Mother-Daughter Book Club: Building Reading Skills and Relationships

When schools closed in mid-spring, “summertime” began.  Now that the calendar tells us that summer is actually here, many of us are exhausted and longing for an overdue vacation—but due to the reality of our ongoing social situation, there might be fewer getaway options this year. 

My daughter Lauren in 1997

French novelist Marcel Proust said: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” Hmmmmmm….maybe he’s on to something…something hiding in plain sight.  Maybe if lounging on a warm and wonderful white sand beach isn’t in the stars, an invitation to refocus on what we can do might be just the ticket. Learning to find the possible in our often cluttered lives is still worth cultivating. In 1997, I found a book called The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Shireen Dodson.  While thumbing through her book, a sentence from the introduction grabbed me: 

…It’s surprising what emerges from your children when you slow down from the hustle and bustle of the usual school and extracurricular routines, step back, look, and listen. I am amazed at how much we can discuss in the absence of normal everyday interruptions…

Without reading anything else (while in the store) I bought the book. Within a few weeks, my daughter and I began our own mother-daughter book club. Our intention was to invite a few like-minded friends to a monthly discussion about a pre-selected book.  A marvelous unexpected benefit of our club was that we regularly got together with people we enjoyed to discuss a particular book, and we ended up enjoying the camaraderie and out-of-school connections just as much. Relationships became the heart and soul of this group.

Our first book choice was The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes—a story that has never been out of print because its message is as urgent today as it was when it was first written. 

Jessica, a friend from our book club

After ten years Dodson’s manual was updated. It still includes everything from how to organize a club, to an extensive book list, to the specifics of leading a discussion, and every other little thing.

With today’s unique circumstances and challenges the material may yet require another more personal revision…taking into account current challenges with gathering. Decisions will need to be made regarding in-person groups, or if necessary how to meet virtually.  Other boundaries can be considered by the participants.…Regardless, your book club can reflect the personalities and needs of those who make up the membership. 

Please leave a comment if you like this idea, and if you think you’re going to give it a go.  After it’s up and running in a way that works for you, please check back in to let us know the details—things you’ve done, things you’ve learned, etc.

You can find the revised version of The Mother-Daughter Book Club on Amazon.

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