I am extremely excited to welcome Cindy Hudson, author of the new book BOOK BY BOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUBS to Booking Mama's Book Club Exchange. I have been a regular follower of Cindy's blog for quite awhile, and I also enjoy visiting her website Mother Daughter Book Club.com. Both sites are incredibly valuable resources for mother-daughter book clubs, and I recommend checking them out if you aren't already familiar with them.
When Cindy contacted me last year and told me that she was writing a book geared towards mother-daughter book clubs, I had a feeling that it was going to be a fantastic resource! I'm happy to say that I just finished reading it, and I was very impressed -- I will post my review in a few days as part of my Mother-Daughter Book Club Festival. BOOK BY BOOK is an absolute must-read for anyone considering starting a mother-daughter book club (or really anyone who is currently in one.) I absolutely loved it -- of course, it didn't hurt that I was quoted a few times in it!
I especially love Cindy's guest post because I think it is one that most members of a book club can relate to -- selecting the right book. It is always difficult to pick a book that's ideal for everyone in your group especially when it crosses generations like it does in mother-daughter book clubs. As you'll see in her essay, Cindy offers some wonderful (and practical) advice.
You would think that choosing books for my book clubs would be easy for me. After all, I’m in two long-running mother-daughter book clubs—one that’s been meeting for eight years and the other for five—and I blog about books at motherdaughterbookclub.wordpress.com. Yet deciding what everyone else is going to read for the next book club selection can sometimes be paralyzing. I want to find the perfect book, the one that will appeal to both the moms and girls in my group. The one my daughter will want to read as much as I do. The one we’ll call our favorite for years to come.
That’s a pretty tall order. Especially when you’re choosing books that will appeal to two generations. The good news is that there are a lot of books out there that are good reads for both the older and the younger set. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for them.
Give both your daughter and yourself veto power. Do either of you believe a book will be of no interest to your peers? It probably isn’t a good choice.
The best books for widely varying age groups will have layers. By this I mean the girls will be able to grasp themes that resonate with them based on their ages, while the moms may be able to pick up deeper themes at work.
Timeless themes can be attractive for everyone from ages four to 94. Friendship, family relationships, honor, self-reliance, moral dilemmas, and love are some of the issues most of us deal with at some point in our lives. It can be helpful to see how characters in a book deal with those same issues.
Books that you take “guilty pleasure” in reading are probably not good choices for a reading group. These tend to be pop-culture books that are fun to read but don’t offer much to talk about.
Find a good professional to rely on. Children’s librarians both at school and your local library are good sources of book recommendations. Use them often and they will get to know which titles are successful with your group.
It’s okay if you don’t love the book you or others pick. There have been few books my clubs have read over the years that everyone liked. You can learn to appreciate elements of a story that doesn’t appeal to you when you know it will resonate with others in your group.
Here are a few recommendations for successful intergenerational titles culled from my clubs’ book lists and from other clubs who write in to me at my blog. Other books by these authors are a good bet too.
7 and 8 year olds
Charlotte’s Web—E. B. White
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing—Judy Blume
The Year of Miss Agnes—Kirkpatrick Hill
9 and 10 year olds
Because of Winn-Dixie—Kate DiCamillo
The Hermit Thrush Sings—Susan Butler
11 through 13 year olds
Al Capone Does My Shirts—Gennifer Choldenko
A Year Down Yonder—Richard Peck
Framed—Frank Cottrell Boyce
14+ year olds
A Northern Light—Jennifer Donnelly
The Book Thief—Markus Zusak
Cindy Hudson is the author of BOOK BY BOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUBS (Seal Press, October 2009). She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two daughters. Visit her online at www.MotherDaughterBookClub.com and www.MotherDaughterBookClub.wordpress.com.
And now for the Mother-Daughter Book Club Festival giveaway!!!!
Cindy has graciously offered to giveaway two copies of her new book BOOK BY BOOK to two lucky winners. And remember how much I enjoyed THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB by Heather Vogel Frederick (you can read my review here)? Well, Heather has offered up ten sets of THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB series (THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE, and DEAR PEN PAL) to two lucky winners -- that's five sets of three books each. That means that two of you will win five sets of THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB series plus a copy of BOOK BY BOOK. What a fantastic opportunity for someone who is currently in a mother-daughter book club or thinking about starting one!
To enter this fabulous giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment after this post with your e-mail address. To double or triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post. This contest is open until Monday, November 2nd at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winners the following day! This contest is open to those of you in the United States or Canada only. Good luck!