Just before Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of hosting a The Secret Garden book club with almost 25 young readers whose ages ranged from 7 to 14. It was one of our “mixed” book clubs that celebrates the kind of book that is especially good for family read aloud – a book that everyone will love to read together and be able to get something out of.

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Originally, this book club was supposed to be part of our Young Ladies Tea series. The girls, however, argued that this book had two boy main characters and only one girl main character, so they thought it should include their brothers. I loved their willingness to share their club, so I opened it up to the boys.

Several years ago I heard about LitWits and have always wanted to try one of their kits. I purchased the Secret Garden kit and thought that it was full of great and creative suggestions. I am not being paid to recommend them; I am positive that they do not even know I exist. That said, I never used the kit! I have been ill for the last few months, so just hosting a regular book club has been as much as I could handle. Preparing the activities that LitWits suggested was just too much for me. If, however, you are hosting a Secret Garden club in a large space with kids who love tactile activities, I do recommend checking out their kit!

Here are some of the discussion questions we used to guide our conversation:

  • Why are there so many disagreeable characters in this story?
  • Who is the most disagreeable? Why? Do they have a right to be? Is it helping them to be so?
  • Who undergoes the greatest transformation?
  • There is so much talk about magic in this book. How should we Christians read that theme?
  • If we read magic as being miracle, does that remain faithful to what we think was the author’s intention?
  • Colin and Mary have both suffered from neglect and trauma. Does that excuse their rudeness?
  • Dicken is very poor, but he is full of life, joy, and good manners. Isn’t he entitled to be rude? Where does he get his goodness?
  • Why is the garden a good setting for this book? Would this story be the same if it had a different setting?