As parents we’re always looking for ways to get the kids off screens and keep their brains exercising. Check out how North Shore mom, Alison Stolberg, has done just that with a mother/daughter book club! Here is her step-by-step guide to curating your own, complete with a list of “tweenage” appropriate books!
“Summer Goals: Create Your Own Mother/Daughter Book Club”
– By Alison Stolberg
I finally received the email that I had been anticipating and dreading in equal amounts… Overnight camp was officially canceled for the entire summer. What the f*&%@ was I going to do with my kids? In addition to my full-time job as mom to ten year old twins, I’m a freelance graphic designer who loves to jump headfirst into a project. I’ll spend several blissful hours in front of my computer perfecting a design. Meanwhile my daughters had picked up the poor habit of playing copious amounts of Roblox mixed with sparse bike rides and non-stop snacking. Sound familiar? In an effort to introduce an educational activity we could enjoy together, I decided to form a mother/daughter book club!
Here’s how I started our Mother/Daughter book club:
Cast a wide net: I sent a quick text to about 15 mothers with daughters that go to school with my twins. Within minutes, the responses started coming in. “Love it.” “Great idea.” “I’m in!” As with many ideas that are initially met with enthusiasm, when the reality of reading the book set in, there were far fewer participants. Our club was established with 5 mother/daughter duos. I’ll take it!
Pick the book. But how? The task of selecting our first title proved challenging. I wanted something that would capture the interests of both mother and her ten year old daughter. I turned to an adorable Facebook page I’d recently discovered called Tween Titles. The page is curated by Glenview sisters and avid readers, Hallie (11) and LJ (9). The girls love sharing their opinions and book recommendations. With their help, my daughters and I chose The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen as our first book club selection.
And we’re on our way! Here’s what happened next:
Plan it! 6 weeks before the meeting: I sent a text to the club to secure the meeting date and time. With concerns of Coronavirus exposure, we opted to use Zoom. Yet, a social distance meeting outside would be a great way to enjoy a summer afternoon!
Read it – each day: My daughters and I set about reading. I often “assigned” a few chapters before bedtime or we’d take turns reading aloud during meals. When summer days at home seem endless, it’s nice to have something in common to discuss. *Tip: I’m an enthusiastic consumer of e-books who refuses to shell out money each week. The local library made it simple to download the book club selection on 3 separate devices at no charge!
Remind them – 3 days before the meeting: I sent an email to club members with a Zoom link and a list of questions my daughters and I had written to help facilitate a relaxed and entertaining discussion.
Day of – Morning of the meeting: To ensure good turnout, I fired off a text reminder about the meeting before my daughters and I practiced a “dry-run.” You may think this silly, but my kids loved it! We discussed who would make introductions, how the meeting would unfold and talked about problems that might arise.
Success! If you consider a 45 minute book discussion with ten year olds a win, then you’ll agree our meeting was a success! Throughout the planning experience, it was nice to see my children working together. I loved hearing their ideas and even coming up with inside jokes about the book’s characters. Although my girls haven’t logged anywhere near the same number of hours reading as they spend watching YouTube, it’s a start. With plans for another book club meeting next month, they have good reason to keep on reading! I hope I have inspired you to form your own book club albeit mother/daughter, mother/son, etc…❤️
Book titles from our aspirational summer reading list:
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
- Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
- Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord
- The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
- Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
- From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Fankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
For Alison’s contact info or to view her graphic design portfolio click here.