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Miss School Manners & tween book clubs

By asoglin
Friday, September 14th, 2007 at 12:09 pm in Kids & Tweens, Miss School Manners.

teacher Dear Miss School Manners: Last year, we read a Times story about a mother-daughter book group and now we’re inspired! But we can’t find the article on the Times web site, and it had tips on how to start a book club. Help! Signed, Martinez Mom

Dear MM: The Moraga high school seniors who started a book club back in fifth grade? We loved that story too. Kids and teens’ book clubs are undeniably hot these days. Many bookstores and libraries host book clubs for all ages, and there are a number of how-to books on the market, including American Girl’s just published “Book Club Kit.” But the secret to the Moraga mother-daughter club’s success was its structure…
(Read more after the jump. Or write to Miss School Manners now.)

The Moraga group was made up of 10 girls and their moms, a number also recommended by Shireen Dodson, author of “The Mother-Daughter Book Club”. The group met every 4-6 weeks – “pick a day and time and stick to it,” they said – and rotated meetings between homes, says reporter Jessica Yadegaran. The girl who hosted picked the book, and came up with thought-provoking discussion questions, which she put in a hat. As the discussion unfolded, girls drew questions about characters, plot development and how the book related to their own lives – with the moms adding their perspectives too. It was a magical combination, they all said, and the discussions were particularly rich with coming-of-age books.

Need book suggestions? The Moraga group’s favorite fifth grade and middle school reads included “Love, From Your Friend Hannah” by Mindy Warshaw Skolsky, “Flipped” by Wendelin Van Draanen and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” by Ann Brashares. Dodson’s book suggests Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass” and “Caddie Woodlawn” by Carol Ryrie Brink.

“Golden Compass” is a great choice for boys book clubs too. The Stanley Boys Book Club is currently reading “Phineas Gage,” the amazing, true story of a 19th century railroad foreman who somehow survived after a 13-pound iron rod blasted through his head.

If you’re looking for book suggestions for the teen set, check out the Book Burger blog, which bills itself as “a site for hungry readers ages 14 to 24. Reviews, news, contests, and deliciousness of all sorts.” Very fun.
Miss School Manners

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