The 4 G's book club

July 4, 2008 4:50:14 PM PDT
From one little girl and one idea came a children's book club that's bigger than anyone imagined. It was inspired by another very well-known book club.The book club and a unique book store in Teaneck, New Jersey are the brainchild of Marcia Gailes, who is now 14.

"It all started when I was 8 years old and my teachers, well actually the principal at our school, had cut out our reading time," she said. "And I was very upset because that was the time I got to enjoy myself, relax."

So Marcia went home, told her mom what happened, then turned on the television, where she saw a segment featuring a very well-known book club.

"I was like, mom, you see Oprah's on TV with her book club," she said. "She's announcing a new book. I can do it too."

She called some friends, and started the Gorgeous Girls and Gifted Guys book club, also known as the 4 G's.

Marcia says it's grown to 500 members, ages 7 to 17. Groups meet monthly. Adult volunteers facilitate. About 80 members are boys.

"I like that it teaches you things," book club member Joseph Thomas said. "It really keeps your mind, it keeps you educated."

Chapters are as far away as Honduras and Zambia, and as close as Bergen, Essex and Passaic counties in New Jersey.

"It made me a little more vocal and it made me actually analyze books more than I would've," book club member Misha Inniss-Chompsom

There's also a Web site. And the Children's Bookstore and Cafe opened in April, managed by Marcia's mom.

"I thought it was just going to be the six little girls sitting around our dining room table every Friday evening reading a book, enjoying each other's company," Mamie Gailes said. "But then, next thing I know, within a year later, we exploded."

The club and the store are non-profit. Members do pay a $25 sign-up fee. They get a book bag, a dictionary, a T-shirt and a journal.

"The lesson I've learned from Marcia is it's OK to dream," Mamie said.

"I just want to continue opening up a book store each year in different places until we get them all over the country and all over the world," Marcia said.

For more information on the book club, visit


STORY BY: Education reporter Art McFarland