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Book Clubbing

November 2, 2009

All of a Kind Family

I got an email from another parent a few weeks ago alerting me to the fact that our girls and others had been discussing starting a book club.  What did I think, and was I willing to help run it, she asked.  I was thrilled.  I thought it was a great idea.  I was so happy that the girls wanted to read more and to talk about what they were reading. 

I’ve never been in a book club before (shocking I know) nor have I run one.  But I read – can there be more qualifications to head a discussion than that?

We talked a bit amongst ourselves about what books we might pick for the club.  We went back and forth between old classics and new books.  The advantage of the old classics is that we’ve already read them in most cases, and can bring the experience of reading them as a girl to our girls.  The new books might seem more exciting and relevant to the girls, but the parents aren’t going to be able to bring the same passion to them as we could to, say, Little House on the Prairie (do you know my girl has NOT read that book, or any other in the series???  Horror!) 

So when it came down to it, I knew there could only be one choice for my first book club book – All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor.  This series was one of my favorites growing up.  It’s the story of 5 girls growing up in a Jewish family on the lower east side of NYC.  I didn’t grow up Jewish, but I learned everything about Jewish traditions from these books.  Being an only child, the idea of sharing a bathroom and a single bedroom with 4 sisters didn’t seem so bad after reading about the adventures that Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie got into.  Imagine when the thrill of a week was the Friday trip to the library to get a new book for the week – these were simple days of basic pleasures.  Certainly we can convey a message to our about being grateful for the relative abundances that they have. 

Other books that I will be considering when it is my turn again are the Little House series and the Betsy-Tacy books – I adored the former growing up, but never read the latter.  I just got copies of the rereleased books and think the girls would really enjoy them. 

What books from your childhood are you sharing with the kids in your life?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. talesofanunfinishedmom permalink
    November 2, 2009 2:18 pm

    I AM actually shocked that you’ve never been in a book club! But, what a great thing to do. I know Debra H. has been in a mother daughter book club for years and loves it.

    All of a Kind Family looks like a beautiful story. I’m keeping that one in mind for when my daughter gets a bit older.

    I never read a book in the Little House series but have seen every single episode of Little House at least once. Does that count?

    Enjoy and can’t wait to hear how it all develops!

  2. November 2, 2009 2:56 pm

    Elizabeth Enright’s Melendy books (The Saturdays, Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, & Spiderweb for Two) are favourites from my childhood that have also been hits with my nieces.

  3. Debra Hunter permalink
    November 2, 2009 5:10 pm

    I started a mother-daughter book group two years ago, when there was trouble at school (mostly as the kids reacted to the suicide of one of the dads) and the principal suggested that we find ways to connect as parents. I’ve LOVED it, and can’t believe how much my now 13 year old daughter looks forward to our meetings. Some of the girls’ favorites have been War of The Worlds, The Westing Game, and The Diary of Anne Frank. Some of the things we’ve figured out over time are:

    — we take turns hosting and the current hosts have to bring in 2-4 book ideas for the next meeting, and then we vote on which to read the next month. The girls get two votes,and the moms one. That means the girls are a lot more committed.

    — we choose a book that none of the girls have read yet. That keeps everyone reading. Sometimes tough, since our girls are good readers.

    –the hosting girl comes up with questions for the group about the book we are discussing. They really enjoy this.

    –meetings work well on Sunday late afternoons,,,after all of the soccer games ahd other weekend activities.

    — we all meet for the first hour, then the girls run off and play/talk while the moms catch up. Conversations go from shopping for our daughter’s first bra, inappropriate plays staged at school, comparing notes on how much freedom to give our girls, and more.

    Blog more about this experience…I know we’ll all love reading about it!

  4. November 3, 2009 12:39 am

    All of a Kind Family is such a great choice! I loved the entire series. I’m about to reread it myself for the Shelf Discovery challenge:

  5. November 3, 2009 1:18 am

    All of a Kind Family is a great one to start with . Depending on the types of books the girls like and their reading level, I would also recommend The President’s Daughter/White, Half Magic/Eager, Charlotte Sometimes/Farmer (I know you love this as much as I do), The Wolves of Willoughby Chase/Aiken, Betsy-Tacy go Downtown, Ballet Shoes/Streatfeild, Helen Keller’s Teacher, Mine for Keeps/Little, The Phantom Tollbooth. Lots more if you need some. Happy to be your long distance consultant.

    I will be eager to hear how it goes.

  6. Debra Hunter permalink
    November 3, 2009 3:08 pm

    Great ideas above. Our girls didn’t much like Ballet Shoes, but the moms were fascinated by it.

  7. November 24, 2009 3:41 pm

    I know I am terribly vain, but I feel compelled to mention that I suggested All of a Kind Family when you were looking for summer reading for IT Girl to take to camp.

    OK, back to my humble mode. Oh, wait, I lost humble.

  8. Deb permalink
    January 7, 2010 11:24 am

    The Betsy-Tacy has a website and a chapter in New York!

  9. May 9, 2010 1:17 pm

    How has this project progressed? Any luck?

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