A story about a boy growing up in the Ozark mountains during the early depression set up our Where the Red Fern Grows book club. We trekked through the woods, experienced puppy love, and learned to cook some traditional homemade foods while celebrating this award-winning book.
We trekked through the woods, experienced puppy love, and learned to cook some traditional homemade foods at our Where the Red Fern Grows book club. #bookclub #ihsnet #wheretheredferngrows
Where the Red Fern Grows Book Club Discussion
This month our book club was on the book, Where the Red Fern Grows. This is one of my absolute favorite books from childhood. I remember my 5th-grade teacher, Ms. Bush, reading our class this book from her rocking chair while we all sat on the floor around her. It was such a simple, poignant story and it touched me in a way that made me remember it fondly all these years later.
This book is full of great life lessons like "if you want something bad enough, hard work and persistence pay off" and "being honest and sincere will gain you respect no matter your age." But, probably the most important life lesson of all is that "there truly is nothing greater than loving and being loved" even if that love comes from a dog.
Though one of the kids almost refused to read the book because she heard it was sad, they all loved the book. The kids enjoyed reading about a boy close to their age who had so much freedom to roam the woods on his own. I was so glad they seemed to enjoy it as much as I did at their age.
Where the Red Fern Grows Book Club Snacks
All through Where the Red Fern Grows, Billy's mother cooks simple, down-home foods traditional to the area and to the time. So, we decided to make some of the foods mentioned in the book.
We started by learning to make Old-Fashioned Cornbread. The recipe is my grandmother's, and I honestly love this cornbread crumbled up in a bowl of pinto beans!
While our cornbread was baking, we made some homemade butter. The steps were easy even if we did cheat at the end and toss it into the food processor.
- Step 1: Add room temperature heavy cream to a jar with a lid.
- Step 2: Add salt or other add-ins like cinnamon, honey or garlic.
- Step 3: Shake the jar for about 15 minutes (or toss in a food processor)
- Step 4: Strain the butter or squeeze with your hands to remove the buttermilk.
- Step 5: Store butter and buttermilk separately in the refrigerator.
We also snacked on some "backwoods-hunter-staples" like beef jerky. And, as a nod to Billy's grandpa and his quarter sacks of candy, we also snacked on some of the old-fashioned candies mentioned in the book.
Where the Red Fern Grows Book Club Activities
Baking cornbread, shaking butter and chewing on beef jerky took up a large part of our book club, but we also added in a short nature hike. We headed out to a local pond with pencils and notebooks to write down or sketch what we saw. And, to our absolute delight, we startled a deer who ran across our path!
But the highlight of our Where the Red Fern Grows book club was my secret weapon... puppies! A relative's dog had just had puppies, and we were able to borrow a couple of them for the book club. Though they weren't redbone coonhounds, they were adorable, and we could pretend that they were Old Dan and Little Ann.
Where the Red Fern Grows Book Club Resources
Here are some of the resources we used during our recent literary study on Where the Red Fern Grows:
And don't miss out on our month-long literary study on this terrific book! It is a self-paced, child-led, online unit study that culminates in fun ideas for a fabulous party school book club.
In this course, Where the Red Fern Grows Online Book Club, we will read through the book and go on rabbit trails of discovery into history, nature, Ozark dialect, and more. We will find ways to learn by experiencing parts of the book through hands-on activities. And we will end with a party school that will be worth the hunt.
Take a sneak peek below.
Adding adventure to education in a Where The Red Fern Grows book club