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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Booktalking, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 16 of 16
1. Booktalking Season

Last year I was so organized that I shared my booktalks online, while this year I've been lucky if they are mentally rehearsed before I go into the school. I've had a lot on my mind.

But whether or not I have a graduating senior or need to plan the Girl Scout bridging ceremony for over a hundred girls, our booktalking season is upon us. Quite late this year as our kids are still in school. In fact, that senior doesn't even get to do the graduating part until June 23rd. Crazy, right? It's especially frustrating as other high schools were done yesterday, but we all have to take our turn with the local university facilities and we are last. It's ridiculous.

So far I've gone into two elementary schools to talk about the summer reading program and booktalk some titles, and it's gone well. I had a great partner both times, which really helps. We have different kinds of books, and we can take turns with the introductions and the talking. I'm not thrilled to be heading out tomorrow alone for a four hour stretch with no breaks and seven class sessions. Is that how other public libraries do it, I wonder?

Later I'll share some of the books I talked about this year. My "hooks" weren't as good as usual, but there were definitely some titles that caught their attention. It was great luck being able to pitch a soccer book - Keeper, by Mal Peet - during the World Cup games. Lots of interest there!

0 Comments on Booktalking Season as of 6/18/2014 5:05:00 PM
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2. Back to Work

Last week I was speculating on going back to work in the public library system. Now with two work days behind me, I can say that it's all good.

My main worry had been not knowing what I didn't know. Having done the job for nine years, I was aware that subtle but significant changes can take place along over time. Different procedures, new databases, and branch particulars could influence the things I thought I knew. Then there are the things I've forgotten almost entirely, like trouble-shooting the Internet sign-ups and print jobs.

As it turns out, that wasn't as much a problem as I feared. The books, the library, the customer service are all coming back like riding a bicycle. If the other parts keep me a bit off-balance, then maybe it's like riding a unicycle. But either way, it's not stressful. My co-workers are nice, helpful, and understanding. The patrons have been patient, even when I lead them in the completely wrong direction in the library. (Oops.) There are definitely some things I need to learn or relearn, but I'm getting back in the game quickly.

In fact, I'll do my first book talking session in a week! I had been planning to do this as a volunteer anyway, so I did have some books planned. My Fair County puts together a list of books for the Summer Reading Program that used to consist of new titles, but now pulls from years of great books. The good thing for me is that they are titles I've used before, making the work that much easier. Of course, I never write these things down, so maybe not that much easier.

A Fine, Fine SchoolSince I'm starting with a kindergarten through third grade, my focus is on picture books today. Sharon Creech has written the perfect booktalk title with A Fine, Fine School about a principal who thinks school should go all the time because he's so proud of his students and teachers. Reading about keeping school going all year long is so much fun to do in a room full of kids days before summer break. I'm also looking at Bark, George as a read aloud, because it's first title I ever booktalked. Yup, really. I already have a stuffed rabbit to wear on my head to introduce A Boy and his Bunny, which I'll pitch as a beginning reader as well as a picture book. I'm also looking to the wonderful Steve Jenkins for Prehistoric Actual Size and the new Just a Second. Of course, it wouldn't be me if I didn't bring the magic of Mo Willems to my booktalk with the Elephant and Piggie series. I'm still pinning down my early chapter book selection

1 Comments on Back to Work, last added: 5/23/2012
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3. Fusenews: Sifting the Nifty

From sopping wet New York City here is your philosophical question of the day: If April showers bring May flowers, what the heck do May showers bring?  Ponder that while I hand you a piping hot plate o’ Fusenews.

  • My library branch is turning 100 next week (you may have noticed the pretty New Yorker cover that referenced this) but it’s acting pretty spry for a centennial.  For one thing, NYPL is coming out left and right with fancy dancy apps!  Here’s one for the researchers.  Here’s another that’s a game.  Here’s a third that lets you reserve books.  Insanity!
  • This week’s Best Post Ever: Travis Jonker is a genius.  A full-blown, certified genius.  He’s come up with a Middle Grade Title Generator that leaps on the current trend of titles that sound like “The (insert word ending in -ion) of (insert slightly off kilter first and last name for girls)”.  He came up with a couple examples like “The Gentrification of Geraldine Frankenbloom” but his commenters really picked up the gist of the idea and ran with it.  Rockinlibrarian’s “The Zombification of Apple McGillicutty” (which I would read in a red hot minute) may be my favorite but a close second was Lisa’s “The Excommunication of Willow Diddledeedee.”  I got nothing so cool.  The best I could come up with was “The Computerization of Sarasota McNerdly.”  I doubt it would sell.
  • Adam Rex recently penned a post that works as An Open Letter to Everyone Who Thinks It Must Be Easy, Writing Children’s Books.  It’s in response to Paula Poundstone (whom I also like) and her recent faux pas on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me when she told Brenda Bowen that she thought it would be easy to write a picture book.  Note, if you will, that Poundstone has not actually attempted to do so.  In fact, the only stand-up comedian picture books that immediately come to mind are those by Whoopie Goldberg, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jeff Foxworthy.  And weren’t those memorable!  Not in a good way, of course.  Particularly the Leno.  *shudder*
  • She wrote it back in 2006 but it still applies today (particularly in conjunction with Adam Rex’s post).  Meghan McCarthy asks the age old question What makes us qualified to write for children? I believe Anne Carroll Moore once asked Ursula Nordstrom the same question about editing for children (a cookie for everyone who remembers Nordstrom’s response).  Yet another reason why we need to follow-up on Peter Sieruta’s suggestion to create an Anne Carroll Moore/Ursula Nordstrom crime solver series.  I envision Moore as the Bert to Nordstrom’s Ernie, don’t you?
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4. Fusenews: Time to class the joint up

Nice movie poster, right?  Wouldn’t look too shabby in your local cineplex.  Well, don’t get too excited quite yet.  It seems that Sean Astin (a.k.a. Sam from the Lord of the Rings trilogy) is raising money to start production on this film, to be shot in Denmark.  Lowry reports on the process, though she is understandably leery since she saw what happened with The Giver film.  Which is to say, not much.  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.

There’s nothing like going viral to sell a book or two.  Though The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy came out a good three years ago, thanks to the 90-Second Newbery film of A Wrinkle in Time it caught the attention of Cory Doctorow over at BoingBoing.  And I like to write reviews, but I feel true green-eyed review envy when I read someone write a descriptive sentence like, “An epic novel of exotic pie, Götterdämmerung, mutants, evil, crime, and musical theater, Odd-Fish is a truly odd fish, as mannered and crazy as an eel in a tuxedo dropped down your trousers during a performance of The Ring Cycle.”  Geez, Cory.  Make it hard for the rest of us, why doncha?  In any case, you Chicago folks might want to attend Mr. Kennedy’s Odd-Fish Art Show to be held in a creepy old mansion.  He says of one room, “full of antique printing presses, priceless art, unclassifiable knickknacks, and so much garbage it’s like the trash compactor scene from Star Wars.”  He ain’t wrong either.

  • For some reason I feel inclined to keep a close eye on children’s book apps these days.  I don’t know exactly why this is.  I just have a feeling they’re going to be more important than we initially expect later on down the road.  It’s hard to figure out what’s actually important and what’s just self-promoting dribble, though.  I mean, I’m pretty sure the new Kirkus App Discovery Engine is important, but it’s hard to say.  Monica Edinger, therefore, did me a bit of a favor when she presented her recent round-up of app news on her Huffington Post blog.  Makes for good reading.
  • Recently Mr. Mo Willems had his picture taken.  It was not the first time.  It was not even the first time he’d been to that particular photographer.  But it was the first time I’d been made aware of the photographer Marty Umans.  Mr. Umans happens to have photographed quite a few children’s literary folks, including Mr. Mo, Harry Bliss, Raul Colon, Randall de Seve, and more.  You can see a whole host of them here.  Thanks to Mr. Mo for the link.
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5. Dear teens at my desk,

Just as I was about to begin writing my long overdue blog post on the YALSA website you bounded to the circulation desk and challenged me to a duel of wits. “Anything can be linked to Harry Potter” you exclaimed. With such confident swagger and determined stares how could I NOT take you up on this challenge?

How was I know know that asking you about HP’s relationship to formal poetry, chemical engineering and Antarctica would lead to talk of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, and Geraldine McCaughrean’s The White Darkness?  I don’t know how it happens that I’ve never seen the Harry Potter musical on You Tube though you aren’t the first to try to show it to me. And I’m proud of you for returning to the text to find evidence to support your assertions.

Still, how could I predict that two more join your forces adding environmental sustainibility and William Golding’s The Princess Bride into the conversation equation? And why did I believe showing you this MeowFail  was relevant? Was I linking Winston to Crookshanks? How is it that an over an hour passed? I only have a sentence written for my post:

“While this post is arriving part of the way through National Library Week”

and I’m sure that really just won’t do. Didn’t you all come to the library to do some work or something?

Now I’m here, after hours yet again, with piles of work remaining including trying to write a simple post about advocating for the library during National Library Week and the little ways we celebrate during the week. (I send out daily trivia questions and wear library themed t-shirts, what do you do?) But my heart isn’t in that topic anymore.

All I can think about is how great it is that you hold your own in your unwavering love Harry Potter (especially when everyone else is all Twilight all the time). How you want others to see its greatness. I keep thinking about how lucky I am to have a job where I am expected to talk with students about what you are reading and what interests you.  I’m glad you trust that I will take you and your enthusiasm seriously. Because I will. Like you, I am invested in books. Like you, I want to make sense of the world and discover how seemingly unrelated items are linked together. And like you, I’m up for the challenge.

So, thank you for reminding me why it is I work with teenagers. And thank you for giving me another reason for the tardiness of this post. And thank you for letting me into your magical world, even if only for an hour. Come again soon.

I remain sincerely your,

YA Librarian

p.s. Really, I want to know. How should one celebrate National Library Week?


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6. Middle School Booktalk List October 2008

Note: YA Fiction Titles are arranged by author’s last name. Graphic Novels are arranged by Title.

Laika by Nick Abadzis (Graphic Novel)

The Poison Apples by Lily Archer (YA Fiction)

Atherton: House of Power by Patrick Carman (YA Fiction)

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (YA Fiction)

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz (YA Fiction)

Into the Wild (Warriors series) by Erin Hunter (YA Fiction)

Good As Lily by Derek Kirk Kim & Jesse Hamm
(Graphic Novel)

Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller
(YA Fiction)

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli (YA Fiction)

Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson (YA Fiction)

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (YA Fiction)

Black and White by Paul Volponi (YA Fiction)


Cute Stuff: Let’s Make Cute Stuff! (YA 745.0463 Cu)

Teen Girls’ Gotta-Have-It Guide to Money by Jessica Blatt (YA 332.024 Bl)

Teens Cook by Megan Carle (YA 641.5 Ca)

Manga Cookbook (YA 641.5952 Ma)

Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions
by Kenji Kawakami (YA 608.752 Ka)

With a Little Bit of Luck by Dennis Fradin (YA 509 Fr)

101 Things You Need to Know and Some You Don’t
(YA 032.02 Tu)

MythBusters: The Explosive Truth Behind 30 of the Most Perplexing Urban Legends of All Time
by Keith and Kent Zimmerman (YA 791.4572 Zi)

The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden
(YA 031.02 Ig)

Worst Case Scenario Handbook by Joshua Piven
(YA 613.69 Pi)


2 Comments on Middle School Booktalk List October 2008, last added: 11/7/2008
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7. Booktalking Tips 2008

Trisha, Jolene and I are all going booktalking in the near future.  Here are some of our booktalking tips for new librarians and new booktalkers alike.  We’re by no means experts, but hey, every little bit helps right?

Trisha’s  Booktalking Tips:

1) It gets easier. I hated giving oral presentations when I was in school, so of course, the first few times I went booktalking by myself, I was more than a bit overwhelmed and intimidated by the whole thing. But it got better, especially once I figured out what worked for me and found my own style.

2) Find your own style. Different librarians have different styles, so if you can, observe other librarians booktalking. Some have their booktalks memorized, some do everything off the top of their head. Some use props, some don’t. Some spend a couple of minutes talking about one book, some tend to do shorter booktalks. Try out different techniques and see what comes most naturally and works the best for you.

3) Remember, you’re not just promoting books. You’re also promoting the library and its services. So tell the students about upcoming programs and recent programs you’ve held. Remind them you have DVDs and online resources that’ll come in handy when they’re doing homework or searching for colleges or need to practice taking the SAT. Just try to do it in an interesting way.

4) You can find booktalks online. Scholastic and Random House offer booktalks on their sites. Nancy Keane’s Booktalks Quick and Simple has tons of booktalks, sometimes two or more talks for one book. I find the sites useful, because though I almost always write my own booktalks (usually months after I first read the book, because I can never force myself to write a booktalk right after I’ve read a book that would be great for booktalking. Instead, I wait until I’m asked to go booktalking, start freaking out and after looking at the booktalks I’ve already written, go to my shelves to find newer books to supplement the ones I know I can do effectively, and start writing. But I don’t recommend this method), I sometimes find it hard to find that initial flash of inspiration. The booktalks I end up writing may look nothing like the ones I found online, but just seeing the different approaches others have taken is often enough to get my creative juices flowing.

Other handy links:

Gayle’s Booktalking Tips:

1) Have fun! In most cases you are in the classroom during some lull in standardized testing so make the most of it.  The students will be receptive if you are enthusiastic.

2) Interact! I’ve found the quickest way to engage a class is to ask them questions.  It doesn’t hurt if you share a little about yourself too.  It gives you more credibility and makes you more real when you personalize booktalks.  Of course, don’t personalize too much, you are a professional so conduct yourself in a professional manner.

3) Choose Books You Like! If you’ve been reading about booktalking, you’ve no doubt heard this tip numerous times.  And I can’t stress too much how important this is.  It’s hard to booktalk a book you feel indifferent about.  In direct contrast it’s easy to gush about a book you love.

4) Practice, practice, practice! You don’t need to memorize, but practice makes perfect.  Try to practice on a forgiving audience to see if your booktalk makes sense.

5) Variety is the Spice of Life! Even if your reading preferences are very specific try to step out of your reading comfort zone for the sake of booktalking.  Non-Fiction books are easier than you think to booktalk–many of them sell themselves with their quirky content.  Books from different genres appeal to different sorts of readers.  And hey if you’re a big chick-lit fan and love a science fiction book, it gives it that much more credibility that you think it’s a winner.

6) Keep it Simple Smarty! Don’t try to over-explain a plot or a book.  Keep it simple and it’ll be smooth sailing.

7) Be Flexible. (No exclamation point here.)  It’s important to be flexible because schedules change, people get sick, memories are faulty, and there are somethings in life you can’t control so roll with the punches.

8) Read a lot! The more you read, the more you have to booktalk.  If you don’t find that this is the case, try reading something different.

9) Smile! A smile makes you more approachable and breaks down a lot of barriers.

10) There’s always room for improvement! If you can learn from your mistakes then you’ll be that much better then next time. Remember to project your voice and speak clearly. One of my biggest challenges is to slow down.  I tend to speak very quickly and I’m constantly struggling to slow down.


6 Comments on Booktalking Tips 2008, last added: 10/28/2008
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8. Why Can't a Woman?

On Saturday March 1st at 1:00PM, I'll be at the Eric Carle Museum, moderating a panel discussion inspired by our earlier conversation about why women don't win the Caldecott Medal as often as they might. The panelists for "Read Roger Live" will include illustrator Jane Dyer, children's-books sexpert Robie Harris, Viking publisher Regina Hayes, and critic Leonard Marcus. I know the discussion will be lively, and the museum is beautiful, so come on over.

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9. Then He Can Paint My Bathroom Blue

I'm told that Eric Carle provides the inspiration for this Sunday's edition of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on ABC at 8:00PM EST. I do like his colors.

Now may we please see Babymouse as the guest judge on Project Runway?

1 Comments on Then He Can Paint My Bathroom Blue, last added: 1/8/2008
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10. Hungry Caterpillar in the Florida Keys

At Home With Eric Carle

1 Comments on Hungry Caterpillar in the Florida Keys, last added: 12/17/2007
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11. Artist to Artist

Artist to ArtistIn keeping with one of the themes of the current issue of PaperTigers - books published for good causes, I just wanted to flag up the visual treat recently published (September) to raise funds for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and presented by Eric Carle himself. Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk about Their Art is awe-inspiring and down-to earth at the same time. This is the book for anyone with an interest in getting behind the scenes and finding out what makes different illustrators tick. Each artist has written a letter about how/ why they became an artist and/or their musings about being an artist – and these are some of the big names in children’s book illustration today. In fact, if they weren’t all listed both on the museum’s website and here (with links), I would feel compelled to list them all, so inspirational is what they each have to say.

The layout of the book provides a photograph of each illustrator as a child, a full page illustration and then a fold-out containing further examples of their work. Take a look at this full review from Planet Esme.

And if you’re lucky enough to live in the US and are aged 6-9, you still have a chance (until 28th December) to win a copy of the book and more – for details look here! Thank you Book Worm’s Diary for pointing this out (ages ago!).

Books of Wonder in New York is hosting an Artist to Artist event

on Thursday 6th December - but it’s for Museum Members only and you need to book ahead… See here for information on how to become a member.

1 Comments on Artist to Artist, last added: 12/30/2007
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12. Children’s Books Illustrations

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13. Books at Bedtime: Happy Birthday, Allen Say

One event I will be missing this year, being on the wrong side of the Atlantic, is the exhibition of Allen Say’s work to celebrate his 70th birthday, which is currently running at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – but if you can get to Amherst, Massachusetts before 28 October, I should imagine it would be well worth doing so. Writer, Lois Lowry certainly recommends it…

Kamishibai ManWe love reading Say’s books together. Particular favorites are Under the Cherry Blossom Tree: An Old Japanese Tale, which appeals especially to Home of the Bravemy younger son’s sense of the absurd; and Kamishibai Man, which has inspired my older son to create his own storyboards. We also read Home of the Brave recently, following the discussions arising from A Place Where Sunflowers Grow. Say’s rich illustrations here and the slightly abstract conveying of the story stretch young children into asking questions… the bedtime storytime can certainly be drawn out beyond the deceptive brevity of the story. As Karen Edmisten says, it is “not a happy book but an excellent one”.

Podcast Just One More Book has reviewed Emma’s Rug and I think they sum up Say’s work as a whole when they say: (more…)

4 Comments on Books at Bedtime: Happy Birthday, Allen Say, last added: 9/14/2007
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14. Books at Bedtime: Night and Day

Here are two books for sharing which take children on a good-night (and good morning) journey all around the world. They both celebrate differences in customs and lifestyles, and emphasise what we all share as members of the human race…
The first, for very young children, is The Nights of the World by Corinne Albaut and illustrated by Amo, which focuses on five children from different parts of the world, who all sleep in different kinds of beds. When the magic sliding window is opened, readers can see what their days are like too, and although their activities may be different, they all laugh and enjoy playing games – then close the shutter again, and they all are quiet and go to sleep!

allinaday.jpgThe second is All in a Day by Mitsumasa Anno in an amazing collaboration with nine other well-known artists from all around the world: (more…)

2 Comments on Books at Bedtime: Night and Day, last added: 8/1/2007
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15. Books at Bedtime: Family Reading

pileofbooks2.jpgI would like to draw your attention to this Family Reading page on The Horn Book’s website – there are lots of ideas and shared experiences to hearten and encourage reading with and to our children. I especially love Martha Parravano’s article Reading Three Ways about reading with her two daughters; and I laughed aloud at the end. It reminded me of a holiday when Son Number One was still toddling. Rapunzel had been the perpetually chosen audio tape on the day’s drive up to the North of Scotland. A few days later:

    Daddy: Where’s Mummy?
    Son (cackling): The bird has flown, my pretty!

…I wish I’d actually been there to hear it!

Thinking back to that time when books had to be repeated ad infinitum, here’s a list, in no particular order, of only some of our family favorites from the very early years:

    All the Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd – in fact, all her books!
    Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, ill. Patrick Benson;
    Can’t You sleep, Baby Bear? - and the rest of the series, again by Martin Waddell, but ill. Barbara Firth
    Each Peach Pear Plum and Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
    Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave by Quentin Blake
    We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, ill. Helen Oxenbury
    Little Beaver and the Echo by Amy MacDonald, ill. Sarah Fox-Davies
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss
    The Gruffalo and all the other books by Julia Donaldson, ill. Axel Scheffler
    Mrs Goose’s Baby and Mr Davies and the Baby by Charlotte Voake

When I look at this list I realise that nearly all these books were given to us by friends whose own children had loved them – and we in turn have handed them on to our smaller friends…

So let me just leave you with a something the illustrator Howard Pyle once said:

“The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived.”

1 Comments on Books at Bedtime: Family Reading, last added: 7/24/2007
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16. Eric Carle

An NPR Audio Slideshow

and on All Things Considered: http://www.npr.org/templates/dmg/popup.php?id=11889870&type=1&date=15-Jul-2007&au=1&pid=47163216&random=7762265663&guid=000449750674069D2BB94CF061626364&uaType=WM,RM&aaType=RM,WM&upf=Win32&topicName=Arts___Culture&subtopicName=Arts___Culture&prgCode=ATC&hubId=-1&thingId=11889867&ssid=&tableModifier=&mtype=WM

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