Zooming with the PA Book Club

The PA Book Club kicked off its first meeting of 2021 by discussing Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, in both morning and evening Zoom sessions. Currently on the GSB student reading list, the young adult novel portrays a teen's life and touches on mental illness and how it affects the protagonist's family.

"Reading a good book is a wonderful escape during these crazy times," said PA Book Club Chair Monica Micera. "Having a book club can provide a great platform to learn, share ideas, and discuss different topics."

For the two meetings, Upper School Head Librarian Kristen Armstrong facilitated, with Upper School Counselor Emily Haberman and Lower and Middle School Counselor Jessica Robina in attendance. The riveting conversations were interspersed with personal stories, questions for our counselors about mental health, and quotes read by Ms. Armstrong. Parents found the Mom character in the story relatable, as she sometimes spun out of control with her parenting, while having the best intentions.

Counselors on the calls provided suggestions for parents and their children to have in their toolbox to deal with life's stressors, such as gratitude journals, meditation, yoga, and journaling. Ms. Haberman explained the growth of a teenager's brain with a driving analogy. "I find it helpful to teach students about how their brain works to give some sense of order to the chaotic emotions they can experience," she said. "They are like super cars with high horsepower, but poor steering. They have strong intellectual reasoning and can think abstractly, but their impulse control is still developing. That combination can make for a bumpy ride. It takes practice to learn how to drive their very powerful machines." Then Ms. Robina talked about the difference between dealing with depression because of a specific event or an imbalance versus dealing with trauma. Other recommended titles that touch on the topic of mental health include "Turtles All the Way Down" by John Green and "On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety" by Andrea Petersen.

This spring, parents can join another book discussion when the PA Book Club hosts its next Zoom meeting about the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett. While the PA Book club finalizes the late-April date, participants can enjoy this new page-turner, a Good Morning American Book Club selection. The novel provides an engrossing multi-generational tale about family and relationships as it chronicles the lives of identical twin sisters, who grew up in two distinctly different worlds: one black and one white. We hope you will join us!

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