What trends in adult lit­er­a­ture often sees its reflec­tion in children’s pub­li­ca­tions — and now, more than ever, the oth­er way around. In review­ing the 2014 – 2015 JBC Net­work titles, con­sid­er the par­al­lel sub­jects between the dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the Authors on Tour book. Here’s one that jumped out at us right away:

Shang­hai Escape is Kathy Kac­ers lat­est Holo­caust remem­brance book for young read­ers. It shares the expe­ri­ence of the over twen­ty thou­sand Jews who fled Europe for Shang­hai through the true sto­ry of Lily Tou­far and her fam­i­ly, Vien­nese Jews who escaped imme­di­ate­ly after Kristall­nacht. In a nar­ra­tive pep­pered with pri­ma­ry doc­u­ments and pho­tographs, young read­ers learn of the inter­war com­mu­ni­ty in Shang­hai and the reset­tle­ment of the Jew­ish refugees to a Hongkew ghet­to under Japan­ese edict after Shang­hai fell to the Land of the Ris­ing Sun.

This same piece of Shanghai’s his­to­ry is explored in Nicole Mon­ess his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, Night in Shang­hai. Told through the per­spec­tive of a young black jazz musi­cian who head­lines the city’s inter­war nightlife scene, the nov­el touch­es on the inter­na­tion­al bal­ances before the Chi­nese Jazz Age,” the strug­gle between nation­al­ists and the bud­ding Com­mu­nist move­ment, the long-stand­ing enmi­ty between Chi­na and Japan, and the plight of the Jew­ish refugees stream­ing in as heav­i­ly and swift­ly as Ho Feng-Shan could sign escape visas.

Shelly Sanders is also par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2014 – 2015 JBC Net­work with the third and final install­ment of her Rachel tril­o­gy, Rachel’s Hope. Based on the true sur­vival sto­ry of her grand­moth­er, Sander’s three-part series fol­lows the pro­tag­o­nist as she and her fam­i­ly flee progroms in Rus­sia in hopes of reach­ing Amer­i­ca. The sec­ond install­ment of the tril­o­gy, Rachel’s Promise, takes place in Shang­hai, where Rachel works as a laun­dress and aspir­ing writer while she and her fam­i­ly are way­laid in the Far East. The Rachel tril­o­gy is con­sid­ered appro­pri­ate for read­ers ages 10 and up and would make a for great par­ent-teen book club program.

We’ve been hear­ing a lot about par­ent-child book clubs in the past few months, in which chil­dren and their par­ents read and dis­cuss a book that suits the younger read­ers’ ages and read­ing lev­el. It’s a pro­gram that teach­ers, librar­i­ans, and par­ents have put togeth­er as a means of encour­ag­ing read­ing and social inter­ac­tion, and of fos­ter­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion between par­ents and their kids.

It’s a great mod­el, but it can also be pushed a step fur­ther: Add a com­pan­ion read for the adults in the group, with the estab­lish­ment of a sup­ple­men­tal parent’s book club to fol­low up on the dis­cus­sion and expe­ri­ences shared with the younger read­ers. How did the children’s book inform the par­ents’ read­ing of the accom­pa­ny­ing selec­tion of adult lit­er­a­ture? Did the kids’ obser­va­tions in the inter­gen­er­a­tional club affect the adults’ per­cep­tion of the sec­ond book? What was each family’s process for read­ing the shared book, and how did the expe­ri­ence dif­fer from the adult solo?

There are a num­ber of online resources for start­ing a par­ent-child book club — and you can always avail your­self of the JBC Book Club Concierge for addi­tion­al sup­port. Our favorite sug­ges­tions are keep­ing a book jour­nal to share or at least ref­er­ence dur­ing club meet­ings and hold­ing a hands-on activ­i­ty to add an expe­ri­en­tial com­po­nent to pro­cess­ing the book (and to keep the par­tic­i­pants engaged!).

Vol­umes have been writ­ten on the Amer­i­can Jew­ish rela­tion­ship with Chi­nese cui­sine — let this be an oppor­tu­ni­ty for kids to explore their tastes! Incor­po­rate a food work­shop — learn to make dumplings, rice cakes, or hand-pulled noo­dles, for exam­ple — or hold the event at a local Chi­nese restau­rant, mak­ing sure to have the staff help plan and explain the menu. If you can, try to find an estab­lish­ment that serves cui­sine authen­tic to Shang­hai or its sur­round­ing provinces.

And what bet­ter activ­i­ty is there than a ses­sion with the author her­self? If your com­mu­ni­ty is plan­ning to host Kathy, Nicole, or Shelly, plan to attend their event as a club. Younger read­ers will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to address the author with ideas and ques­tions honed and devel­oped — and record­ed in a book jour­nal, if the read­er does main­tain one — in dis­cus­sion with their peers and par­ents. If the author can­not make it to your com­mu­ni­ty in per­son, arrange to Skype her in through the JBC LiveChat program!