A New Chapter

Parent-child book groups can be a rewarding way for mothers and their sons to get on the same page

On this Chicago night, four suburban mothers sip white wine and Diet Coke while dissecting Michael Chabon's latest best seller. This could be any women's book group, save for the four boys, ages 11 to 14, who keep scarfing popcorn, cracking jokes and voicing their comments about Summerland, Chabon's highly touted children's novel. When the moms admit some confusion over Chabon's mystical baseball epic, Mason Marshall, 14, comes to their rescue. "A lot of it was mythology, Norse mythology and Indian mythology," he explains through a mouthful of popcorn.

The natural offspring of book clubs for adults, parent-child discussion groups--such as...

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