Want to dig into literature and spend special time with your daughter? Start a mother-daughter book club!
Guest Post by Erika Castiglione
I was thrilled when one of my daughter’s friends told me she had chosen my debut novel, The Hopper-Hill Family, for her monthly mother-daughter book club. She also invited my 12-year-old daughter and me to attend as guests the night they chose to discuss the book.
I had a great time as a new author (I still feel like I’m role-playing when someone asks me to sign a book), as a booklover (what could be better than a night spent discussing books?), and as a mother (I treasure time with my daughter and literature is a natural bridge to topics that she and her friends are facing).
Here are a few tips to help you start your own similar club:
1. With your daughter, cast a vision for your book club.
There are a number of reasons to have a mother-daughter book club and a number of models to follow, but one club can’t meet every criteria.
Do you want your club to be an intimate gathering with only your daughter’s closest friends or do you want the club to be an opportunity to reach out to your neighbors?
Do you want to keep things simple—just discuss the book and maybe provide a light snack—or would you like to incorporate the theme of the book into the night by adding a craft or snack directly related to the book (perhaps making maple syrup snow candy while reading one of the Little House on the Prairie books)?
2. Consider one of these titles to get started.
You will have to choose the first book the club reads. Once the club is up and running, you will probably have more book suggestions than you can manage, but if you need some inspiration to get going, here are some of my favorites for girls between the ages of 10-14:
- If you are interested in historical fiction, you might want to try Blue by Joyce Moyer Hostetter.
- If you’d like to revisit a classic, Anne of Green Gables is a great choice and it lends itself well to a fun themed night.
- If you would like to explore a biography, Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton should really get the girls talking.
- If your group enjoys contemporary fiction, I would like to recommend The Hopper-Hill Family.
(Here is a complete list of middle grade books I recommend. You can find discussion questions designed to guide book clubs for almost all of these books online.)
3. Nail down the specifics.
Once you have a vision for your mother-daughter book club and a book selected for your first meeting, decide how often you will meet and when you will meet. I suggest starting with every other month. Decide if you will host each time or if you will rotate houses.
Remind everyone to finish reading the book before the meeting and decide how you will choose books in the future. It’s also a good idea to have a loose schedule for the evening (of course, rabbit trails are to be expected).
Once you’ve nailed down the specifics, it’s time to step out in faith and start inviting. Don’t worry if the group is small at first, three mother-daughter pairs is definitely enough for lively conversation and you might be surprised at how the group grows over time.
It might also take time for the girls and their mothers to open up, but that’s okay. The important thing is that you are reading, bonding, and having fun.
Have you ever been part of a book club? What book would you like to share with your daughter?
Erika Castiglione teaches English as a Second Language in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she currently resides with her husband, her daughter, and her two sons. She graduated from Auburn University in 1998. Since that time, she has also lived in China, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Her debut young adult novel The Hopper-Hill Family is a story of loss, discovery, and the beauty and complexity of familial love.