An update from our twenty-fifth Book Club meeting!
On Saturday, March 27, the Stone Soup Book Club discussed The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall. The Penderwicks, the first book in a series of five, is about four sisters and their father, and all of the adventures they encounter when they rent a summer home in the Berkshires.
Our Book Club meeting, which was attended by around 35 participants from multiple countries, started with everyone being sent into small breakout rooms, so they could get to know each other a little bit better. Their conversation starter was “spring”, and what spring looks like where they live!
When we all came back together, we debriefed the book (most everyone enjoyed it!) and then split into four breakout rooms—led by myself, Laura, and two of our Book Club facilitators: Lucy and Madeline). In these rooms, we talked about The Penderwicks in more depth, including the characters, setting, plot, and themes. When we shared out about our discussions afterward, we found that many people had picked up on the sort of “reverse fairy-tale” motif carried throughout the book, and we were able to have a fun conversation about this!
Next, we talked about inspiration. As writers, what other authors have inspired our work? We used The Penderwicks, which is inspired by Little Women (by Louisa May Alcott) as an example. After we analyzed those novels and their similarities and differences, we talked about our own inspirations, including authors such as Rick Riordan, Markus Zusak, and J.R.R Tolkien.
Our final activity was a writing prompt. The Penderwicks, although it is realistic fiction, seems to take place in a magical setting, because it is so idyllic. So, we asked our participants to write about a summer experience they had that felt magical. We shared our answers in breakout rooms, and it was really fun to hear about summer homes, lakes, hiking, and more!
At the end of Book Club, we chose our next book, which will be discussed on April 24—the first meeting of our spring Book Club session!
To sign up for the spring/summer session of Book Club, visit our Eventbrite page here.
Our Next Book (to be discussed on April 24): Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin
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