Have you ever participated in a book club? My oldest daughter and I joined a group that met all through middle school. We met new people, read new books, and heard thoughts and opinions on a wide variety of topics that were often decidedly different than those we heard from our regular circle of friends. While we often didn’t agree with each other and liked different kinds of books, we respected each other and enjoyed our time together a lot.
What I loved most about being in a book club, though, was the time my middle-schooler and I spent in the car together on the way to and from the meetings. We’d chat about some of these decidedly different thoughts and opinions, and it really helped me get to know my daughter in a brand new way; I think it also probably helped her know where I stood on some things, and why.
A surprise book club blessing this summer has brought up a lot of these old memories. A church librarian in Ohio, who had been given a copy of Sophie’s Quest last Christmas (thanks, Mom!) teamed up with a new home-schooling volunteer at her church to create a month-long book club experience using Sophie’s Quest! They had never done a book club at church before, but they made detailed lesson plans, creative snack and craft activities, greatly expanded the discussion questions I had included in an Appendix, and created worksheets to help kids understand literary concepts like the Hero’s Journey, and to think about prayer and the biblical names of God in a new way.
They sent out an invitation. Would anyone even want to come to a book club every Thursday in the middle of the day throughout the month of July? To their surprise and delight, over 20 kids eagerly signed up and showed up! We even Skyped together one week, and I was amazed by their thoughtful questions and enthusiasm for the whole experience. It gives me goosebumps to think about it!
Best of all, the creator of this fun book club has made all of her materials–the thoughtful product of hours and hours of her time–available to me and YOU for FREE!
As Stephanie and I learned in our book club years ago, these are great opportunities for kids to invite friends who might not otherwise hang out together. Book clubs are a different way for church groups, neighborhood groups, Christian schools, etc., the chance to bring kids together to hear about the Gospel and the Bible in a brand new way. It gives them a chance to enjoy being together, to learn about people from diverse backgrounds, to listen respectfully to different opinions, and mainly to share the love that God has for every single person on the planet. He made them all, and wants to draw them closer to Himself.
If you know a group or a person who likes to read and do crafts, see if they might want to reach out to others in their community through a book club. Just a four-week commitment, it’s a short-term project that can change someone’s life forever!
Here’s what the leader had to say about their Sophie’s Quest Book Club:
We had SO MUCH FUN reading your book and using all the creative elements you included, especially the opportunities to delve deeper into the spiritual elements that you presented. All the kids said that they would love to do a book club again, and they want Sophie Topfeather, Superstar to be our next book. We may very well be contacting you again next summer! Skyping with you was definitely a highlight for them all, so thank you so much for taking the time to connect with us personally.
Your charming story was truly a wonderful blessing to me, Mandy, and all our book club members.
Blessings, Cateresa Boston
And the organizer said this about the Skype visit:
We thoroughly enjoyed speaking with you yesterday, and the kids thought that it was great! Thank you so much!
Cat and I were both so touched with the stories you shared and the answers that you gave the kids. The Holy Spirit was so present during that meeting. I love seeing God work up close and personal, and you were such a big part of that!
Thank you! Mandy Polyak
HOW TO PARTICIPATE? Simply send me a note on the contact form below, and I’ll be happy to send you the materials. They’ll have to be adapted slightly for your particular group. You are completely free to use what you want and even extend the program to meet your own needs. There are enough discussion questions and additional activities listed in the book’s Appendix to meet for more than four weeks, if you desire.
Cateresa Boston, the curriculum designer, has also graciously offered her assistance to anyone who has questions. Just let me know if you’d like to contact her.