Monday, May 5, 2008

Mother Daughter Book Club Meeting #3

Summary: A landmark in children's literature, winner of the 1970 Newbery Medal, and the basis of an acclaimed film, Sounder traces the keen sorrow and the abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th-century South. The boy's father isa sharecropper, struggling to feed his family in hard times. Night after night, he and his great coon dog, Sounder, return to the cabin empty-handed. Then, one morning, almost like a miracle, a sweet-smelling ham is cooking in the family's kitchen. At last the family will have a good meal. But that night, an angry sheriff and his deputies come, and the boy's life will never be the same. -- harper collins

For our third Mother-Daughter Book Club discussion, we read SOUNDER by William H. Armstrong. I absolutely loved this book! Not only was the story wonderful, but the writing was amazing. While this was my favorite book that we've read so far, it's pretty safe to say that none of the girls appreciated it like I did. I'm afraid that they were a little young for the book -- the issues were very complex and some of the scenes were quite graphic. At their age, they seem to have a hard time enjoying a book if there are sad parts in it -- I think it's a very hard concept for them to grasp at this age that a book can be "good" without having a happy ending.

Most of the girls (ages 7 and 8) were pretty affected with some of the sadder parts of the book -- and there were some very sad parts. My daughter came downstairs after she finished it with very glassy eyes. When I asked her what was wrong, the tears started flowing as she described the book's ending. I know one of the other little girls didn't even make it past Chapter 2 without crying. The girls weren't the only ones who were upset -- I also teared up as I finished the book.

Even though they really didn't enjoy SOUNDER, they still amazed me with what they "took away" from this book. As we discussed the story, I found that they understood most of the major themes in the book. I usually try to find some discussion questions or make them up myself, but a few of the girls have started writing their own. I just love hearing the questions that they ask each other. They actually touched upon big-time issues during their discussion such as racial discrimination, poverty and illiteracy.

So far, we have been sticking to the books in the Mother Daughter Book Club Kit that I purchased at Costco last year. The past two selections have been extremely depressing for young girls, and one of the mothers suggested that we read something a little lighter. The girls tossed around some book ideas and decided that they want to read PIPPI LONGSTOCKING by Astrid Lindgren. I'm really hoping that all the girls find this a fun book and enjoy reading it.

We also decided that we're bagging the Mother Daughter Book Club kits. From now on, the girls will have some input into the book selections. Whoever is hosting the next month's meeting will suggest two book ideas, and the girls get to vote on which book they want to read. I hope this makes the girls feel like they have some say in what they want to read rather than getting assigned specific books. (It should also be very cute to see what they come up with.)


LisaMM said...

Hopefully you won't wind up with suggestions like "Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake" after reading books like Sounder and Sarah, Plain and Tall!!

Cindy Hudson said...

I agree that there are things to be learned from books that are sad, but there's also something to be said for having fun. And I think you can look for books that are fun to read and give you something to think about too.

Here are a few thoughts of things for the girls to check out:

Charlotte's Web and The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

Boy by Roald Dahl is great for when they get into 4th grade.

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo

Julie P. said...


Thanks for your suggestions! We were tossing around some Kate DiCamillo books as well as some American Girl books. Hopefully, the moms will help guide the girls to suggest some books like this to our meetings.