Mother Daughter Book Club: The Secret Hum of a Daisy

This month, our Mother Daughter book club for girls 11 and up and their moms read a beautiful book called The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer.  And at last night’s meeting, we were graced by a special guest: Tracy Holczer!

We had a great turnout, around 25 people–our club has really grown!  Tracy answered all our questions about how her own childhood inspired this book, what it was like writing it, and where the characters and setting came from.  She set the story in a beautiful place called Auburn Valley, which is actually based on a couple of places in Northern California where she grew up.  Some of our girls and their moms have actually been there and could speak to how truly gorgeous it is there!

I loved this book–it’s one of my favorite books we have read this year.  The writing is deep and lyrical.  The characters and setting are well-drawn.  The book follows an orphaned girl named Grace whose single mother has tragically died.  Completely against her will, Grace is sent to live with the grandmother who many years ago kicked her then-pregnant mother out.  Grace would give anything to return to the Greenes, the family she and her mother had been staying with at the time of her mom’s death.  Grace hates her grandma and wants to make her suffer.  But it takes time before the locked-up place inside herself clicks open to accepting love, friendship and remorse from others.  Over time, she learns to change her internal “picture” of other people, creates a new home, and learns important truths about her parents.

Tracy talked about the book she is currently in the process of writing, which sounds like it will be another heartfelt exploration of what family and home mean, this time through the relationship of a father and daughter.  I look forward to reading it.  I also hope to have Tracy come back to be a writing instructor for one of our monthly writing workshops for kids ages 8-12.  She has worked very hard on her craft and I know she’ll have a lot of insights for the kids!

After our Q&A with Tracy, everybody got their books signed (I had bought around 20 copies of the book for participants to keep) and everybody signed something for Tracy too:

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I wanted to get a nice jar like the Answer Jars in the book, but when I couldn’t find one I ended up with this pretty blue box which I decorated with daisies and had the kids sign their names in the flowers.  Just something to show our appreciation to Tracy for her book and for being so sweet coming to visit us!

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As book club wrapped up, many girls stayed to make an origami crane (cranes are a major motif in Holczer’s book).

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Another cool thing that happened is that several girls really connected and became friends last night.  I love that!  Libraries are such a great space for bringing people together around shared interests and kindling new friendships.  I love this group.  Every month is a joy!

Next month’s meeting will be on Wednesday, February 17th to discuss the book One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.  We have a few copies available at the Children’s Desk if you are interested!  Call 626-744-4066 option 4 if you would like to sign up for the book club.

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian currently working at the Lamanda Park Branch Library while Central Library is closed for seismic repairs. I purchase juvenile fiction for grades 2-8, and some foreign languages. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including 3 regular book clubs (Windows and Mirrors, Read Around the World, and Lucha Libros), as well as writing workshops and STEAM/science programs. I also Infant/Toddler Storytimes and Preschool Storytimes, and outreach to local area preschools. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book on creative writing activities for kids.

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