Monday, March 31, 2008

March Mom Daughter Book Club Meeting

I may be a little biased, but I think we had another wonderful meeting of our Mother Daughter Book Club. This month, we read and discussed LIFE IN HIDING: ANNE FRANK by Johanna Hurwitz. I was really looking forward to reading this book because it was an age appropriate story (for 8 year olds) about Anne Frank and her diary. I remember being fascinated by Anne's story when I was younger; and I was excited about introducing the story and sharing it with my daughter.

A few days ago, one of the moms called me to warn me that the first chapter covered a lot of information on Hitler and the persecution of the Jewish people. I kind of figured that the book would have to mention this information as background, but I guess I wasn't prepared for the amount and type of questions that our 8 year old daughters would ask. I was very proud of my daughter for asking these questions and wanting to understand what happened, but I have to admit that I found it very difficult to explain this horrific part of history to a child -- I hope I did it justice. I still find it hard to believe that something this horrendous was allowed to happen, so I can't imagine how hard it is for an 8 year old to process all of this information.

I was a little worried about what direction our discussion would take, but the girls were extremely interested in talking about Anne -- thank goodness! Two (out of four) of the girls said that they didn't like the book because Anne died. I wasn't surprised by this, but I hope we were able to explain that a book can still be worth reading even if we don't always like how it ends. Once again this month, some of the girls came up with a list of questions to discuss. I don't think I will ever stop being amazed at the questions these little girls can come up with. They discussed whether they would be willing to risk their lives to hide a friend; and they all talked about what they have in common with Anne.

I was impressed that the girls' discusssion lasted for over a half hour. They really did a great job of talking amongst themselves about the book. In fact, they got frustrated that the moms talked too much about other things and didn't stay focused. Well now! I guess I better just let them run the meeting next month!

Our next book that we will be discussing is SOUNDER by William H. Armstrong. SOUNDER is the winner of the 1970 Newberry Medal and the story of a poor African-American boy in the 19-century South. I don't know how I managed to miss this book growing up, but I'm glad that I now have the chance to read it with my daughter.


Andi said...

I'm so glad to hear that you and the girls in your group could discuss Anne's life so well. I'm using her Diary in one of my college English classes next fall, and I'm a bit worried that I'll have to be stoking the conversation. I'm going to hope they can talk as articulately as the daughters in your group can. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am going to refer to your blog once my daughter is book club ready (she is almost six and in kindergarten, so I'm thinking when she starts 2nd grade might be a good time). I just read Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt myself (and will be posting a review of it soon) and it might be an interesting choice for your group. There is a bit of violence, but nothing any eight year old that's read Harry Potter hasn't heard before.

Julie P. said...

Thanks so much for your comment. It means so much to me if something I do on this blog can help share my love of books! I know it's still 1 1/2 years away, but I can't wait to hear about your mom/daughter book club. It's just so exciting to have these little girls discussing themes about books and their feelings and ideas!

Dewey said...

Ooh, such good books your club chooses! Now I want to reread Sounder.