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As we wrap up this year’s Book Club, I’m pausing to look back on all we’ve accomplished together this year. What began last year as an experiment in reading and community, this year became a full-fledged program with 2,591 participating families across the world. To all the families who have been part of this endeavor, THANK YOU! We hope you’ll keep reading with us, and help us improve year after year.
Stay tuned next week for an opportunity to win some Book Club prizes! We’re sending a survey to measure the impact this program had for you and your girl.
We consider our book selections carefully, and are excited to bring some of our absolute favorites to you in the form of book recommendations and discussion guides – a total of six books per age group for this year. I hope that families’ Book Club experiences are so much more than reading and having book talk. I hope there’s a deep, ongoing impact on your lives – particularly on your relationships, communication, and leadership skills.
When I began a book club last year with my daughter, the girls in our group were just seven years old – wee 2nd graders who didn’t know each other very well, and didn’t have much experience speaking in front of a group. These girls, who recently felt too shy to articulate their ideas, now love to hold the floor, expressing their thoughts about a book, reading aloud their favorite passages. And we parents have grown, too. For example, we’re more likely to sit back and trust the girls take the conversation and run with it, rather than thinking we have to steer them along the correct course.
How did your skills grow?
After this year of book club, I hope your conversation feels like a genuine, organic conversation, complete with interruptions, tangents, disagreements, and occasional silences. If your conversation still feels like everyone taking a turn saying something separate rather than building on each other, next year you could make it a goal to practice close listening and building on each other’s ideas.
The main characters in these books develop leadership skills as a way of dealing with challenges and achieving their goals. I hope their words inspired you to try something new. Did you leave their stories on the page, or did you take them into your life as an opportunity to grow and change?
Go through the following questions on your own, and with your daughter. Use your answers to guide you in setting personal leadership goals.
… try speaking in public, like Clara Lee (Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream) or Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern (One Crazy Summer)?
… learn to have brave conversations, and apologize when necessary, like Keena Ford (Keena Ford and the 2nd Grade Mix-Up) and Brianna (President of the Whole Fifth Grade)?
… speak up in your relationships, even when you disagree with someone else, like Nory (Upside-Down Magic) and Astrid (Roller Girl)?
… speak up for those who need help, like Malala Yousafzai (Who Is Malala Yousafzai?) and Jane Goodall (My Life with Chimpanzees)?
… speak up through your actions, even when the stakes are high, like Annemarie (Number the Stars) and Ada (The War that Saved My Life)?
… speak up to express yourself, like Hà (Inside Out and Back Again) and Jacqueline (Brown Girl Dreaming)?
- Which of these skills is easy for you?
Good! Keep doing it! Can you teach others to do it, too?
- Which of these skills is hard?
Keep trying! Can you reach out to someone you trust for help?
- Which of these is most important for you personally?
Only you know this answer. Once you do, share your goal with those close to you and practice it every chance you get.
In my book club, the relationships within our group are at the core of our experience. My daughter and I got to know our fellow club members – mostly new friends to us – more closely than we would have in a year’s worth of soccer practices and encounters at our neighborhood frozen yogurt joint. Having and discussing shared reading experiences gave us a common vocabulary, and an invitation to deepen our conversations, like a relationship amplifier. Over the course of these two years, we’ve laughed together, shared our feelings and opinions, and occasionally disagreed. With monthly meetings as check-ins, Girls Leadership Book Club is a thread through the course of our year. We families have a sense of being in this together that we didn’t have before.
Take a moment to reflect on how your own book club is doing. Ask yourself, alone, or in the context of a club reflection: How did the relationships in your club grow and develop over the course of the year? Is there room to deepen those relationships?
We’d love to hear about your Book Club experiences in the comments.
All of your feedback helps us to improve Girls Leadership Parent & Daughter Book Club for the coming years!
If you are able, please support this program with a financial contribution. We rely on donations to provide this free resource to families around the world.
Not a member yet? It’s FREE! Sign up to get meeting guides and discussion questions for all of this and last year’s books delivered right to your inbox. Book Club will start again this September.