Name: Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More
Brand: Lori Day and Charlotte Kugler
Mother-daughter book clubs are a great way to encourage reading, bonding, and socializing among mothers, daughters, and their friends. But these clubs can do more than that, suggests educational psychologist and parenting coach Lori Day. They can create a safe and empowering haven where girls can freely discuss and navigate issues surrounding girlhood. In Her Next Chapter, Day draws from experiences in her own club and her expertise as an educator to offer a timely and inspiring take on mother-daughter book clubs. She provides overviews of eight of the biggest challenges facing girls today, such as negative body image, bullying, gender stereotypes, media sexualization, unhealthy relationships, and more, while weaving in carefully chosen book, movie, and media recommendations; thoughtful discussion questions; and group activities and outings that extend and enrich conversations and make clubs fun. Her Next Chapter outlines how mothers can use the magic of books to build girls’ confidence and sense of possibility as leaders, allies, and agents of change. A list of further resources and reflections and observations from Day’s now-adult daughter, Charlotte, round out this indispensible resource for anyone who cares about, teaches, or works with girls.
When I was growing up, I didn’t worry about how I looked. I certainly didn’t worry about being sexy. I didn’t even know what that meant. My wardrobe featured all the colours of the rainbow, including blue. Pink was only a small part of it. I played with Barbies and watched Disney princess movies, but I also played ball or hide-and-seek with the boys.
But a lot has changed since then. Toys that used to be gender-neutral are now found in the boys’ aisle. You’ll know when you’ll reach the girls’ one. You’ll be greeted by an overwhelming sea of pink. Most clothes for girls come in pink too, and more and more often, they are becoming shorter, skimpier, and sporting inappropriate messages such as “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” or “Future Trophy Wife”.
Girls are being taught that looks are all that matters, and if they don’t conform, they may be bullied for it. The beauty ideal they’re fed is too unrealistic anyway, so even if they try to conform, they’re still left hating their bodies and going on strict diets and extreme fitness regimes at younger and younger ages. Gender stereotypes can discourage girls from pursuing careers into what are seen as men’s fields, while reduced opportunity for boys and girls to play together can seriously affect their ability, later in life, to develop healthy romantic relationships.
Raising girls has become so much more difficult and many parents may feel disheartened, and believe there’s nothing they can do to help their girls navigate these and many other issues they will face in their lives. But parents have a lot more power, and a lot more influence on their children than they believe. One underestimated, but very powerful tool, mothers can use to fight the negative and dangerous messages society is feeding to their girls is by starting a mother-daughter book club.
Admittedly, I wasn’t familiar with this concept until I read Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More by Lori Day and Charlotte Kugler, but now I can’t wait to have a little girl to start my own (although, I may do something similar if I have a boy too. 🙂 ). These book clubs foster a closer relationship between a mother and her daughter and provide a safe and non-judgemental environment to discuss difficult topics, such as bullying, gender stereotypes, sexualization of little girls, LGBTQ issues, abusive relationships and violence against women, with your little girl.
In the second part of the book, Day provides a list of books, movies and other types of media that address these issues. After reading/watching them, you can use the questions provided by Day (or make up your own) to start the discussion in a way that’s appropriate for her age. Doing this in a group environment can also be very helpful for those mothers who want to address a particular issue with their daughters but are too embarrassed or simply don’t know how to do so. Chances are that, in the group, there will be another mother who feels more at ease with the topic, so your daughter will receive all the information she needs by someone you trust, under your supervision, and in a safe way.
The first part of the book, instead, explains what a mother-daughter book club is and how to set up your own. These chapters also warn you about any potential problems that may come up, such as how to deal with any bullying incidents that may happen, and provide tips on how to choose the members of your club, the issues you want to address, the books and movies you’ll use to do so and what to do when a couple quits.
Day writes in a very engaging way. She never preaches. Instead, you’ll feel like you’re talking to a friend who went through the same problems and can now give you advice on how to solve them. Of course, the book isn’t only for mothers. Stepmothers, grandmothers, teachers, and any other adult who is entrusted with the care of a little girl can also start book clubs to help her learn media literacy skills and deal with the many problems she’ll face in her life. I cannot recommend it enough!
Available at: Amazon
Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More by Lori Day explains the many benefits of starting a mother-daughter book club and gives you tips on how to set it up and run it. Day also provides a list of books, movies, and questions to help you discuss difficult topics, such as bullying and sexualization, with your little girl in a way that’s appropriate to her age. The tone is friendly and engaging too.