Q&A with Cindy Hudson discussion

Starting Mother-Daughter Book Clubs

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message 1: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
I would like to begin this topic on starting mother-daughter book clubs with a few reasons why you might want to get one going.

In my own experience, and while talking with other moms to research my book, I found many different personal reasons for getting a reading group going, but many of them fell into a few broad categories:

Book clubs allow moms a way to stay closer to her daughter as she grows.

They help moms and daughters connect socially with people in their community.

They promote literacy in general.

These are all big issues, but today I'll focus on literacy since it's National Family Literacy Day.

In a survey a few years back Scholastic found that kids who say they read for fun also consider themselves to be successful in school. Yet reading for fun begins to drop off significantly after age 9! There are many reasons, including increased homework and more scheduled activities, but I believe mother-daughter book clubs can help counteract the trend.

Meeting over dinner or snacks with friends once a month or so to talk about a book is fun! Over the months and years a group is together they can also read a significant amount of important literature.

Just the other day my youngest daughter and I were in Powell's bookstore scanning the recommendations in the young adult section. We were amazed to discover we had already read a lot of the titles either in book club or as a result of someone in book club recommending it to us. My daughter really felt a sense of accomplishment about it. So did I.

message 2: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
Moms often wonder how old their daughters need to be for them to start a mother-daughter book club. If there is an ideal age, then it's 9. Girls that age are often accomplished at reading and they can formulate their thoughts well enough to participate in a group discussion that goes pretty in-depth. They also usually like doing things with their moms.

However, almost any age from 5 up works if both mom and daughter really want it to. If you want to get started when your daughter is really young, you may just want to structure your group like reading time at the library, where you read a picture book aloud during meeting time then talk about it. Then you can play a game or make a food that might match the book.

And if your daughter is in middle school or high school? Jump on it if she wants to be in a reading group with you. You can talk about so many things she's unlikely to open up to you about in her personal life merely by reading about the same things. It's just easier to talk about characters in a book and what they are going through than it is to talk about your own personal situation.

message 3: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
How many people do you want in your mother-daughter book club? Think about a few things before you answer the question.

1. If you want to have a good discussion you need to have enough people to generate variety. That's usually at least 6 or three mom-daughter pairs.
2. If you're meeting in your home you want to comfortably accommodate everyone when you get together.
3. Medium-sized groups (5 to 6 mom-daughter pairs)are usually the hardest to schedule. Smaller groups deal with fewer calendars to coordinate. Larger groups don't usually expect everyone to attend every time.

Also think about whether you're open to new members joining any time someone asks, if you want to put a cap on the number of members in your group, and how comfortable you and your daughter are in large and small groups.

message 4: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
There are lots of ways to choose books for your mother-daughter book club; you just want to be sure everyone in your group agrees on how it will be done.

For some, it's really important to let the girls choose every selection. They find this is the easiest way to make sure the girls will read the book. Of course, not all girls in your group will enjoy reading the same type of books, and you're more likely to have pop culture books recommended by the girls' friends this way.

Some groups have only the moms choose. While this can work, I think it gets more difficult to do it this way as the girls grow and want to branch out from the books their moms are finding.

In my groups, we tended to have moms and girls choose together, and we rotated each month.

You can also pick books by consensus, with everybody bringing one or two books for consideration, and then the group votes. I know of several groups who list recommended books, put the titles on slips of paper, then draw slips to determine which book they will read. You can even set up your whole year like this if you go that route.

There is no right or wrong answer. The most important thing is to talk about how you'll choose books and decide as a group how you'll proceed.

message 5: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Saunders | 5 comments I enjoyed the range of books that came out of Mother-Daughter pairs chosing together in our group. And because each pair is different, we ended up reading books we never would have been drawn to on our own. We usually enjoyed having our comfort zone stretched!

message 6: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hudson (motherdaughterbookclubcom) | 25 comments Mod
I've always found the social interaction part of book club to be a crucial component of a meeting. People usually need to reconnect and warm up with each other before they launch into a discussion about a book.

I've also found that separating the two generations during social time is pretty important. Why? Moms get to talk with other moms about things that are important to them and maybe get advice if they need it. Girls get to talk about school or activities or other friendships that may be on their minds.

Each group, girls and moms, will probably also talk a bit about the book you've read even before you get to the discussion part of your meeting. This is okay too, and it gets everyone remembering details and thinking about points to bring up when you do all come together.

message 7: by Ellen (last edited Nov 19, 2010 12:17PM) (new)

Ellen Saunders | 5 comments Hi again,
This is an interesting point and brings up one the most important benefits of Mother Daughter book clubs for me... developing a circle of women who are there for one another far beyond the book discussion.

I find in today's world - where families are far flung and people lead stressful busy lives - the importance of being part of a circle of women is a wonderful thing. Especially for the moms, as you get to know each other over dinner and during discussions, you bond and connect with each other.

When someone in the group is having a rough time in life, it is good to know you can turn to each other... sometimes those friendships are hard to find and to nurture without some kind of structure as we all go running around in different directions. Book club meetings provide that structure for the magic of friendship to develop.

message 8: by Terry (new)

Terry Johnson | 4 comments Great point, Ellen. And beautifully said.

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