November 13-19 is Children’s Book Week. So it seems like a good time to share some ideas from the Parent-Child Book Club my daughter and I organized the summer after she finished third grade. Six to eight children is a good sized-group, especially if they have siblings who’ll want to participate or be part of the book selection rotation. In our case, the child who selects the book of the month also hosts the discussion. We all bring some contribution to a potluck dinner before settling in to discuss the host’s questions about the book. In the beginning, the parents modeled asking open-ended questions and discussing the book, but after a year, the children can do this effectively, sometimes with impressive sophistication, themselves.
Here is a list of books we have read so far:
- Because of Winn-Dixie
- The Eternity Code (Artemis Fowl, Book 3)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Time Cat
- The Chocolate Touch
- The Magic Paintbrush
- Gorky Rises and The Amazing Bone
- Sideways Stories from Wayside School and Small Steps
- Beyond the Dragon Portal by Melissa Glenn Haber, who came to our club meeting to answer questions!
- Island of the Aunts
- Tangerine (this one would perhaps have been better suited to an older club),
- The Young Man and the Sea
- Howl’s Moving Castle
- Becoming Naomi Léon
- Williwaw! and soon
- A Wrinkle in Time for which a guide is also available, so it might actually be a nice one to start with.
Participants have been really creative with food selections related to the books, or deciding to dramatize rather than discuss (The Amazing Bone for example). We have also watched movies related to several of the books and talked about how and why the movie might differ from the book. I have really enjoyed getting to know the families of my daughter’s friends better, and giving all the children access to more adults with different ways of thinking and being in the world. For instance they all now get periodic input from the minds of an artist, theologian/university administrator, history professor, business development expert, teacher, architect, and a few various kinds of engineers.
For more ideas you can read a brief article on book clubs at the PBS Parents website.