Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Below is the list of books I took to 7th graders.  I realized too late that it skews to sci-fi/dystopia/post-apocalyptic.  I did get very good interest in just about all the titles from the high achieving class, but the rest of the classes were hit or miss.

(Harry Potter Should Have Died, How to Write About Charles Dickens, The American Muslim Teenager's Handbook, and Vampire Haiku)  I did not talk specifically about these titles but displayed their cover images while talking about the YANF section.

In a turn, I had actually read all the titles I booktalked, except one, which I was three quarters of the way through and did later finish.  And also in a turn, the kids didn't ask me.

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets, by Smith Magazine.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach.  This is the book that I hadn't quite finished.  I started reading it for myself, but figured it would be a good one to talk about to introduce them to adult-level nonfiction.  It's not all encyclopediae and biographies.  I really like the book; the author did a good job of being light and humorous without being disrespectful of the topic or those involved.  I think it's funny/interesting/whatever-- it intrigues me-- that the thing I want to happen to me when I'm done using my body is a technique that's been used in Sweden for years, but we've never heard about over here.  This is definitely a book for thinking; it'd be good in a high school social issues/current events type class.

The Plain Janes, by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg.

Fakie, by Tony Varrato.

The Contest (Everest Bk 1), by Gordon Korman.  Korman's book trios are usually a pretty easy sell.  They are quick reads, have enough characters that you don't have to get all introspective with any of them, and are pretty action-heavy.  This one was rather less eventful than some of the others he's written, but not bad.  It's not my favorite thing to read, but they are good to have in the collection.

The Recruit (CHERUB Bk 1), by Robert Muchamore.
I was so overwhelmed by how much I was drawn into the story that I forgot to mention the downers.  The books have alot of surface errors of the type no one else is likely to notice (missing punctuation, wrong kind of "principle," etc.)  Also, the author tries to fit in a few too many problems or social issues (trying to get in with sons of a mobster, the main character is offered drugs; a friend is gay and the character doesn't know how he should feel about that; plus the typical boy-girl relationships that always get squeezed in).  If the books were a little longer and the main characters and readers were 15-17, it would work better and maybe even be appropriate.  But with the age of the characters & readers, and the shortness of the books, I feel the problem-novel aspect is contrived.

8th Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod), by Heather Brewer.

Alien Invasion and other Inconveniences, by Brian Yansky.

The Host, by Stephenie Meyer.

Gone, by Michael Grant.

The Line, by Teri Hall.  I think I actually booktalked this book last year when the kids were in 6th grade, but none of them seemed to remember.  Meh.

The Compound, by S.A. Bodeen.

Wake, by Lisa McMann.

Howl's Moving Castle, by Dianna Wynne Jones (and DVD).  It's been a long time since I read this (since before I started the blog, so I must have a hand-written review somewhere at home), so I thought I'd take the easy way out during the booktalk and show a little bit of the movie trailer, gloss over the book, and move on. Well, they filter out Youtube at the schools and I couldn't get access to the program I needed to capture and edit the trailer from a long thing into a little teaser.  So I ended up having to super read a portion of the book, and I wasn't any more impressed with it the second time around.

Wild Magic, by Tamora Pierce.

I also talked about our different audiobook formats: Harry Potter Bk 1 Book on CD, Playaways, and Downloadable e-book, e-audio, and e-video through Overdrive.

My crushing moment during this school visit came during the first class period.  A boy, about 13, who is always very friendly and enthusiastic while at the library, sat in the front row in class.  He refused to make eye contact with me at any point before, during, or after the presentation.  I get that it's not cool to be friends with the librarian outside of the library, but that was kind of harsh.  The kicker was that I saw him directly after the school day in the library-- his mom picked him up from school and brought him over, whereas I had to pack up all my stuff, so they made it to the library before me.  He saw me and was like "Hey!", all smiley like he missed me, and I called him out for being two-faced.  Not really, but I did tell him that he could have at least said hi to me at school and it was pretty mean.

Evil?, by Timothy Carter.    I grabbed this off the shelf while I was looking for booktalk titles because I remembered seeing the title alot in journals and online, and it had an angel on the cover, which may be the next big thing.  It was very quickly obvious I couldn't promote this book, ever, because I can't actually say what's going on in the book, which makes it difficult to hook readers.  This book definitely has an audience, though, and that audience is older teens who have someone to talk about the book with.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thank you for book talking The Line. :) I just found out it made the IRA/CBC 2011 Children's Choices list!