March 10, 2010
Book Loons.com boasts over 12,000 book reviews. Wow! There’s also a special section on the website with links to book giveaways going on at lots of different websites. I posted my latest giveaway of Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb there (don’t forget to comment for a chance to win). Managing Editor Hilary Williamson says she launched the site to share her love of reading books with others and to help people connect to the books they want to read.
When you click on the Teens page, you’ll find reviews, contests, articles, interviews and more. And Book Loons contest listings are easy to review also. I was happy to enter my daughter, Catherine, into a giveaway by James Patterson of his new book in the Maximum Ride series, Fang. Catherine has read the whole series so far, and I know she’s anxiously awaiting this new book. It would be so fun for her to win an advance copy. You may also find a book you’d like to win under the adult contest listings. There are lots to choose from.
February 18, 2010
I’ve recently discovered BookBundlz.com, a website with a wealth of information for book club members. I’ll be posting articles on a regular basis, and the first one you’ll find is this one on working moms and mother-daughter book clubs. While you’re there, you can check out BookBundlz’ other features as well. While many of the recommended books are for adult groups, you’ll also find reviews of kids books, a newsletter you can sign up for and lots more. And I really love that BookBundlz has a Campaign for Literacy where it lists lots of groups both national and in individual states that are dedicated to literacy.
February 4, 2010
Booklist is a great source for finding reviews on all kinds of books. The magazine publishes a blog called Book Group Buzz that’s worth checking out occasionally to see what they are recommending. Recently, I cam across this post on how to use book reviews in your book club.
To this list I’ll add my thoughts. When I’m looking for a book to recommend to any of my reading groups (both mother-daughter book clubs and a discussion group I’m in with my husband), I get recommendations from book store personnel or librarians. I look at book reviews in magazines and newspapers. Then I start to look for reviews online. I post my own reviews to several sites in addition to printing them here. Those are the sites I also check out: Amazon.com, Powells.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Borders.com, and GoodReads.com. I look for the best reviews and the worst. The best help me get a feeling for what the book is about. The worst reviews help me see what people don’t like about it. Even if there are lots of negative reviews, it doesn’t mean I won’t choose that book. It depends on what the reviewer says about why he didn’t like it.
I can easily see how Booklist’s suggestions for using reviews to help your book club choose a book and discuss it can be helpful.
May 8, 2008
With one foot in the modern world and one foot in a world of fantasy, Girlwood takes us into the life of Polly Greene, who can see the colors that surround people, revealing their true selves. Polly’s older sister, Bree, disappears into the woods one night, and Polly is the only one who believes she has not run far, that she’s hiding nearby to heal her out-of-control life.
When Polly finds a magical clearing hidden among the trees, she’s certain that her sister is close. She determines to leave her food and clothing and healing plants in a magical spot she and her friends dub Girlwood to help Bree survive until she’s ready to return.
Girlwood explores many themes as Polly enlists the help of friends and family in her mission:
- What’s the value of nature compared to development?
- Why do girls sometimes subvert their own personalities when they start to date?
- How does divorce affect family dynamics?
- How can parents teach and protect their children while also allowing them to have independent thoughts?
The themes are woven into a story that is as enchanting as the magical clearing, Girlwood, itself. And by the end, you may even find yourself searching for your own Girlwood.
Recommended for mother-daughter book clubs with girls in aged 12 and up.
February 21, 2008
Here’s an interesting and fresh idea that was passed on recently from a mom who’s in a book club with girls ranging in age from 12 to 15.
“One of the girls (in her group) likes drama a lot and has been reading a playwright she likes and whose plays she’s been in. We thought it would be fun to buy an anthology of one-acts, assign parts to read out loud like a readers theater, and talk about the stories. Most of us have been to theater performances but weren’t familiar with what a play looks like on the page.
“The anthology we read is Awesome Plays for Teens and Tweens by Christina Hamlett, and we’re now completely hooked! This is a collection of 15 one-act comedies and each one is short enough that we could read several of them in each meeting. It was great fun to assign roles to one another, plus this experience was invaluable in terms of encouraging our daughters to speak clearly, enunciate, experiment with different accents…and not trample on each other’s lines! It was also a wonderful spotlight on our young actress in the group who led discussions afterwards about what it’s like to be in a play.
“The girls all loved “Lessons of Oz” which is a humorous take on what happens when Dorothy comes back and becomes a best selling author but her pals from Oz aren’t so happy with the gifts they received. With “Lessons of Oz” fresh in our heads now, we’re thinking of going as a group to see “Wicked” when it plays here. I recommend playreading to mother and daughter clubs who are looking for something fresh and fun to do and Awesome Plays for Teens and Tweens is a great introduction to the world of the theater.”
What an interesting idea to liven up a meeting and let both girls and moms try something new. If you’d like to read the full reviews from Inez of Arizona and Marci of Hawaii, here’s the link.
October 25, 2007
When my oldest daughter, Madeleine, was in fifth grade, we read Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli in our mother-daughter book club. The girls all liked it, but they couldn’t really identify well with the issues brought up in the book: What does it mean to be popular in school, can you find friends who accept you for who you are even when you’re different from the mainstream, are you strong enough to go against the popular mindset by befriending someone who is different?
The moms on the other hand, got the issues exactly. We remembered all too well the days of junior high and high school when you’re not only trying to determine who you are, but also realizing that who you choose to hang out with is a reflection of that. We thought the book was excellently done, and that we had maybe read it when our girls were too young.
I’ve been thinking about that lately because my youngest daughter, Catherine, is reading Stargirl now. She’s in eighth grade, and she’s really enjoying it. The things she’s reading about are resonating with her, because she’s seen similar situations happen with kids in middle school.
Amazon.com recommends this book for ages 10 – 14, but I’m more inclined to agree with the age recommendation by Publisher’s Weekly, which is 12 and up. It’s perfect for a mother-daughter book group because the adults will appreciate Spinelli’s excellent writing as well as identify what he’s writing about, and girls in middle school and older will be able to make correlations between situations in the book and things they deal with in their own social and school lives.
I’m looking forward to discussing Stargirl with Catherine when she’s done reading it, and we’re both looking forward to reading the sequel, Love, Stargirl.
October 4, 2007
Have you read a book you’d like to recommend to other mother-daughter book clubs? Do you have a recipe that can feed a bunch of hungry moms and daughters that you wouldn’t mind sharing? Have you been on an outing that you think would be good for others to consider?
I’d like to hear from you if you have. Please send in any suggestions to email@example.com, and I’ll review it for publication. Don’t worry about formatting, I can make sure it matches the other reviews and recipes on the site.
Here’s what I need for a review: Your first name and last initial, and a synopsis of the book that includes things your group found interesting (if that’s possible, it’s okay if it’s not).
Here’s what I need for a recipe: Number of people it serves, a list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions. If your recipe matches a book, please say so and write a short description of how it matches.
Your recommendations, posted on MotherDaughterBookClub.com, will help build the resources listed for reading groups across the country. I look forward to getting your suggestions.
Cindy Hudson, author of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs. Photo by David Kinder