We’ve been lucky enough to dramatically expand our school outreach at my library this year. I’ve been behind on blogging everything, but here’s a list of the books I booktalked to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in the fall (if you click on the book’s title, it will take you to my full Goodreads review). Coming soon: a blog post talking about how we set up these outreach trips, and how great they’ve been for us!
One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia (5th). I always feel like historical fiction is a tough sell for kids, but the combination of funny sisters, the Black Panther Party, and a complex relationship with the girls’ mother make this an irresistible choice to booktalk.
Starry River of the Sky, by Grace Lin (5th). This one was recommended to me by a patron and her daughter, who listened to it on audio and loved it. I loved it too, and sold it to the kids as a magical, mythical book. They were definitely excited.
The Terrible Two, by Mac Barnett & Jory John (4th & 5th). Not surprisingly, this was a hugely popular book. The kids loved the cover, loved the description, and were clamoring to get their hands on it.
The Imaginary, by A. F. Harrold (4th and 5th). Creepy books are always a big sell. I opened the book to a particularly creepy picture which made a lot of the kids shriek with horror and delight. Definitely a book the kids wanted to read!
Rad American Women A-Z, by Kate Schatz (4th and 5th). I enjoyed this book so much and couldn’t wait to share it with the kids. I was worried that since it was a picture-ish book it might be a tough sell to 4th and 5th graders, but it was one a lot of kids came and picked up and looked through after I was done talking to them, so I’m hoping it gets a lot of readers!
Einstein the Class Hamster, by Janet Tashjian (3rd & 4th). A silly, graphic book that is instantly appealing to kids. This book is about a hamster who knows a lot of facts, so I read some of his Tasty Tidbits that are sprinkled throughout the book as my booktalk, and the kids were definitely excited to read it.
Kid Presidents, by David Stabler (3rd, 4th, & 5th). This is one of those books that is super easy to booktalk: you just pick out a few great facts and share them. The kids loved hearing about the hijinks presidents got up to as kids–there was an audible gasp when I told them that FDR was arrested multiple times in one day in Germany. A fun nonfiction book with tons of kid appeal.
Rescue on the Oregon Trail, by Kate Messner (3rd & 4th). What is not to love about a time traveling dog? The only negative with this book was that a lot of the kids had already read it, but they LOVED it, and loved telling me about how good it was, which definitely made their classmates who hadn’t read it yet excited to pick it up!
Harriet the Invincible, by Ursula Vernon (3rd, 4th, & 5th). Harriet is the greatest! I think Ursula Vernon should just write a bunch more fairy tale retellings and make them as funny and empowering as this one is. I found out while booktalking this that most of the kids hadn’t read Dragonbreath, either, so I booktalked that as well. Ursula Vernon ftw!
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, by Kelly Jones (4th and 5th). Animal lovers were definitely intrigued by this book–it got asked about in every class I brought it to!
Inventions That Could Have Changed the World, But Didn’t, by Joe Rhatigan (3rd). Invention and inventor books are hugely popular at my library, and this book was no exception. The kids loved learning about the silly inventions and I foresee this one not spending much time on the shelf!
Those were the books I brought into classrooms in the fall. All of them were intriguing to the kids. We are finishing up a second round of booktalks, so look for a second book list coming soon!