Everyone brought their book review forms to the meeting and we took turns sharing our booktalks and talking about readalikes. Choosing readalikes and figuring out grade/age levels are going to come more easily the more we practice and talk about books.
We also talked about mysteries and readers' advisory in general a bit. My staff noted the great diversity in tone, length, and reading level of the books that we shared. We talked about genre-benders and the variety of different books that fit into the mystery genre. We often have children coming in needing to read a particular genre for school and by exploring a variety of books, we're more likely to be able to find something that's going to appeal to them.
Here are the books my staff booktalked at our meeting (links go to my review if it's a book I've reviewed or GoodReads if it's not one I've reviewed):
- The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes #1) by Nancy Springer
- The Dunderheads Behind Bars by Paul Fleischman
- The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty
- The Legend of Diamond Lil: A J.J. Tully Mystery by Doreen Cronin
- The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
- My Grandfather the Spy by Corinne Gerson
- Paris Pan Takes the Dare by Cynthea Liu
- Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave by Deron Hicks
- Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach
- Spying on Miss Muller by Eve Bunting
- Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket
I also invited our teen librarian to play along (of course she's not required to participate every month or fill out the book review forms or anything) and she read The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington.
Staff had little guidance in choosing books. I did provide a list of possibilities, but I also encouraged them to look outside the list and pick something different if they wanted to. I think there was maybe only one title that was read by more than one person. It's fine if that happens, but I'm also glad that we had such a variety. Everyone (including myself) walked away with a bigger list of mystery titles in our readers' advisory arsenal than we'd had before. Which is exactly the point!
The genre for our next meeting is Science Fiction! Any recommendations for great middle-grade sci-fi?