The Pleasanton (Calif.) Public Library is this month’s featured library for their recently launched book club for parents, Challenge Success Parents, which addresses issues related to parenting. This is the first time the library has organized a group for this particular demographic, but the reception has been positive, as both participants and library organizers believe the group to be necessary, given the current demands put on students by schoolwork and extracurricular activities.
The book club began as an extension of the Challenge Success program in place at schools in the area. The program began in schools two years ago after a survey of two thousand local students found that they felt overwhelmed by the pressures put on them, and were unsure how to cope. As a result, schools are striving to help students determine—and achieve—their own definitions of success. This may mean that acceptance to an Ivy League school, or being class president, are no longer students’ overriding, and driving, goals. Instead, the goal of the program is to create students who are engaged, fulfilled, and balanced.
In an attempt to aid these goals, the book club for parents emerged, to bring them into the conversation, and offer suggestions about raising children in the current—often competitive— school environment. The Price of Privilege, written by psychologist Madeline Levine, one of the co-creators of Stanford University’s Challenge Success program, was the first title read by the group. The book club will read two more titles over the course of the school year—Denise Pope’s Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic and Miseducated Students, and Alfie Kohn’s The Homework Myth. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for December 4, and additional accompanying events are being planned.