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The joy of adults and children reading together – we chat to authors of The Giant Forest to create stronger ties with the people who are important to you? Then, why not read a book like The Giant Forest with your tween or teen.

What is the book about? A group of five friends visit a 170-year-old church camp set in a forest in the Santa Cruz mountains in California. Each member of the group gets lost in the giant forest, and must find each other, before they can find their way home together.

There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter for parent and child or student and teacher.

We asked the authors of the book, father and daughter team Bill and Mia Belew to tell us more:

What motivated you to write the book and was it hard to work together?

My daughter, a voracious reader, found it increasingly difficult to find books that were appropriate for her vocabulary and maturity level. She read the entire Harry Potter series, for example, when she was 8. With slim pickings, we decided we would create our own series.We have finished the first three books (1300+ pages) and are beginning on book 4. We enjoy brainstorming together. It's one of our favorite topics when we are in the car going to/from school or on a long trip ... or a bike ride ... or just out for a walk. Our faith is very important to us. The themes in our books will reflect that in a C. S. Lewis kind of way. Though he was much better at it. But, hey, give Mia another 40 years (she's 12 now) ... and I am sure she'll give Lewis more than a run for his money [chuckles].

Was the decision to include the questions at the end of each chapter a conscious decision to encourage parents and their kids and kids and their teachers to read together?

The questions at the end of each chapter were a conscious decision that I came up with – to encourage relationships between kids and the adults in their lives. Mia and I have discussed those questions many times over. (Not all of them, of course). I drove her to and from school for nearly seven years before she started biking herself to junior high. One of her favourite questions that she has asked me often, "Tell me a time, Dad, when you got in trouble." In my case, I have a lot of experiences to choose from."

Have you had any other feedback from parents or educators and most importantly, children?

We tested those questions with beta parent/child readers and with student/teacher groups in an online format. We found that kids were really eager to discuss those questions especially when the adults in their lives were willing to open up about their own life experiences. Reading and finishing the chapters in the book at the same pace made for natural transitions for non-forced yet important discussions. The kids in class also enjoyed discussing them with one another, too!

You can find a list of questions for discussion here on Amazon.

You can follow Bill and Mia Belew here:

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