105 Ways to Give a Book

Booktalking Request

About a month ago I recorded some booktalks for My Fair County. And they sucked.

I think I’m pretty good at this booktalking thing, but when it hit me that I couldn’t walk around and talk to an audience, I realized I was totally screwed. But the show must go on, so they say. I did my best, even after a terrible thunderstorm delayed the taping and made me worry about my kids getting home from school and then lighting had to be adjusted and I wasn’t holding the books up the right way and I didn’t have notes because I never have notes and I was talking so slowly — it was an awful experience. My guess, from the parts that I saw, is that the booktalks aren’t humiliating per se, but they look like something any boring librarian would do. And. I’m. Not. Boring. Goofy, chaotic, untidy, moody, even shrill at times, but not boring.

So next week I’ve got another go at it and I’m asking for your suggestions. I don’t need just titles. I need a one- or two-sentence hook, because a lot of my best hooks require an audience. For instance, I toss a penny, dime, and nickel into the room to introduce Money Hungry. I let someone explain the exceedingly gross way a mummy is prepared before introducing Mummies: the Newest, Coolest, and Creepiest from Around the World. I live off the gasp that goes through the seventh graders when I introduce Uglies by saying, “Everyone under the age of 16 is ugly,” and then pause before mentioning it as the premise of the book. (Okay, that one might work on camera.)

What I need are middle-grade or young adult books — newish, but not more recent than early spring 2008. I’ll need to have read it, of course, and have liked it. It needs to be pretty clean — no Nick & Norah. You suggest a good hook to get the talk going, and I’ll fill in the rest. It can be your own book, a friend’s book, or simply a favorite book. The reward? You may see it on YouTube. And hopefully it won’t suck.


GrandmaGippy said...

I hope that this title isn't too new to meet your requirements. The book "The Dead and The Gone" by Susan Pfeffer isn't as gory as it sounds. Imagine the moon has been hit by an asteriod which throws the tides, volcanoes and much of nature out of wack. How does a 17 yr boy in NYC help himself and 2 teenage sister stay safe and survive? Great read! Companion book to "Life as We Knew it" by the same author.

DU said...

Mysterious Benedict Society: Four kids join a secret society charged with saving the world from an evil scientist and his mind control device. (Actually, that's much too cheesy of a hook--it's a really good book even for adults. But the second book put me to sleep.)

Annette Laing said...

Three kids, two of them recent transplants from San Francisco, time travel from a boring small town in the Deep South to a boring small town in England in 1940. Can they survive bad food, ugly underwear, non-absorbing toilet paper, and..oh, yes...Hitler's bombs? Don't Know Where, Don't Know When, by Annette Laing (me). Review copy can be yours, MotherReader, just say the word...

Terry Doherty said...

Okay, so you're driving with your Mom ... poof! Now you're the only one in the car. You go for help, there are no adults. You rule! Now what?

I am not a sci-fi gal, but Gone by Michael Grant was just incredible. Everyone 14 and older disappears. Our teen reviewer said this was the best book he had EVER read ... and then sent me more material two weeks later because he still wanted to talk about it.

Little Willow said...

I will be back with booktalking recs and notes for you.

First, I give you something completely unrelated to this post: the Mo Willems short list.


Little Willow said...

Juvenile Fiction

SAVVY: If every kid in your family got a special kinda-supernatural power on their thirteenth birthday, what would YOU wish for?

Teen Fiction

GIRL OVERBOARD by Justina Chen Headley: There are plenty of books - and movies too, for that matter - which focus on athletes training for the big game or competition, only to have accidents! injuries! obstacles! interfere in act three. Luckily, they tend to pull through and win the championship or gold medal, and everyone lives happily ever after. Right? Thankfully, GIRL OVERBOARD by Justina Chen Headley is more thoughtful and less predictable than those stories. Instead of striving for the win, GIRL OVERBOARD encourages readers to strive for their personal truths.

THE OPPOSITE OF INVISIBLE by Liz Gallagher: Start with the first line: "Some girls have journals. I talk to my poster." Alice and Jewel have been best friends since the age of three. Jewel's a boy, and he's her friend, but he's NOT her boyfriend. Alice feels like she's invisible to everyone except Jewel, and she considers Jewel to be "the opposite of invisible" to her.

THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary E. Pearson: Jenna was left comatose after a tragic accident. One year later, she awakens to a life she can't recall, a body she doesn't recognize, two parents and a grandmother doesn't really know, and a house she can't leave.

POISON INK by Christopher Golden: Five girls decide to get matching tattoos to mark their friendship. One backs out, and the others change - for the worse. Why and how have that tattoos poisoned their minds?

LOOKS by Madeleine George: First impressions aren't everything. People can surprise you. Look again.

I'll stop for now - Email me if you need any more!

MotherReader said...

LW, I TOTALLY love the Jenna Fox intro! I just read that book and your start got my juices flowing... I may do that one!

Little Willow said...

MR: Yay! Keep me posted. I can't wait to hear how it goes. The official Jenna trailer is awesome.

Camille said...

I just have to commiserate. "I'm better when I move" too. You are a brilliant book talker.