One of my favorite things I did when my daughter was young, was to start a mother-daughter book club. We met once a week during the summer, discussing the chosen book for the week. Every meeting featured crafts, games, refreshments or a field trip. The club included many of the girls in her school class and their moms.
Now I wish I had made it at least partially, if not entirely, a Bible book club. We tend to forget that the Bible is actually sixty-six separate books put together in one volume. Some books like Ruth and Esther are basically one long true story, while other books have multiple true stories within them. There is even poetry and wisdom literature.
For those of you who have never hosted a mother-daughter book club, it is actually quite fun and can be as simple or as complex as you would like. Meetings can be held weekly or monthly, but should allow the girls and their mothers enough time to complete the assigned book before the next meeting. We had ours during the summer when there was more free time to read.
As the host, you can choose the books or let the other mothers help generate the list. Be careful to consider the age of the girls and their reading levels when choosing what you will read. That is the other good thing about the Bible – versions are written on several different reading levels ranging from the King James at a twelfth grade level to the NIRV at a third grade level. This link should take you to a chart that lists several versions and their reading levels.
Since the story is the same in every version, everyone can read it in a version at their preferred reading level. I don’t know of any other books that offer that luxury. This allows you to widen the list of participants in your group. We had to restrict our club to girls who were able to read and understand the books we chose.
Suppose your group decides to start with the book of Esther. Everyone should read the book before your first meeting. During the meeting, review the story in the book you read. Try to ask meaningful discussion questions that make the girls think about the application of the story and what they might have done if they were in Esther’s (or whomever’s) shoes. What characteristics did the people in the book possess? Which were godly qualities and which should they have tried to get out of their life? A google search for discussion questions and the name of the book of the Bible or the story should give you other ideas.
Our daughters were in grade school when we had our club, so we added a themed snack and crafts or an activity. Esther is a fun one to do this with, as the holiday of Purim comes from the story. If I were hosting that meeting, I would serve Hamantaschen cookies and grape juice for the snack. (These are fairly easy to make yourself. If you prefer to buy them, they are often only available during the February/March time period. I have found them in chain grocery stores and Costco.)
A really fun activity for Esther is to read a picture book version of the story with the children hissing and booing Haman and cheering Mordecai and Esther. They can even create noisemakers to add to the fun.
Traditionally, Jews also share food and goodies with their neighbors and the poor during Purim. It would be fun to make and decorate cookies with the girls and then share them with your neighbors, a local nursing home or a women and children’s shelter.
Ruth would be another complete book that would be fun to do. Perhaps the snack would be an authentic bread recipe from ancient Israel. The children could try grinding grain into flour or go to an orchard or farm where they are allowed to pick their own produce. The discussion could continue after your activity, while the girls debate how much harder picking enough food for your family would have been if you could only glean.
If you want to get really educational with your meetings, throw in some history and culture from the time period. What was life like in ancient Persia (Esther)? What were the marriage customs during the time of Ruth. Pull out some maps and figure out where the modern countries are that correspond to the countries mentioned in the Bible. (Persia is Iran.)
Deborah (in Judges) and Miriam (in Exodus) both have songs they wrote that could start a week of poetry reading. The week could expand and include most or all of Psalms. In addition to the scriptural and life application concepts, you could introduce the various types of poems and categorize the various Psalms.
Don’t forget to include people studies which may be found in parts of one or more books. Maybe your group wants to read everything about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Maybe you want to read about men like King David, or children in the Bible like Samuel, David, Joash and others. You can easily get as many or as few weeks of meetings as you would like out of the Bible.
At some point, your group may want to include outside books with Christian themes. Nancy La Rue writes quite a few that my daughter enjoyed when she was younger. Rebecca St. James also has some great books for teens on non-fiction topics like dating and purity. The important goals are that the girls (and Moms) in your group are encouraged to read their Bibles more and start thinking about what God wants us to take from the Bible lessons and put into practice in our lives.
Although, I personally have never heard of any, don’t be afraid to expand the idea to father/son, mother/child or any other combination of parents and children in your club. Mothers and daughters have historically participated in these clubs, but I really don’t see why others can’t join in the fun.
I encourage you to start your own Mother/Daughter Bible Book Club and let me know what happens. What books did your group enjoy the most? Which activities were the most fun? What got your group thinking and talking the most? Email me or add your comments here as I would love to share your ideas with others in the future!