Once a month, a handful of my friends meet up at our friend’s house for our babies book club. We still refer to it as “baby book club” even though there’s no denying that our children aren’t babies anymore. They’re energetic, willful, spirited two-year-olds who run, laugh, fight over toys, and keep us constantly on our toes. They’re also two-year-olds who love to be read to. Like most toddlers their age, they love to be held on our laps while listening to stories and looking at colorful and beautiful picture books.
My friend S. started this book club almost a year ago and we’ve been meeting monthly ever since.
You can read more about the inspiration for the book club on our book club Facebook page, which includes updates on books we’re reading, activities we’re planning, and links to the photo posts on the blog. The book club basically works like this:
- We have a list of books we’re reading each month so that we know ahead of time which books we’ll need and when.
- We talked to our local library’s children’s librarians and they generously pull together and hold for us as many copies of each month’s book as they can (so that no one is forced to buy the book if they don’t want to)
- We share the books before the meeting and at the meeting (so it’s no big deal if someone doesn’t get a copy)
- We read the books at home with our children ahead of time so that they come to know and love each month’s book
- We meet at a regular time and day each month in the morning (this allows for the working moms and daycare kids to still join in before going in to work/daycare a bit late on that one day)
- We each bring a food item and a craft supply to pull together all the items needed for each month’s activity and snack (we email coordinate this ahead of time)
- We read the book together as a group
- We do an activity based on the book
- We create a snack based on the book
- We eat together, hang out, then part ways
Our baby book club has been a highlight of my month ever since it started. I would encourage any group of parents interested in doing something similar to get a group together and read a book each month with your kids. Your group can be as informal/big/small/organized as you want it to be. For our group, we’ve reached that magic number of just enough kids that it works without being overwhelmingly chaotic. It also helps that our kids are roughly the same age so that the same type of activities and books appeal to them. The oldest child in our group right now is just a little over two years old and the youngest will turn two in September.
When we set the book schedule for the year, everyone chimed in with books they loved and we collaboratively determined our reading list. We tried to match books to the seasons thematically, ie: reading about fall and apples in September and about snow and winter in December. During October’s meeting, we brought all the kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes and we read Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz.
Do you have something like this in your community? It’s never too early to create readers and lovers of literature! If you don’t have something like this where you live, how about starting a baby book club yourself?