Sunday, June 7, 2015

Favorite pre-summer booktalking picks; Or, The Kids Have Spoken

Some people do amazing, planned skits for their school visits before summer. I take as many books as I can cram into my three milk crates, balanced on my collapsible dolly, do a rapid-fire explanation of summer reading along with a little poking of the general competition between the three elementary schools, and then as much impromptu booktalking as I can fit into 20 minutes or less. For an idea of my booktalking style, you can check out the utube movies in my booktalking tab here (full disclosure - I just talked, a colleague filmed and edited them). I also make a Pinterest board of all the school visit books, to help out my colleagues when kids come in asking for "the funny book with the mustaches" and this year I added a second board for the sixth grade (I don't go any higher).

Of course, placement matters, some they can't see and so don't ask for, sometimes teachers ask about a book, and there's also a subsection of kids (usually the older grades) who will ask for books they are obviously not interested in just to be silly. I have "sets" that I pre-talk, so they don't get a chance to ask about those. This year my sets included Ellie McDoodle as part of the summer program talk (one girl was so excited when she heard the author was coming to visit us that she started bouncing up and down!), Roller Girl and the new, colorized Babysitters' Club graphic novels. when kids ask for I survived (which they all did) I also booktalk Stranded and Disaster Strikes and I had a whole talk centered around reading not just being fiction or narrative nonfiction, but also informational books and then I talk all my experiment/craft/how-to books. However, overall this is what was most asked for, spontaneously, by the kids this year. Going by books that were asked for by the majority of classes and I see three elementary schools, grades K-5, and two groups of sixth graders, about 1500 kids in all.

I was interested to see that both boys and girls asked for these about equally. The boys usually being silly (yes, I can tell) but after I booktalk it they all want to read it!

Opinion is divided between kids who proudly proclaim "I love Frozen!" and those who snicker and roll their eyes "I looooove Frozen"

Everybody loves I Survived. EVERYBODY

One girl kindly informed me that I was booktalking this incorrectly. Frankie is zapped back to life in the FIRST book, not the SECOND. Oops. I do this on purpose to make the kids feel smarter. Really.

This just has a really good cover I think. Very active and the dog is always popular. One inquisitive boy did want to know "What's the Oregon Trail?" but his friends explained to him. First graders have a really varied set of knowledge I find.

This was a weird one. Usually, boys asking for a predominantly pink book like this do it as a "ha ha I'm asking for a girly book" thing (even if they're secretly interested) but apparently the monkey must make it ok, b/c boys and girls asked about this one equally seriously.


I think this is one of the coolest snakes I've ever seen and apparently the kids agree.

Also duh.

We have a lot of guinea pig fans, which is cool with me because I like guinea pigs too.

This was a surprise request, although it shouldn't have been since it's checked out quite vigorously over the past few months. The cover is obviously very attractive. One student said they were adopted from an Asian country and is going back with their family and can't wait to read this book. Quieter books are harder to booktalk, but I think I've got a good spiel for this one.

No surprises here.

This has been very popular since I bought it - silhouette covers apparently are very popular right now. My copy does not have all the award stickers on it, fyi, and I don't feel I have a really catchy booktalk for it, but it doesn't seem to matter.

Several classes had just read Frindle and it was on Battle of the Books this year, plus this title is a grabber.

This was this year's surprise hit. I even went and googled it later to see if it was connected to some game or cartoon show I wasn't aware of. No, it just grabbed everybody for some reason. So I better go buy the rest of the series stat - this is volume 2, sent to me for review, and no one in my consortium owns 1 or 3!

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