Since car rides can equal torture for tweens forced to be a captive radio audience, why not let them listen to a program that’s both educational and entertaining?

The Backseat Book Club, a new segment on NPR’s All Things Considered, is an interactive reading program geared towards kids ages 9 to 14, that celebrates young adult literature, and provides a welcome change of pace for those kids usually forced to listen to their parents’ radio choices. Each month, a new book will be introduced, giving kids several weeks to read it, before they participate in an on-air discussion where they can share thoughts, comments and feedback with their fellow readers and listeners. The book’s author will also join the group, providing an opportunity for kids to ask him or her any questions they might have had while reading.

Past selections have included The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. This month’s pick is The Watsons go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis, so any kids interested in participating in the discussion, which will take place the week of January 17 at 4 p.m. EST on NPR, should pick up a copy and start reading today. Kids can also visit for more information and to send in their questions and comments to the show via e-mail.

--Kara Giannecchini, Family Circle intern