Nora St. Laurent
three book clubs outside of Atlanta and has established a successful
model that has made her a resource for others who would like to
establish clubs. To Nora, Book Clubs are a Ministry that revolve around
relationships and through this, the Lord would love the women that He
put in her life extravagantly. She facilitates a safe environment where
women can enter into relationships.
Try A Mother-Daughter Book Club
Relationships of all kinds take time and work to achieve and maintain closeness in our fast-paced world. What better way to bond with our daughters than through a great book. It breaks all generational gaps and brings us together as humans.
If you and your daughter share the love of reading, being in a mother-daughter book club will keep the lines of communication open and give you both something to look forward to each month. In this setting, you can relate to each other in more than a mother-daughter role, and it can be a safe place to get to know each other better. Here, you are participants of a whole new group—you are both book club members. A book club is a way to make time for what is important and to show my child the important things in life—through time together and in what we read. This would be my mission statement if I were running a mother-daughter book club.
The first book club I attended opened their hearts to my daughter and me. My daughter, Hilary, was fourteen years old at the time. I loved how the ladies made sure she was included when questions were asked. The ages of the members in this group ranged from thirty to sixty-five (my daughter was the youngest). When the group leader noticed Hilary was too shy to share with the group, she would specifically ask her what she felt about a certain situation or character in the book. I saw my daughter’s face beam as she shared her thoughts with the group, and giggled. I watched how they offered her their undivided attention, which gave her confidence to share again. I loved them for that.
My daughter came alive each month as she shared her heart and opinions with the group and with me. These ladies encouraged her to bloom and grow up right before my very eyes! I learned to let my daughter become her own person, separate from me—a person who had her own thoughts, ideas, and wonders. It was weird at first (not to be in charge or tell her how to act in the group), but I got used to watching my daughter grow more confident in sharing her thoughts and ideas about each book we read. I, in turn, learned how to share my thoughts and feelings in front of her as well. That was weird at first, too. But I got used to it as she fully listened to what I had to say. Wow! We looked forward to this time every month.
Gladys Hunt, author of Honey for a Child’s Heart, states “I can make time for what is important in life, and in doing so, we can teach our children about things that really matter to us.” (To me, the word relationship comes to mind here.) Hunt’s book suggests imaginative uses of books in family life, and some of her ideas would be good for book club use as well.
In Honey for a Child’s Heart, some of the topics covered include choosing a good story, what kind of books to read (fairy tales, classics, etc.), and a discussion on what makes a good book. Hunt organizes the books into categories to make it easier to choose from. For each book she lists the title, author, and a brief summary. Most of the books she mentions are for ages zero through fourteen. Hunt has also written a book called Honey for A Teen’s Heart, featuring books for teens, arranged in pretty much the same way.
Another great resource to aid in establishing an atmosphere for learning and fun is a book called How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: Activities, Ideas, and Inspiration for Exploring Everything in the World through Books by Esme Raji Codell. This book gives titles, authors, and a summary of only select books. The books are also broken down into categories for you to pick from. Great ideas are included to make learning fun and creative. She even has ideas in running book clubs for boys.
One of the best resources to help you in starting and maintaining a mother-daughter book club is a book called Mother-Daughter Book Club: How Ten Busy Mothers and Daughters Came Together to Talk, Laugh, and Learn through Their Love of Reading!. The book has ten chapters, including these: “How to Organize Your Book Club,” “How to Structure and Lead a Book Club,” “Reading Lists,” “Discussion guides for the Group.” This book has everything you need to start and run a successful mother-daughter book club.
If you and your daughter love to read, a mother-daughter book club can be a special time for both of you. This is a wonderful season in your lives that won’t last forever. Our children grow up so fast. Celebrate this time when you can be fellow book club members (and so much more) and share the love of a good book with each other. Each of you has committed to set aside this time just to develop your relationship with each other. Whether she realizes it or not, you are making a huge statement to your daughter that says “You are important to me. I’m making time for you and our relationship.” Rejoice in the time you have made with each other, draw close and make it a special event. Let the love of reading bind you together and give you that common ground that can slip away as your child gets older. Share your love of books and you will not only create great memories, but also develop something you will share no matter how old either of you gets.
Nora St. Laurent