Searching for a way to ""spend some special time"" with her nine-year-old daughter that would ""help us understand each other better,"" Dodson, the assistant director of the Smithsonian Institution's Center for African American History and Culture, hit upon the idea of forming a book club composed of mothers and their young daughters, who would work together to generate a reading list and then gather regularly to discuss what they had read. The idea was an immediate success. The group discussions, Dodson notes, ""offered a unique combination of intellectual and personal sharing,"" bringing mothers and daughters (whose ages ranged from 9 to 12) closer together and allowing them to discuss some difficult issues in a nonconfrontational manner. The book is both a record of Dodson's experiences and a detailed explanation of how to form such a club. It includes a number of brief essays by the children in Dodson's group, short pieces by authors and teachers stressing the value of such groups, and reading lists provided by a variety of noted authors.