Officer Bonkiewicz’s Book Club
Lincoln Police Officer Luke Bonkiewicz has faced scary situations on the job. Yet he was frankly a little spooked reading sections of “The Raft,” a book about a 15-year-old girl fighting to stay alive on a flimsy raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
“This was one of the most terrifying books I’ve read in a long time. I’d rather spend a night in a haunted house,” Bonkiewicz said to a group of seventh- and eighth-graders at Mickle Middle School on Wednesday.
He was visiting teacher Stephanie Malone’s Reading Elements class for a book discussion about “The Raft,” a novel in the young adult genre by author S.A. Bodeen. Bonkiewicz visited two Mickle classes this week as part of this new program, in which teachers can email him, suggest a book to read and request that he visit their class for a follow-up discussion - or book review, as he calls it. He also brings pizza.
“Reading and discussing a book brings people from all walks of life together. It allows us to share our experiences and perspectives through the lens of the book and its characters,” he said. “True, reading is important, but connecting with kids and hearing what they have to say is also vital. We hope this project encourages kids - and people of all ages - to read, broaden their horizons and connect with people in their community.”
Malone’s students were fully engaged in their hour-long discussion about “The Raft.” They talked about a wide range of topics: their initial reaction to the book; its central themes; how they felt about the surprise ending (no spoilers!); and examples of how they have faced and overcome challenges in their lives. The consensus review of this book: A hearty thumbs up.
Malone said Bonkiewicz's visit had a true impact on her class.
"Tremendous power exists when schools and community partner together. His book review was a remarkable literacy experience for my students,” she said. “Students need opportunities that encourage talk, and ones that get them excited to read - and that's what yesterday represented."
Published: April 25, 2019, Updated: April 25, 2019