Thursday, July 12, 2012

I love booktalking. That is all.

Last week, we had another visit from one of the daycares that is bringing kids to the library this summer. It's been a bit of a learning curve for both their group and for us, trying to figure out how to make the visits go smoothly, but I think we're finally figuring it out. I'm glad they scheduled several visits over the summer because each one is getting better (and because the kids are checking out and reading some really cool books!).

The group consists of anywhere from 20-40 kids ranging in age from Kindergartners to 7th graders, so when they arrive we split them into two groups. We do a storytime program for the younger group (we suggested K-3rd grade) and then booktalks for the older group (4th-7th grade, or however they want to split it up).

I've been booktalking for the older group and I posted about what I had booktalked for them before. This time around, I was quite excited to be booktalking for the group again. I had a better idea of who my audience would be so I could select books catered to their needs. I was also excited to incorporate book trailers to change things up a bit (and to give my voice a break, honestly).

Here's what I booktalked this time around:

Calamity Jack by Shannon and Dean Hale. I knew they'd snatch this one up since Rapunzel's Revenge had been a hit on their first visit.

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading by Tom Greenwald. This is a great funny book for non-readers and readers alike. Hand it to your Wimpy Kid fans.

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems by Douglas Florian. I booktalk this one by reading the Pluto poem. 'Nuff said.

Greetings From Nowhere by Barbara O'Connor. I showed the book trailer for this one! One of my favorites:

Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka. There are so many great passages to read, but my favorite is the one where they pee on the space heater (the end of Chapter 3, I believe).

Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf by Jenni Holm. The cool graphic format sells itself!

Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer. My kids love fairy tales, so it's hard to say whether the subject matter or the poetic structure was a bigger draw.

Mythlopedia: She's All That and Mythlopedia: What a Beast. This is a popular series in our Children's Room.

No Talking by Andrew Clements. I end this booktalk by asking the kids who they think would win the no-talking contest, the boys or the girls?

Shark Life by Peter Benchley. This is one of my very favorite boy books. Written by the author of Jaws, it's nonstop adventure shark diving with Peter Benchley. The kids are like "You had me at 'sharks'".

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret. I showed them pictures of an iron lung to introduce this one. (PS: This is one of my go-to autobiographies when that assignment rolls around... It reads like fiction, which is a big draw for kids who aren't excited for biographies.)

Technically It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems by John Grandits. I show them what I mean by concrete poems and then read the title poem on the front cover. Hi-larious!

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke. I started the whole shebang by showing the book trailer for this book. Book trailers can be AWESOME for graphic novels because the art is such a big appeal factor.

Booktalking for this group has been really fun this summer and it's reminded me how much I love it. I did much more booktalking at my last library where we had some solid partnerships with the schools. I haven't yet connected with the right people to make booktalking happen at my current local schools, but remembering how much I love it makes me want to try harder this fall to make some connections and get in there

I love figuring out the "hook" of a book, that place in the plot where I can leave them hanging and wanting more... enough to check out the book and read it themselves to find out what happens. I'm excited by the idea of incorporating book trailers and multimedia to shake things up a little bit. When booktalking regularly, I'm inspired to keep up with the newest books hitting the shelves so that I always have some fresh material to pull forth. I'm also inspired to revisit some old favorites so that their plots and appeal elements are fresh in my head.

What are some of your favorite titles and how do you present them to kids?