The Eden Prairie Library Daughter/Mother Book Club meets once a week for five weeks during the summer. The book club is for girls entering grades 4-6 and their mothers or other female adults. Some mothers and daughters have participated several summers. The group reads books from a variety of genres with strong female characters and most of the books are written by female authors.
What book by a woman recently sparked a great discussion? Why? "Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio," written by Minnesota native Peg Kehret. We discussed polio and family members who have dealt with the disease. The concepts of a major polio epidemic-where people had to avoid public gathering places and sometimes had to spend their life in an iron lung-were new to the girls.
What books and authors would your group recommend? Why? "Esperanza Rising" by Pam Munoz Ryan, "The Music of Dolphins" by Karen Hesse and "A Crooked Kind of Perfect" by Linda Urban. These books deal with themes of immigration, being responsible for your own destiny and making the most of life even when circumstances aren't perfect.
What questions have you discovered that incite the best discussion? While we do have some "starter questions"-such as "Who was your favorite character?" "What was your favorite part of the book?" "Did anything seem unbelievable or fake to you?"-the best questions are those the group comes up with themselves.
What tips could you share with other groups? Start each session with an ice breaker to help everyone feel comfortable in the group. Invite everyone's participation by having the group members write discussion questions. Besides just talking about the book, incorporate some fun, supplemental activities.
FFI: For more tips on forming a group, choosing books, writing discussion questions, and offering ice breakers and supplemental activities, check out "Lead Book Clubs for Kids & Teens," found on the Hennepin County Library website: www.hclib.org/pub/bookspace/BookClubsKid.cfm
The Eden Prairie Library has offered a daughter-mother group since 1999. Registration for 12 daughter-mother pairs begins in May for meetings in June and July.