I always do a word search or crossword puzzle at the beginning of book club. It gives the kids something to do together while they eat their pizza. I try to alternate whether it's a word search or crossword each month.
I always look online for good book discussion questions before I plan anything else. For this book, I found Multnomah County Library's questions really helpful, as well as those from Gaiman's official site for young readers, Mouse Circus. We watched the book's official trailer to refresh everyone's memory. The kids had some great insights this month. We talked for a long time about Gaimain's tendency to hint about the book's setting (pounds as currency, etc.) and characters (just what is Silas anyway?). We had a really good chat about why there are so many orphans in children's literature also.
If You Like This Book, Try... Booktalks
I like to booktalk some related titles after the discussion is over. I try to keep this a mix of fiction, nonfiction, chapter books, and anything they might enjoy glancing over. This time I book-talked a couple creepy reads that I thought the kids would like:
Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices by David M. Schwartz They were impressed and disgusted.
Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen Fun opportunity to introduce the new vocabulary word "epitaph".
Your Skeleton is Showing : Rhymes of Blunder from Six Feet Under by Kurt Cyrus
I found a planning sheet to spark ideas for kids on how to write their own epitaph. I also printed out an article called How to Write a Funny Epitaph. Then I printed out a gravestone template for each kid so they could put the final version on there. These prompts were also helpful. The discussion was so good this month that we didn't have time to cover this, so I sent everything home with the kids.
I like to end by introducing the next month's book, so I did a short book talk for Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix, our title for November. Wish I had I showed this fan-made book trailer that I just found though! I think the kids will really like Among the Hidden. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series but I will wait until after our book discussion next month so I don't accidentally spoil anything from the later books.