Fall 2015 School Visit Booktalks

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!

Nest, by Esther Ehrlich (5th). This was also a This Book is My Jam pick, because I absolutely loved this book. I was happy the kids asked about this, and I hope they loved it as much as I did.

Smek

Smek for President, by Adam Rex (4th & 5th). A lot of the kids didn’t realize the movie Home was based on a book, so they were excited to learn that this was the sequel.

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

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.

Echo, by Pam Muñoz Ryan (5th). Another beautiful, magical book, and while some of the kids seemed a little intimidated by the length, they loved the plot summary and seemed really intrigued.

terrible two

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!

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School Visits and Books We Booktalked

I previously blogged about how our summer reading promotion school visits work, and the books we brought to read to K-2nd graders. For grades 3-5, we bring books to booktalk. We brought a lot of books this year, and most were successful. Here are the books we talked about, and the reactions to them:

snicker of magicA Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd. This was asked about by pretty much every class, and was one of the most popular books we bought. And obviously the booktalk worked–I just had to buy another copy of this for the library because we had so many holds on it! A fun cover, a magical town, and a girl who moves super often were all elements that intrigued the kids.

drizzleDrizzle by Kathleen Van Cleeve. This was also asked about by every class, which surprised me. I didn’t realize how compelling that cover was! And even though booktalking this book shows how strange it is (a magical rhubarb farm?!?!), it’s another one that has so many holds on it I just bought another copy for the library. So obviously a successful booktalk!

treatires trenchesTreaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale. Another very popular cover–it was asked about in every class we had it out for. This series continues to be popular in our library (our graphic novel collection is generally just insanely popular, as I assume it is everywhere), and this was no exception. It was the only book where after our presentation, a child actually asked me to write down the title so he wouldn’t forget it.

Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli. I think what always surprises me the most about booktalking to classrooms is which covers the kids are interested in hearing more about. This one got asked about a lot, and I have had a few kids come in the library since and ask “what was that book about the conman, again?” This is a great picture book nonfiction, that I loved, but I didn’t expect it to be as popular with the kids as it was.

absolutely almostAbsolutely Almost by Lisa Graff. Another cover that surprised me–it was asked about a lot. I LOVED this book, but realized it’s actually kind of tricky to booktalk. I think my booktalk rambled on a bit the first time I tried to booktalk it, so I ended up just reading a chapter from the book, which seemed to work better.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. This book reminded me that I can’t wait for The Marvels to come out soon. I love Selznick! A lot of the kids had already read this one, and they loved sharing with us that it was a great book. It is 🙂

greenglass houseGreenglass House by Kate Milford. I love the cover of this, but it always seemed a little adult to me, and I wasn’t sure it would appeal to kids. I was TOTALLY wrong about this. This one got asked about a lot, and I still have kids coming into the library wanting to put holds on it.

Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan. The animals on the cover of this made it a big draw. And the kids all liked the fact that this was about a family that owned a lot of animals.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Another book that both my coworker and I loved, but found somewhat difficult to booktalk without rambling. We brought the audiobook, rather than the physical book, which meant we couldn’t just read from it. But it was asked about a lot, and the kids definitely seemed intrigued by it, and our copies aren’t staying on the shelf, so I think this will be a summer hit! Continue reading

School Visits and What We Read This Year

It’s the craziest time of year to be a children’s librarian! Summer reading is almost here! In the past few weeks, I’ve spent a significant amount of time on school visits, promoting our library’s summer reading program and getting kids excited about reading over the summer. I love school visits, and it has been great to meet with kids, and have them come into the library later and say, “You were at my school!”

We have been lucky enough this year to meet individually with different grade levels at most of the schools we visited. This makes for a long day (at least 3 hours at the school, sometimes most of the day), but means we can tailor our presentations to each grade level. For grades K-2, we read a story and talk about the summer reading program. For grades 3-5, we talk about the summer reading program and bring a bunch of books to booktalk. I’m planning on posting our booktalk books next week, but wanted to share the books we chose to read aloud this year.

A question that comes up a lot on Facebook groups of children’s librarians is: “What picture books can I read to school age children?” I’m going to make a list sometime soon with all my favorite school age readalouds, but here’s a short one with what worked this year:

snip snapSnip Snap, What’s That? by Mara Bergman. We read this to kindergarteners on most of our visits. They loved it! It’s the perfect amount of suspense for kindies. All the classes picked up on the “You bet they were” refrain very quickly and loved yelling it with me. I also love reading this book in storytime with preschoolers, and it was fun to see that it worked with a slightly older age, as well.

I'm boredI’m Bored by Michael Ian Black. This was a great pick for 1st grade classes. They thought it was hilarious. There were so many giggles during most of this book. This is another book that I’ve read with preschoolers before (and they’ve liked it), but I think the ending works better with the older kiddos. Preschoolers are sometimes a little confused by the ending, but on the school visits, they thought it was so funny.

extra yarnExtra Yarn by Mac Barnett. I love this book. I love the gentle fairy tale feel of it. This was another great 1st grade book. They were entranced by the story, loved watching the colors change, and loved predicting what was going to happen. I always like to ask if they would sell the yarn to the archduke, and it’s wonderful how many kids yell, “NO!!!!” There’s just something magical and timeless and lovely about this story. Continue reading