This month, the Read Around the World book club for 3rd through 5th graders read and discussed the book Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner. (The book is available on hoopla as an eBook.) This is a delightful romp through 1920s Berlin with a bunch of boys who are determined to get back the money stolen from a boy named Emil. They have tracked the thief all over town and come up with a plan to make him give it back! It’s a fast, fun read that features a lot of clever, brave characters. We had fun discussing some of the themes, like:

  • Kids vs. adults–how kids get the power back from a mean adult!
  • Is it wrong to steal something back that was stolen from you?
  • Do kids get enough respect?
  • What kind of kid is Emil? Is he a good son?
  • If someone steals from you, what should you do? Should you handle it, or involve an adult?

I created slides to make it easier to see the questions visually this time, rather than just asking the questions verbally.


But before we did that, we learned a bit of German and we took a virtual tour of Berlin. We learned the following German words:

  • Hallo (hello)
  • Guten Tag (good day, hello (formal))
  • Bitte (Please)
  • Danke (Thank you)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • Deutschland (Germany)
  • Auf wiedersehen (goodbye (formal))
  • Tschüss (Bye!)
  • Fahrt (trip, journey)
  • Gute fahrt! (Drive safe! Have a nice trip!)

I’m a kid at heart… I had to include those last two. We had such a good laugh over that! FAHRT!

Then we watched this video of touring around Berlin:


And we watched a Führerstandsmitfahrt (a driver’s cab view film) of a Berlin train:


I enjoyed our discussion today very much! I hope you guys can join us for the next one.

Our next meeting will be in Zoom, and we’ll be meeting on Friday, August 21 at 3 pm. We’ll be discussing the book The Great Cake Mystery by Alexander McCall Smith! You can put a hold on one of our physical book or audiobook copies and use curbside pickup to get it. Or you can get it on Cloud Library or Overdrive.

I hope to see you all in August!