AN INTERGENERATIONAL book club has seen Teesside school pupils and elderly care home residents sharing their love of classic literature.
Young book worms aged 11 to 16, from Thornaby Academy, on Baysdale Road, and residents from Mandale House Care Home, on Acklam Road, have come together through their shared interest in reading.
The first book on their list was John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice And Men”, which got very different responses from the two groups, who are separated by up to eight decades in age.
Sharon Lewis, activities coordinator at Mandale House Care Home, said: “Two of our residents, Arthur and Sydney, found the book sad and said they wouldn’t recommend it.
“The notes from the children at Thornaby Academy said they found it humorous. Our residents said that maybe the students thought Lennie going around with a dead mouse in his pocket is something children would find amusing.”
Some of the care home’s residents did enjoy the book, however, with several five-star reviews. A favourite part among many was the relationship between the story’s two main characters.
In her review, resident Pat Dobson, 84, said her favourite part was “the way George looks out for Lennie.”
Both Joan Cox, 83, and Ann Venis, 87, said “the trouble Lennie gets into” was their favourite part.
The library manager from Thornaby Academy, Jessica Moore, has now delivered the second set of books for the residents to review: Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful.
Jessica said: “At Thornaby Academy, we understand that reading underpins our whole curriculum. Therefore, we provide our students with many opportunities to read for leisure and pleasure both in and out of school hours.
“Through a wide range of texts, genres, and reading about contentious issues, our hope is to get our students to understand the context of the society we live in and how changes have taken place over time.
“Our students want to share their knowledge with the wider community and create relationships through sharing their thoughts, feelings, and findings from their reading.
“Our reading ambassadors, student librarians and millionaire readers are keen to collaborate with residents from our local care homes, including Mandale House, to hear and compare views, thoughts and experiences of a different generation about the same books.”
Sharon, from Mandale House Care Home, added: “Our residents have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the book reviews with the pupils and have been looking forward to getting stuck into the next book.
“We’re also hoping to arrange a get together between our residents and the pupils, hopefully before the end of the school year, when they will be able to discuss their latest book in person.
“Projects like this have absolutely amazing benefits for both groups. The residents are delighted to be engaging with young people, sharing their views, and participating in the wider community. It brings such a joy to the care home and we hope to continue the book club for the foreseeable future.”