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Written by:  Cindy Hudson
Date: March 1, 2012

You snuggle with your daughter to read a good book. Now imagine getting together with friends later to talk about what you read, maybe play a game or make a bookmark, and have something good to eat. That's what a mother-daughter book club is all about.

These reading groups are lots of fun, but they also offer a few other benefits, such as helping you stay connected to your daughter as she grows, forming a bond with others in your community, and helping your daughter love reading, an important part of overall literacy.

With a little bit of thought and planning, you could have a book club ready to go in no time. Here are six steps to get you started.

1.  Make sure your daughter is ready for a book club. The ideal age is about 8 or 9. At this age, girls enjoy spending time with their moms, and they like being with their friends, too. Start earlier if your daughter shows an interest, and it's never to late to get going.

2. Think about how big you would like your group to be. Are you more comfortable in a crowd, or do you prefer more intimate gatherings? Larger groups can be more open, with new people invited to join all the time. Meetings may be at a fixed time for whoever's available to attend. Smaller groups provide more time for each person to talk during discussion, and fewer people means fewer schedules to consult when you're choosing your next meeting date.

3. Consider whom you want to invite. Start by asking one other mom and daughter you feel close to, and then ask them to invite others to join. You could also tap members of a school class, Girl Scout troop or religious group. You'll probably want to define a few expectations. For instance, everyone in the group should know that since it's a mother-daughter book club, mothers and daughters should both plan to attend meetings and read the books.

4. Decide where you'll gather on a regular basis. Will you trade off going to each other's homes? Will you meet at a library or in a bookstore? Consider, too, whether you want to serve a meal or snacks at a meeting.

5. Talk about choosing books. You can let the girls decide what to read or let moms and daughters select titles together, but I don't recommend having the moms alone choose. It's important for girls to know they have a voice in the process, and they're not just reading what their moms think they should read. Other ideas that may help you choose books include picking a theme, focusing on a genre, reading from book lists (i.e., award winners) and getting recommendations from librarians or booksellers.

6. Talk about what you'd like to do when you get together. You'll definitely want to include time for socializing in addition to discussing the book. You may also want to consider playing games or making book-related crafts. It all depends on how much energy your book club members want to put into planning the meetings.

Find more ideas and recommendations for book clubs at www.motherdaughter bookclub.com

Cindy Hudson is the author of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs (Seal Press, $16.95).


Can't-miss titles to get your book club started

  •    Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald (HarperCollins, $15.99) Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle can treat any ailment a child has, and her cures are sure to tickle the funny bones of girls and moms alike.
  •    Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins (Charlesbridge Publishing, $14.95) This is a gentle story of a young girl who longs to use her talent at painting to help her poor family in Bangladesh.
  •    The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White (HarperCollins, $16.99) Louis sets out to prove that even though he doesn't have a voice like the rest of his family, he can still make beautiful music and be a good friend.
  •    A True Princess by Diane Zahler (HarperCollins, $15.99) Several tales — The Princess and the Pea and old Norse legends — are combined to weave a delightful story of self-discovery.
  •    Masterpiece by Elise Broach (Square Fish, $7.99) A great friendship between a boy named James and a beetle named Marvin develops when the two bond over artwork. Together they set about to solve the mystery of who stole a masterpiece from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  •    The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick (Aladdin, $6.99) Megan, Jess, Cassidy and Emma can't believe their moms signed them up for a book club together; they're not even sure they like each other. But as they read and talk about Little Women, they get to know each other beyond the image they each have at school.



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