About Mother-Daughter Book ClubWe started our bookclub when the girls were eleven. We meet monthly, rotating houses. The host family provides refreshments, sometimes oriented to the theme of whatever book we've read that month.
We usually spend about an hour discussing the book, then break for refreshments and spend another half-hour or so talking about other books we've read and selecting the next book for our club reading.
Usually the moms bring several books selected from librarian recommendations or various lists (the American Library Association has good ones). The girsl look through the books and make the final selection. We have a rule that the book must be available through the library. We also make a commmitment that everyone must read thebook even if we hate it.
Our girls have a definite preference for "realistic fiction", as our booklist demonstrates. Of course, we look for books with girls/women as central characters. The moms have found that we enjoy the books as much or even more than the girls.
It's been a great experience, providing an opportunity to share ideas and special time with our girls as they enter their teens.
All Together Now a novel – Sue Ellen Bridgers
Twelve-year-old Casey lives with her grandparents during the summer and be friends a 32 years old developmentally disabled man through their mutual love of baseball. *
Annie John – Jamaica Kincaid
Coming-of-age story a precocious and troubled adolescent in Antigua. *m
The Bean Trees: a novel – Barbara Kingsolver
Taylor Greer heads west to escape her impoverished Southern small town and along the way inherits a three-year-old Native American girl and be friends a family of Central American refugees. She learns powerful lessons about friendship and discovers surprising resources within herself. *
Alone from a Dry Sea – Peter Dickinson
Li is a child, yet she is the thinker for her people. Her intelligence and imagination help prepare her prehistoric tribe for the changes that are coming to their world. Four million years later, another child, Vinny, visits her paleontlogist father searching for the fossil remains of our ancestors. Her curiosity leads to a discovery that could alter the story of human evolution.
Caucasia – Danzy Senna
Teenage Birdie chooses to join her mother when she goes "underground". Deals with radical politics and racial identity in the early 70’s. *m
Charlie Pippin - Cathy boyd
Charlie tries hard to understand how the Vietnam War affected her father. Set in Berkley in 80’s.
Chasing Redbird – Sharon Creech
Thirteen-year-old Zinnia uncovers family secrets and self-truth as she clears an old trail on her family farm. *
Children of the River –Linda Crew
16 years old Sundara tries to adapt to American culture and come to terms with the genocide of her people in Cambodia.
The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother – James McBride
Story of a strong, independent and loving woman who raise 12 kids in the projects in New York.
Freaky Friday – Mary Rodgers
A thirteen year old girl gains a much more sympathetic understanding of her relationship with her mother when she has to spend a day in her mother’s body.
Freedom Songs –Rosa Guy
Phyllisia tries to understand a new culture when she moves from Barbados to Harlem. *m (include death of mother)
The Gammage Cup – Carol Kendall
Fairytale-like fantasy about a group of social misfits and how they save their people. Deals with issues including nonconformity, self-sufficiency, and assertiveness. Generated one of our best discussions.
Getting In- James Boyle.
Funny story of high school seniors odyssey of self-discovery as they tour the Ivy League in a Winnebago. *m (includes some fairly explicit sex)
The Giver – Lois Lowry
Classic futuristic tale about the price of rigid conformity. Good discussion comparing/constrating this book and The Gammage Cup.
The Heroic Life of Al Capsella – Judith Clarke
Al is a normal fourteen-year-old boy burdened with some really weird parents. See how Al copes. *
Hotel Paradise – Martha Grimes
Emma investigates a forty-year-old mystery. A "quirky, bittersweet story that is as full of laugh-aloud humor as it is of the angst only a dreamy, lonely (teen) can feel when the world around her is ripe, promising and full of tantalizing questions. Emma pursues the mystery with single minded determination and during the course of her investigation finds answers to questions she didn’t even know she wanted to ask". *
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents-Julia Alvarez
Short stories combined into a novel about four sisters who immigrated as children to the US from Dominican Republic. "Beautifully captured the threshold experience of the new immigrant where the past is not yet a memory and the future remains an anxious dream." Compared to the Joy Luck club. M (include a flasher" scene)
The Joy Luck Club- Amy Tan
Interwoven stories of four native-born Chinese mothers and their thoroughly modern American daughters. It is an "honest, beautiful, and courageous" story, elucidating the miraculous connection between mothers and daughters. M
Just for kids –Paul Baczewski
There’s no hope for the football team till sister Sarah gets recruited as place kicker.
The Moorchild- Eloise McGraw
Feeling that she is neither fully human nor "Folk", a changeling learns her true identify and attempts to find the human child whose place she had been given.
Pigs in Heaven-Barabara Kingsolver
Sequel to The Bean Trees.
Deals with issues of family and Native American adoption. *m
Rumors of Peace – Ella Leffland
Coming-of-age story of teenage girl in Martinez, California during WW II m
Sister – A. Manette Ansay
Adult book about teenage girl, topics include emotional abuse depression, drugs.
Switching Well- Peni Griffin
Ada lives in 1891 San Antonio, Amber lives in 1991 when they accidentally switch places, they learn "there ‘s no place like home".
Taste of Salt: A story of modern Haiti – Frances Temple
Teenagers Djo and jeri, young followers of the social reformer Father Aristide, share their stories of fighting the repression of Haitti’s pre-democratic government. *m
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Classic tale of social oppression, racial injustice, and the development of conscience in a small Alabama town. *m
Walk to the Moons - Sharon Creech
After her mother leaves home suddenly, thirteen years old Sal and her grandparents take a car trip retracing her mother’s route. Along the way, Sal recounts the story of her friend Phoebe, whose mother also left. * (Includes death of mother)
Where the Heart Is- Billie Letts
Story of teenage mom, Noalee and the redemption of community-as-family.
*m (include a rape scene)
Yo! –Julia Alvarez
Sequel to Garcia Girls. Yolanda’s family may not forgive her for revealing their family secrets in her first book. *m
*: our favorites m: older readers
Other favorites for younger readers:
The "Julia" series by Jacqueline Woodson
For older readers:
Cat Among the Pigeons – Agatha Christies
Mysterious deaths in a girls’ boarding school.
The "Harriet Vane" series – Dorothy Sayers
Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, and Gaudy Night. Central character is a strong, independent, educated, female mystery writer in 1930’s Britain.
Restless Spirit. Well-written and-illustrated biography of photographer Dorothea Lange