Moms and daughters don’t let summer fry their brains

Zoe and mom Cyndi Katz. Zoe urged her mom to create a book club for mothers and daughters.

A group of mothers and daughters in Point Dume have formed a book club that gives moms quality time with their daughters and allows the younger to share their summer reading lists with their mothers.

By Susan Reines/Special to The Malibu Times

A group of eight mother/daughter pairs made the most of the daughters’ required reading lists this summer, taking the opportunity to begin a book club that is planned to continue throughout the school year.

The mother/daughter book club was created at the urging of 10-year-old Zoe Katz, who decided she wanted to be in a book club after hearing her mother and her former fifth grade teacher talk about their women’s book club.

Zoe’s mother, Cyndi Katz, said the club was not a result of an inadequate reading program at Point Dume Marine Science Elementary, from which Zoe just graduated-on the contrary, Katz said, “Point Dume has an excellent [reading] background and really good classes, and I think that helped promote the idea.”

In fact, the teacher Zoe had last year for fifth grade at Point Dume, who belongs to the same book club as the senior Katz, accepted an invitation to attend the first meeting of the mother/daughter book club in July and even came prepared with a discussion-promoting activity.

All the daughters in the club are beginning sixth grade at Malibu Middle School in September, and they must read two books from a summer reading list before the school year begins.

The moms and daughters chose what the Katzes called “the only classic book” on the daughters’ summer reading list, L. M. Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables,” for the first mother/daughter book club meeting.

Cyndi Katz said she and Zoe read the book together, out loud, allowing them to stop and discuss difficult sections.

“‘Anne of Green Gables’ was written so long ago that it’s written in a language that they [the daughters in the club] don’t really even understand,” Katz said. “But when we read it together we could stop and talk about what they were saying … she [Zoe] ended up loving the book.”

All the members of the mother/daughter club wrote reviews of the book before the club’s first meeting, and judging from Cyndi and Zoe Katz’s reviews, mothers and daughters found common ground in the 96-year-old classic.

“Experiencing everything a child of her [Zoe’s] age would typically go through from feelings of not being wanted, peer pressure, having a best friend and feeling pride in who we are, this book brought many discussions and precious moments of conversation to our household,” Cyndi Katz wrote. “‘Anne of Green Gables’ is the perfect age, preteen, for my daughter who is 10 1/2 to relate to. The timelessness of the book, one of the characteristics of being a classic, helps us all realize that events that occur in our lives whether in the past or the present can easily be paralleled. So many experiences of Anne Shirley, the main character of the book, can be related to, many of the experiences our children go through today … Our reactions and opinions seem similar to those Anne Shirley may have had even though we’re several generations apart.”

Zoe wrote, as her mother suspected, that she could identify with Anne Shirley.

“Anne always used her imagination, and I can relate to that because I like using my imagination,” Zoe wrote. “Anne always got herself into lots of trouble, but she didn’t mean to and I can relate to that too! Sometimes I go and do stuff that I am not supposed to be doing, and that’s how Anne was. She always loved playing with her friends, she loved the outdoors and all the beauty of natural things, loved to read and I can relate to all of those things too!”

Cyndi Katz said she hoped publicizing the mother/daughter book club in the newspaper would inspire other parents and children to form similar clubs.

“It’s such a great opportunity for us to bond with our daughters and keep the reading factor alive,” Katz said.