Books can be great discussion starters, so why not start a book club — whether formal or informal — with your own daughter? We have 10 great books to get you both talking, whether your daughter is 4, 10 or 16 years old.
Robin Preiss Glasser, Illustrator
Nancy believes that everything is better fancy, her vocabulary included. Although her family doesn’t understand Nancy’s penchant for lacy soccer socks, they do allow her to transform them for what is a magical evening. This is a sweet book that will allow you to discuss the appreciation of one another’s differences and possibly learn some new words while you’re at it.
The Rainbow Fish
J. Alison James, Translator
This gorgeously illustrated book teaches children about sharing in general and its importance in friendship in particular. Rainbow Fish initially wants to keep his prized scales to himself, but he eventually learns the value of giving to others, and in so doing, he cements his friendships.
Erin McGuire, Illustrator
A gorgeous modernization of the fairy tale The Snow Queen, Breadcrumbs is the story of a fifth grader named Hazel whose best friend Jack is suddenly distant. Hazel knows this is more than the simple distance of growing up, and she ventures into the woods to save Jack from the woman who froze his heart.
Anne of Green Gables
One of the best things about a mother-daughter book club is the fact that it lets you introduce your child to the books you yourself loved growing up — and where better to start than with that lovable, redheaded imp Anne Shirley? Despite her faults, Anne’s imagination and determination make her a character that any mother would want her daughter to emulate.
Eleven (The Winnie Years)
If you’re looking for a book series that will help you discuss what is happening in your middle schooler’s day-to-day life, Lauren Myracle’s series The Winnie Years is perfect. In Eleven, Winnie is dealing with friends who are becoming increasingly enamored with fashion and boys, while Winnie herself is not. No matter which character your daughter identifies with, Eleven is sure to spark discussion.
Bigger than a Bread Box
Not only have Rebecca’s parents recently separated, but her mother has uprooted Rebecca and her brother from their home in Baltimore and has moved them to their grandmother’s house in Georgia. While exploring her grandmother’s attic, Rebecca finds a bread box that seems to provide whatever she wishes for. This initially seems like the best thing that has happened to Rebecca for some time, but before long, it makes things more complicated than she could have imagined.
Louisa May Alcott
Another classic that many mothers likely read when they were girls, Little Women is a much-beloved Civil War–era novel featuring the March sisters, particularly the independent-thinking Jo(sephine) March. In Little Women, Louisa May Alcott has some beautiful things to say not only about family but also about finding one’s own way.
Katsa was born with a “grace,” meaning a specialized skill: She is able to kill with her bare hands. Katsa would prefer that she not have such a grace, and in an attempt to allay her guilty conscience, she forms the Council, a body that works to fight injustice in the Seven Kingdoms.
The Hunger Games
Katniss, the protagonist of The Hunger Games, is perhaps the ultimate kick-ass young-adult heroine. A provider for her mother and younger sister Prim since the death of her father, Katniss shows a selfless love for her sister by volunteering to take Prim’s place in the Hunger Games, where she does what it takes to survive while still maintaining her humanity.
Eleanor & Park
It is 1986, and Eleanor is new at school, is a bit heavy and has a terrible home life. With nowhere else to sit on the bus, she takes a seat next to the half-Korean Park. Park is one of the few Asian kids in their school and feels just as much an outsider as Eleanor does. Before long, the two fall for one another, and their story is perfectly reminiscent of the reality of young love.