I have a fabulous friend, Jamie who helped her daughter start a mother daughter book club this year. The idea was her daughter’s, but Jamie was willing and able to help facilitate the group. The girls, all rising fourth graders, with help from their moms nominate three books for consideration. The girls then vote on which book to read next. Each girl was given a journal to write down questions they might have while reading the selected book. These journals organically shifted to become more of a diary for their thoughts while reading. The mom’s read the book along with their daughters’, and may help facilitate discussion if needed. Because they are reading along and discussing the books with their kids, the mom’s feel open to books that tackle big issues: death, not so perfect parents, different types of families, etc.
As a mom who frequently uses books as a segue way into tough issues with my own kids, I love the idea of a parent child book club. Some of the immediate benefits that Jamie has seen in the girls are advanced communication skills and confidence in their own voice. On top of that, the girls have added two new trusted adults to their circle.
Their first book was Bounce by Meghan Shull.
From the publisher
The author of The Swap, which is now a Disney Channel Original Movie, delivers another hilarious, heartwarming, and empowering story about a girl who relives the same day over and over again—each time as someone new. Megan Shull’s new novel is perfect for fans of Wendy Mass, Holly Goldberg Sloan, and Meg Cabot.
Seventh grader Frannie Hudson wonders what it would be like to trade in her family for a new one. Her big brother ignores her. Her mean older sister can’t stand her. And her parents have just announced they’re going on a last-minute vacation—without her.
When Frannie makes one desperate, crazy wish—BOOM!—she magically bounces into a whole new life, with a totally different family. And. It. Is. Amazing! There’s only one catch: waking up as someone else keeps happening. Plunged into lives and adventures she’s only imagined—from being a pop star to meeting one super-cute boy—Frannie finds courage in the unforgettable friends and families she meets along the way. But as her new life spins out of control, Frannie begins to worry if she’ll ever get back home.
A celebration of the power of love and connection, Megan Shull’s extraordinary new novel captures one girl’s journey to find her voice, heal her heart, and discover the joy of bouncing back.
I have read several books this summer that I would suggest to Jamie as great choices for their next mother daughter book club. All of these books are geared towards the middle grades, are fiction, and tackle tough issues with heart.
In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll
From the publisher
For fans of Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Jack Cheng’s See You in the Cosmos, and Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe, In Darkling Wood is a spine-tingling novel with a forthright, modern heroine and more than a hint of mystery and magic.
When Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother’s Nell’s house, there’s nothing good about it, except the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of the garden—but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace. She even finds a friend, a girl named Flo. But Flo doesn’t go to the local school, and no one in town has heard of her. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder: what is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?
Posted by John David Anderson
From Kirkus Reviews
When online bullying crosses over into real life, Eric and his friends do their best to stay out of the cloud of meanness, but it’s a big one.
When cellphones are banned from Branton Middle School, the student population is thrown into a frenzy, which only increases when kids find a new way of communicating throughout the day—Post-it notes. It turns out, the Post-it notes can be even crueler than social media updates, and everyone is affected, including Eric (known as Frost due to a poetry contest won in fifth grade) and his friends. Perhaps no one is more affected than Rose, a large, white new girl who clicks well with Frost’s crew—all also white, save Indian-American Deedee. In fact, she turns out to be the catalyst for positive change the school really needs. Bursting with authentic challenges and solutions both familiar and revolutionary to any kid enduring middle school, this book manages the difficult feat of providing an anti-bullying message without alienating or boring the population that message is for. The characters, both adult and teen, are vivid, flawed, and approachable. Anderson dives into the world of middle school with a clear sense of how it works and what it needs.
Kids, and the rest of the world, need more books like this one. (Fiction. 10-14)
Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
From the publisher
In this unforgettable multicultural coming-of-age narrative—based on the author’s childhood in the 1960s—a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed. Ruthie’s plight will intrigue readers, and her powerful story of strength and resilience, full of color, light, and poignancy, will stay with them for a long time.
Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.
Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
From the publisher
Lisa Thompson’s debut novel is a page-turning mystery with an emotionally-driven, complex character study at its core — like Rear Window meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac. When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive.
Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life, but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?
I have included the links to other resources regarding Mother Daughter Book Clubs, in case Jamie’s success has inspired you to start one of your own!