The club will read the book and meet to discuss it in February. All participants get to keep the book free of charge.

“It is nice to be able to understand a book at different levels,” Hines said. “It gives you a different perspective about it. I’m excited for the next book.”

Sophomore Elizabeth Walsh joined the book club because she enjoys being around other teens who like to read.

“I’m really into books,” she said. “It’s fun knowing you’ll go into the group and talk about a book you’ve all read.”

Sophomore Ashley Mayfield joined the book club for a simple reason: Her love of reading.

“You learn a lot from it and it takes you someplace else,” she said. “It helps you relax, and I thought it would be fun to hang out with other people who feel the same about books.”