105 Ways to Give a Book

Extreme Booktalking

When librarians (or teachers) talk about specific books to children to get them interested in reading them, we call that Booktalking (yes, counterintuitive, I know). When librarians talk about specific books to other librarians so that they can talk about the specific books to children to get them interested in reading them, we call that Extreme Booktalking (actually, “we” probably don’t call it that, but I am hoping to start a trend — like procrasdenial).

Extreme Booktalking is what I did today, my friends.

I only had four books to present, which was very manageable. I didn’t have to present a topic, like “preparing your booktalks.” Which is fortunate, because I wouldn’t have been much help to anyone. I do pretty much the opposite of everything I am supposed to do. I read the book (that part is pretty standard), and I wait for inspiration. Sometimes I know immediately how I am going to introduce this book in an exciting way. Otherwise, I just wait for it to hit me — washing dishes, driving the car, taking a shower, taking a nap — the idea will come. When the beginning hits me, the rest of the booktalk just flows. Or sometimes, I know how to describe the story, but I don’t have a hook. Then I ask my oldest daughter, who just shoots these things out like nobody’s business.

When I know mostly what I want to say, I don’t write it down. I rarely rehearse it out loud. I just run it through in my head. Sometimes I’ll be driving to the school and think of a booktalk that day. Or I’ll change to a different intro, just to mix things up. I would love nothing better than if I was asked on the morning of the booktalk to somehow include a chicken and a bowling ball in the mix. This is my own little improv show, and I like it.

Here are the four books and my hooks.

Sweet ToothSweet Tooth, by Margie Palatini
I just read the first few pages of this book with a suitably annoying voice for the obnoxious sweet tooth.

Fashion KittyFashion Kitty, by Charise Mericle Harper
Hi! I’m Kiki Kitty and I want to tell you three interesting things about my family. The first interesting thing about my family is that we have a mouse for a pet. Since we are cats, us having a mouse for a pet is like you having a chocolate cake for a pet. “I love you, but I’d like to eat you.” But we are vegetarians, so we don’t eat mice...

Lowji Discovers AmericaLowji Discovers America, by Candace Fleming
Raise your hand if you came here from another school or town. Raise your hand if you came here from another state. Maybe you found different accents here, or new stores, or new trends. Now raise your hand if you came from another country. A lot was different for you, wasn’t it? Kids didn’t do things the same way, maybe you didn’t understand everything people were saying. Well, that is what happened to Lowji when he and his family came to America...

The Liberation of Gabriel KingThe Liberation of Gabriel King, by K.L. Going
What are you afraid of? Spiders? Ghosts? Robbers? Maybe it’s getting lost or missing your bus? Maybe even loose cows or sticking your hand in the blender? All of these and more are on Gabriel King’s list of fears...

I had you eating out of the palm of my hand with just those, didn’t I?


Daniel said...

Now that I'm immersed in the wonderful world of ninth grade, a good booktalk is always a good thing--particularly in a ninth grade realm where few students actually read for recreation. Since I've always done just that, I enjoy talking about things I've read--just to try sparking some imagination. I may need to mine the fields of your creativity once in a while!

Anonymous said...

You always have me eating out of the palm of your hand when it comes to your booktalks, Pam! I could use you at Bailey's elementary school. :) -Susie