The Beginning of "The Beginning of Your Life Book Club"

I can tell you the exact moment that I had the idea for this project. It was in Nov of 2016 during a conversation with Pete from The Rabbit Hole. But I’m going to save that story for another day.

Today, I’m going to tell you the story of the name of my project. I’d had this project (or some form of it) stewing for almost a year. Didn’t exactly know what shape it’d take. Didn’t exactly know what to call it. Didn’t exactly know what I was doing. (Still barely do!)


But I found myself remembering a book I read in 2013 when I was assigned to the Sympathy and Encouragement cards at Hallmark. I’d never worked on sympathy before so I began researching. I finally picked up this new book my mom had told me about called “The End of Your Life Book Club” by Will Schwalbe - a memoir about the last two years of Schwalbe’s mother’s life during which time he accompanied her on her chemotherapy treatments and together they read books all the while. An informal book club of two.

The same year I read Schwalbe’s book, my aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer and some dear friends in our family learned that their infant son would likely not survive his congenital heart condition. I struggled to find the right words for my family and friends - even though I’m good at “finding the right words” since that is basically my full time job at Hallmark! Reading Schwalbe’s book was a powerful resource for me.

What does this have to do with children’s books? So much more than it seems on the surface. I promise. At its core, Will Schwable’s book - and my experience of it - is about what reading can do for each of us - about how our bonds can be strengthened by books - and about how reading bolsters us as we explore the world around us and the world within us.

Then it dawned on me - every night when I read with my kids, we are in our own little book club. We’re doing just what Will Schwalbe and his mom did - just with much shorter books and at the other end of life. The beginning of life. matter where Mom and I were on our individual journeys, we could still share books, and while reading those books, we wouldn’t be the sick person and the well person; we would simply be a mother and a son entering new worlds together.
— Will Schwalbe

Here’s to entering new worlds with the ones you love - at any age.