The Bulletin of

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of the Center for Children's Books

The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist available as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.

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Musings with Mom: A Mother-Daughter Book Club Dozen

--selected by Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor

M oms. We love ‘em. And what better gift to give her than some quality time with her daughter - or son, for that matter - discussing books? This is, after all, the woman who has given up much of her leisure reading time to look after you, so we here at the Bulletin think you owe her a bit. To help you get started, this month’s Dozens features moms, their kids, and plenty of fodder for discussions that may give both sides of the mama-kid relationship things to ponder.

Mother dozen

Atkins, Jeannine. Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters. Holt, 2010.  Gr. 7 up

Free-verse poems follow the complicated relationship of three famous mothers, all born in the same year, and their daughters; the lyrical yet accessible verse offers both biographical insight and an emotional treatment of that fundamental connection. (BCCB 6/10)


Bolden, Tonya. Finding Family. Bloomsbury, 2010. Gr. 4-7

Inspired by century-old photographs collected from various sources, this story of an early twentieth century African-American girl unraveling the mystery of her heritage will appeal to fans of historical fiction and family drama. (BCCB 10/10)


Burgis, Stephanie.  Kat, Incorrigible. Atheneum, 2011. Gr. 5-8

This breezy, delightful romp through Regency England follows the indomitable twelve-year-old Kat as she invokes magic in order to save her oldest sister from an unwelcome marriage. (BCCB 5/11)


Couloumbis, Audrey.  Jake. Random House, 2010. Gr. 3-5

This tender yet unsentimental story follows ten-year-old Jake as he discovers the strength of his extended and somewhat makeshift family after his mother breaks her leg prior to Christmas. (BCCB 12/10)


Davis, Tanita S. Mare’s War. Knopf, 2009. Gr. 7-10

Octavia and Tali are dreading driving cross-country with their grandmother, Mare, but the experience gives them a new window on Mare’s life when she reveals her tough and hard-working past, especially her service in the 6888th African American Battalion in the World War II Women’s Army. (BCCB 9/09)


Dowell, Frances O’Roark The Kind of Friends We Used to Be. Atheneum, 2009. Gr. 5-7

This standalone sequel to The Secret Language of Girls sees Kate and Marylin starting their seventh-grade year and beginning to develop their own identities in a story remarkable for its blend of accessibility and sympathetic perception. (BCCB 5/09)


Frazier, Angie.  The Midnight Tunnel. Scholastic, 2011. Gr. 4-6

This wonderfully atmospheric period whodunit features Zanna Snow, who works in her family’s hotel but who really longs to be a detective—and finally gets her chance. (BCCB 3/11)


Hurwitz, Michele.  Weber Calli Be Gold. Lamb, 2011. Gr. 4-6

Eleven-year-old Calli, the quiet, noncompetitive member of a high-powered, all-go family, finally stages a revolt when her family fails to acknowledge the importance of her achievements in this accessible and engaging novel. (BCCB 5/11)


Kelly, Jacqueline.  The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Holt, 2009. Gr. 5-8

This story of a small-town Texas girl looking into the twentieth century with a thirst for science and a wonder about what the future will hold for her is a winning blend of humorous family story and natural-history exploration that recalls L.M. Montgomery and Ellen Klages’ Green Glass Sea. (BCCB 7/09)


McKay, Hilary. Saffy’s Angel; Indigo’s Star; Permanent Rose; Caddy Ever After; Forever Rose. McElderry, 2002-2008.  Gr. 5-9

With astuteness and warmth, McKay offers up a portrait of the Cassons and their four children as they navigate the familiar landscapes of domestic drama.


O’Connor, Sheila. Sparrow Road. Putnam, 2011. Gr. 4-6

Twelve-year-old Raine and her mother are spending the summer at a writers’ getaway, where Raine bonds with the artists, explores her own writing, and discovers the father she’s never known in this fluidly and thoughtfully written novel. (BCCB 6/11)


Rupp, Rebecca. Octavia Boone’s Big Questions about Life, the Universe, and Everything. Candlewick, 2010. Gr. 5-8

A careful blend of humor and hope infuses this tale of one girl’s struggle to come to terms with the new dynamics of her family after her mother takes off to find enlightenment. (BCCB 10/10)


Stead, Rebecca. When You Reach Me. Lamb, 2009. Gr. 4-7

Miranda begins to receive strange notes that seem to predict the future in this intriguing and original book that adds a big surprise to a seemingly familiar everyday-life story. (BCCB 9/09)


Ursu, Anne.  Breadcrumbs; illus. by Erin McGuire. Walden Pond/HarperCollins, 2011. Gr. 4-7

A wintry fairy-tale forest provides the backdrop to this poignant tale of a young girl negotiating the transition from the magical world of childhood to the confusing place of adolescence. (BCCB 10/11)


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This page was last updated on May 1, 2012.