1 Date – Pick a date and time well in advance. Some groups like to plan around a meal, others reserve ninety minutes or so in the afternoon or evening.
1 Location – One pair might host for all the meetings, or pairs could take turns hosting. Some groups might enjoy meeting in a cafe or restaurant, just make sure ahead of time that seating will not be a problem.
A Snack or 2 – This doesn’t have to be much; even a bowl of popcorn makes the event feel more festive. As Julia Child said,
“A party without cake is really just a meeting.”
Pairs could take turns providing refreshments, or everyone could bring something to share.
3-6 Girl & Grown-up pairs – We really recommend 4 – 5 pairs! Gather some friends or put the word out. The group need not consist of close-knit friends, as long as the readers are open-minded and enthusiastic. Make sure they sign up to get the materials each month from Girls Leadership!
Consider holding a grown-ups-only meeting before your first book discussion. This is a great chance to share expectations, hopes, and concerns. Plus, any grown-ups who don’t know each other will have a chance to meet.
A note on inclusion:
You can role model inclusion by thinking with your girl about someone who isn’t already in the group. This can also be an opportunity for girls to watch you process who might really appreciate being invited, and then craft the script together for reaching out. Consider someone new to your school, community, or even the country.
In order for these Book Clubs to be a place where every girl can practice having a voice in every meeting, it’s important that book clubs not be any bigger than six pairs. Beyond six, you could split into two clubs, or you might have to gently redirect a pair who wants to join.
Many of us believe that everyone has a right to be included.
While that is true in many contexts (see Birthdays), if you practice that here, you will undermine the success of your group. This can be a great opportunity for your girl to see you respectfully set boundaries in order to protect your own needs.
If you find yourself in the challenging position of telling someone that your group is maxed out, suggest that the person sign-up, gather a few additional pairs, and start another book club. One way to phrase this could be,
“Let’s make sure that everyone gets as much out of this experience as they can. My group is already at its limit, but I hope that you’ll start your own group. I’m eager for us to share our experiences.”
Let us know how this recipe works for you!
Great Book Club Resource:
From Author Lori Day, Her Next Chapter shows mothers how to form mother-daughter book clubs that provide a vehicle for teaching media literacy to girls so that they learn to think critically about their lives as females.