Monday, January 25, 2010

Reading Alongside Our Kids

I have been in many book clubs. Book clubs have always been a place for me to discover new authors and content, bond with friends, and push me as a reader. One afternoon as AB and I were browsing in a book shop we came across Wicked. AB said to me, "Oh, I really want to see that Broadway Show!" I told her that I did as well! I suggested to AB that we get two copies of it- one for her and one for me- and that we should read it, talk about it and then go see the show together. She was game! And so began our book club.

When M and A invited me to the beach last spring, I had to bring something. I didn't want to show up empty handed. For the the adults I brought wine. For the kids I brought books for us to read and share together. I brought the picture book- Listen to The Wind for M. Listen to the Wind is the story of how Greg Mortensen was rescued in the mountains of Pakistan and nursed to health. He returned to the village that saved him, to help build a school! M is the kind of person who loves books about saving the world and helping others. For her birthday this year she asked everyone to bring food rather than presents. She was then able to take all the food her friends and family collected to her local food bank. So, I knew that this book choice would grab her attention. I had read Three Cups of Tea first. How wonderful that there is a version for younger kids to read and talk about a topic and issue in the world together!

I did the same with Wangri Maathai. When she won the Peace Prize I decided I wanted to get to know her better as well as her lifelong work in Kenya. I read Through The Greenbelt Movement and Unbowed: A memoir. Planting the Trees of Kenya and Wangari's Trees of Peace are two beautiful books published for kids. What a great dialog that this can create about reading and the world!

For my god son's 8th birthday I gave him: From Akira to Zoltan. I wanted to introduce him to the world of biographies and people who have made a difference in the world! What a great way to continue building the idea of strong male role models! This set off an inquiry about people and history! He continued to look for other biographies- He got inspired to read a couple of biographies about Gandhi and Barack Obama! I followed along! I found for myself The Essential Guide to Gandhi. I also had read Obama's first autobiography Dreams From My Father, but still needed to read, The Audacity of Hope. So the two of us read biographies- side by side!

Create a book club with the kids in your life and find ways to connect your reading life to theirs! You will find that not only will you peak their interest in a topic- but they will inspire you to read more deeply as well!


  1. Love it!!!! I need some good recommendations for mysteries so I can read alongside the third and fourth graders I work with!