Recently, my daughter has started to carry an additional backpack to school – one of those square, drawstring, logo-laden bags that one can often acquire at an event. When asked what she carries in it, she replied, “My book club books!” Here is how the discussion went:
Me: “What does it mean to have book club?”
Her: “Me and Elle read and talk about books.” (Said with some disdain.)
Me: “When do you do book club?”
Her: “At recess.”
Me: “You take the library books outside?”
Her: “Only when it is nice out, we haven’t had book club in a while.”
Luckily for her, she has found special friends who share her love of reading. They are at such a wonderful age where they are still so proud of their ability to read on their own and to share the best stories with their friends.
These are some of the books recommended and discussed by the second grade girls (and also by this mom!):
- We had a friend from out-of-town for the night. After a day of skiing and a few weeks since they last played, they got home and crawled into their beds to read. Her friend could not put down Smile – the graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier (she has made the Baby-Sitters Club into a graphic novel too!)
- I read the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis with her (I forgot how amazing they are). Since then, we have been trying to find a good series we could read together. In the library, we ran into a friend who suggested The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer (Kurt from the TV show Glee). My daughter loved the stories that bring together all the fairy tales, but sadly for me, she preferred to read them to herself. The hunt for a shared book ended (for now) with The Martian by Andy Weir. A friend with a 10-year-old boy read it with her son, and they all enjoyed the combination of science, space, and story. Good for an adult to read aloud and edit for language!
- In her school book club, the girls have decided on the American Girls series. I’m not sure these are books my daughter would have chosen on her own, but isn’t that best part of book club?
I worry about the day when book clubs are no longer cool (until much later in life, of course!) and hope that these connections made through books endure. I have been thinking about how to capitalize on interest in book clubs.
- She and I did participate in a Family Book Club at school. The librarian picked three books at various levels about Champ (Lake Champlain’s Loch Ness monster). One evening we had dinner at school and met in groups to discuss the books – we read Jim Arnosky’s Little Champ.
- CLiF schools have enjoyed One Book, One School – the ultimate book club. Schools have used The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and planned grade-level appropriate programming around the books.
- Another CLiF school hosted an overnight Readathon. Kids counted the hours and mixed it in with activities and snacks and the special treat of a sleep over in school. Maybe this will spark book club activities.
However, the most important reminder that all parents need is that our kids model so much of their behavior on what they see in us. I love my own book group, because I like the reason to get together, the books I might not pick up on my own, and the chance to learn more about people through sharing the stories. When my next turn comes to pick our book, I think I will try for mother/child choice – an idea for which I can thank my daughter’s book club.