I recently ran a workshop for a group of local year 8 students to help them make connections and links between books, both the ones they “have” to read at school and those they are choosing to pick up outside the classroom.
At the end of the workshop, I left them with the choice of creating a 6 Degrees of Separation post or a set of book notes on a favourite book.
And if you’re a school-aged young reader or writer, then I want to also open up this opportunity to you.
Both the 6 Degrees of Separation activity and the book notes are designed to encourage you to make connections between different texts, as well as helping others to find new books to read.
6 Degrees of Separation
Six degrees of separation is the idea that we are only six connections away from an introduction to anyone else in the world. The term ‘six degrees of separation’ was originally inspired by Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy, who coined the phrase in his 1929 short story ‘Chains‘. It later became the title of a play and subsequent film based on the same idea.
Now, there is also a bookish version of 6 Degrees, currently hosted by Kate from booksaremyfavouriteandbest. Each month, Kate provides a starting title, and those of us who are participating make links to six other books in any random way our mind chooses to make connections. However, if you’re a young writer, I’m suggesting a new version. Use a favourite book you’ve read recently as your starting point and start from there.
If you would like some examples for ideas of how to make those links, you can check my last couple of 6 Degrees chains to see how I’ve done it, including 6 Degrees of Separation: From Beezus and Ramona to Detention.
Other examples include 6 Degrees of Separation: From Shuggie Bain to Munjed Al Muderis and 6 Degrees of Separation: From Phosphorescence to When We Say Black Lives Matter, both of which contain books young readers might enjoy.
The book notes include:
- a brief review (only about 150 words). The review needs to convey the essence of what the book is about without giving any spoilers or simply retelling the plot. It should also indicate something about why you liked it and why you would recommend it to others
- a few discussion questions to help others think more deeply about the book
- links to other texts that are connected in some way, whether that be via genre, subject matter, point-of-view, themes, historical time frame etc.
My first set of book notes are based on Barry Jonsberg’s new novel, Catch Me if I Fall, so you can check that post out to get an idea of what I’m asking you to do.
The Challenge if You Choose to Accept It
1. Choose a book you have recently read and would recommend to someone else.
2. Create a 6 Degrees of Separation post or write a set of book notes based on your book.
3. Send me a message via the contact form on my website with a copy of your 6 Degrees of Separation or book notes.
4. I will then email you to let you know whether your work has been accepted to be published on my blog. This may include suggestions for further editing to prepare it for publication. Preference will be given to work supporting Australian authors, but this doesn’t exclude books by overseas writers. This will depend on how many submissions I receive and the quality of the work submitted.
There is no deadline as it is something I hope can continue throughout the year as a regular monthly post.
Please get in touch if you have any questions.
Over to You
What book will you recommend to others? And will you choose a 6 Degrees of Separation post or a set of book notes to do it?
I look forward to hearing from you.