Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Night Fairy- meeting #2

Our second book was THE NIGHT FAIRY by Laura Amy Schlitz.  This book was a hit.  Two girls gave it a thumbs to the side, but most gave it a thumbs up.  

We used our general book club discussion questions as well as some of these that came from a word document I found online at Indiana Library Federation's website:  


1. Describe the life cycle of a fairy. 

2. Why did Flory, the night fairy, decide to be a day fairy?  What are her challenges?

3. Why do you think Flory is willing to help Skuggle get food?

4. What does Flory seem to admire about the hummingbird?  Why do you think this?

5. Discuss the growing relationship that develops between Flory and Skuggle.  How can you compare this to a friendship you developed?

6. Why do you think it might be bad luck to kill a fairy?

7. Flory developed several good friends.  Which friendships do you think will continue to grow?  Why do you think this?

The mom who hosted the meeting had a nice spread of veggies and fruit to snack on, chicken nuggets, and cupcakes with fairy cupcake toppers.  She found a fairy wall decal at the dollar store and put it on the wall to add some fairy magic to the room.  

After the book discussion, the girls made fairy houses.  In the story, Flory lives inside a bird house when she has to become a day fairy after the loss of her wings.  I found little paper mache bird houses at Hobby Lobby.  They are usually 99 cents but were on sale for 30% off making them roughly 70 cents each.   A word to the wise-  if you have a lot of girls in your club, make sure to buy them early.  I need six of them and the store I went to only had 5.  I got those, and then went back a week later and got the last one (this time there were only 2 at the store).  Don't wait until the last minute.  It seems they are never heavily stocked.

At the previous book club meeting, I let the girls look through my acrylic paint and had them choose the color they wanted for their fairy houses.  I wrote down their names and the color they chose.  Before this meeting I prepainted the houses so they were ready to go.  I used some sticky avery labels with their name on them to go around the loop at the top.  This kept the loop from getting stuck in the paint while painting and allowed me to know whose house was whose without writing on the actual house.

At the meeting, we put out foam stickers, jewels, sticky scrapbook letters, shells, puff balls, glue, and other things for them to decorate their houses. 

One mom brought some glue dots that really saved the day.  They worked on some of the items that would traditionally need hot glue, and the girls could use them themselves rather than ask an adult to hot glue for them.  

Hard at work

The finished products
a close up
 The host mama had one last craft- an acorn dessert.  The night fairies are 1 acorn high when they are born and at the end of the book, Flory is 2 acorns high.  So the girls made acorns from mini Nilla wafers, Hershey's kisses, and chocolate icing.  You use the chocolate icing to stick the hershey's kiss to the nilla wafer and then dab a little icing on the top to look like the stem. 

yummy acorns

I gave the bottle cap buttons out, and the girls added their NIGHT FAIRY button to their lanyard.  


The second GIRLS WITH OPINIONS book club meeting was a success.  The girls are excited to read the next book TURTLE IN PARADISE for February's meeting.

Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great- meeting #1

After deciding on the book list, an email was sent to all the participants letting them know the meeting time, place, and book list.  We allowed a month to read the first book prior to the first meeting.  The first book we chose was Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great by Judy Blume.

The girls arrived at 6:30pm and ate hot dogs, fruit salad, and snacked on a veggie tray.  They brought their books along with them to discuss.  As they sat and ate, we had our discussion.

General book club discussion questions that we use as a guide for the discussion can be found here.  (I am trying to upload documents via Google Docs.  Lets see if this works ;)  Click the link below and hopefully it will take you to my Google doc.


Sheila is an interesting main character.  She is somewhat hard to like, bossy, and brags about herself all the time.  However, underneath the bravado, Sheila has many fears.  She is afraid of dogs, learning to swim, and many other things.  We talked about how sometimes when people are insecure they act like Sheila.  The girls were very talkative and shared many insights about the book.  They were all very shocked by the slumber party chapter.  In this chapter, Sheila and her friends make a "slam book" and write brutally honest things about each other.  The girls write very mean things to each other, and everyone's feelings are hurt.  We talked about how "honesty" is not always the best policy, and that we should work to build our friendships up rather than criticize and tear each other down.  

The activity we did after the discussion was to make a "sweet book."  I bought mini composition notebooks from Walgreens (99 cents each) and each girl wrote their name on the front of one.  They passed the books around and wrote something nice about the person in their book.  They all loved the activity and got to take their notebooks home.

As a silly snack, I made blue jello and put gummy lifesavers on top with sour patch kids inside the life savers (since Sheila is afraid to swim).  I should have taken more pictures, but here is a picture of the girls with the jello.

At the end of the activity, I passed out the first pin for their lanyard.  

Directions for bottle cap buttons to go on lanyards

Sheila images for button pins

After the official meeting is over, the girls like to play while the moms talk and drink wine. It was a great first meeting!

How to make bottle cap buttons for lanyards

I really loved the lanyard idea I found from this library Mother Daughter book club. You can see the picture of what they did here.

I bought each girl a lanyard (cheap ones from Oriental Trading) and added a name badge holder for them to write their name on.  Because button makers are expensive, I made bottle cap buttons instead.


Items needed: 

 bottle caps (without plastic liners, so unfortunately that means purchasing some at a craft store).
a 1 inch circle hole punch (craft store)
resin sticker circles (craft store)
glue sticks
E6000 craft glue (walmart)
flat pin backs (walmart...sewing area)

I grabbed JPGs of the book covers online and pasted them in a word document.  Sized them down to where the image looked to be about an inch in diameter.  You can see this fairly clearly by looking at the RULER on MS Word.  I used the snipping tool on Windows to crop out excessive parts of the image.  Just focusing on the important part of the image.  like Sheila's face, the fairy, the girls on the cover, etc.  

I am new to Blogger but I will try to figure out a way to upload the Word documents of these images so they are ready for use (and don't need resized or created from scratch).  

Hole punch out the image.   Use a glue stick to glue image inside the bottle cap.  Place resin sticker over image.  Flip bottle cap over.  Use E6000 glue to attach flat pin back to the back.  VOILA!  Cheap buttons.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How we chose our books and set up our group

Each month, the girls read the same book (and moms are encouraged to read it as well).  FYI, I have rediscovered my love of children's books.  Such fun stories and a lot less "trying too hard."  I have started reading other Mighty Girl books from the lists to think of titles for the future.  There are some truly fantastic books on the lists.  Have not found one yet that I haven't enjoyed.

The second Tuesday of every month, we meet at one of the girls' houses for a simple dinner, book discussion, and some sort of related craft or activity.  Initially me and another mom worked closely together to choose books, and agreed we would host between our two houses.  When the other girls/moms were invited, they were told they were welcome to host but it was not expected.  This seems to be a good way to do things since some moms in our group are about to remodel their homes etc.  

All of the girls are in the same grade and on similar reading levels.  We looked up each book's reading level to choose if it was a contender.  Our school uses ACCELERATED READER so we tried to keep the books in the range that would be acceptable for them using the website for AR Bookfinder.

Books were all chosen from A Mighty Girl's book lists

Our books for the first five meetings are:
2.  THE NIGHT FAIRY by Jennifer Schlitz
3.  TURTLE IN PARADISE by Jennifer L. Holm
4.  THE MAGIC HALF by Annie Barrows
5.  THE YEAR OF THE DOG by Grace Lin

We followed the guidelines from Mighty Girl about how many girls to invite.  We also were careful to choose girls of the same age so the books weren't too hard or too easy for club members to read.  Our group has 6 girls and 5 moms.  Because two girls are coming from another activity, it made sense to just make a simple dinner for all the girls.  

We sent an email to all the moms with the list of books with links to the Mighty Girl site.  Many books can be found at Half Price Books, or the library, as a lot are Newberry winners, etc.  However, if ordering from Amazon, we suggested they click through the Mighty girl like so they get a portion of the sale.  (I have no connection to the site other than being a huge fan for all their work at putting together the lists, etc.  I probably sound like a sales person, but wow, what a great resource!) 

We set the first meeting date a month away and chose the second Tuesday of each month as our meeting date. 

Purpose of this blog

In Fall 2013, I stumbled across the fantastic website I had heard about mother daughter book clubs in the past, but its daunting to think of starting up something like this having never led one before.  I read and reread their guidelines for starting a Mother Daughter book club and finally decided we should go for it.  My daughter is in second grade and 7 years old.  We invited 5 other girls and their moms to participate.  We chose books from the Mighty girl lists and created a book list for the first five books.

After posting a picture of 6 smiling girls at book club on Facebook, the response from other moms was eye opening.  A lot of people wanted to know more details about what we are doing.  It occurred to me that all the time spent googling discussion questions, planning related crafts, etc. could be shared with others and maybe make the task of starting a similar book club less daunting for others.

Our first meeting, I was amazed at how excited these girls were to discuss the book, how much they took away from the story, and how well they were able to articulate their feelings.  We took a vote on our book club name and the votes were split between CHAPTER CHICKS and BOOK WORMS.  We tried various compromises, but the girls had very strong opinions.  We left the meeting still undecided about a club name.  I joked that we should call it GIRLS WITH OPINIONS because these girls have lots of em!  Everyone liked it and it stuck.

So why make a Mother Daughter book club?  From
 A Mighty Girl's Book Club Organizing Guide:  "Parent-child book clubs are popular for any number of educational, social, and relational reasons. Book clubs can help improve a child’s reading skills and self-confidence, as well as help her to learn valuable life skills such as learning how to articulate her opinion and present an argument. They provide a great social outlet for both parents and girls and help to build a supportive community of friends. Many parents also find book clubs a valuable way to stay connected with their daughters as they enter the tween and teen years and increasingly strive for greater independence from their parents. Moreover, book discussions can also help parents and their children broach difficult topics that might be challenging to discuss directly but can be explored in the context of a story. Finally,book clubs can be great fun for both parents and kids and a highly fulfilling creative outlet for years to come."

It has been a wonderful experience for the girls and the moms so far.  I plan to use this blog to help share what has worked for us, so that if you should choose to start a club, you won't have to reinvent the wheel.  It will also serve to preserve the memories as these girls grow up.