- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Waldorf West library public service associates Christopher A. Stewart and Daniel Rheingrover have started the Father and Son Book Club at the library.
Open to boys from about 10 to 14 and their fathers (big brothers, uncles, family friends, heck, even moms if that’s what it takes), the club was Stewart’s idea as a way to strengthen the bonds between fathers and sons, Rheingrover said.
The club’s first selection was the graphic novel “Yummy: The Last Days of a South Side Shorty” by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke.
The book tells the true story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, a Chicago gang member who was only 11 when he was killed by members of his gang after he shot and killed a 14-year-old girl. His story was featured on the cover of TIME magazine to highlight the issue of youth gangs in the country. The graphic novel is told from the point of view of a fictional narrator who could have been easily caught up in the world of violence.
Social issues like those raised in “Yummy” introduce nature-versus-nurture disscussions. One that Stewart and Rheingrover found themselves debating — “We don’t see eye to eye,” Rheingrover admitted — so they knew it would get fathers and sons talking, too.
“We want to help stretch people and get them out of their comfort zone,” Stewart said.
They also want to find books that guys, young and old, will find interesting, which means books about sports, something a little adventurous or those that will prompt debate.
The March book was “Heat” by Mike Lupica, a fictional story based on the Little League scandal in the South Bronx revolving around Danny Almonte, who was found to be too old to be playing in the league. While the first meeting in February was attended by just Rheingrover and Stewart, Stewart said a father and son showed up for the March discussion and the four jumped in, talking about the book and baseball.
Rheingrover and Stewart are always looking for book recommendations.
“We attempt to find books that really pull boys in,” said Stewart, who, as a kid, devoured the works of Walter Dean Myers.
Rheingrover loved sports books and biographies of athletes, which fueled an interest in nonfiction.
By catering to boys in their middle school years, club members can delve into real discussions of the works, Rheingrover said.
“We didn’t want to go so young that they didn’t have anything to talk about,” he said. “We want to choose books that make them think.”