BookTalking to the Middle Grades

I went to a very fun and interesting workshop this morning at the Santa Clara City Library.

World famous writer and librarian Joni Bodart did a fantastic presentation about book talking for the middle grades (3rd to 6th graders). Book talking is basically this: a 2-5 minute commercial for a book. It is NOT a review, NOT an evaluation, but simply an ad to get kids to read. Most book talks are done at elementary schools during class visits.

I went to this workshop because I’m always being asked about book suggestions at the library, and I wanted to learn more about how to talk up certain children’s books, as well as find suitable substitutes for the constantly checked out Diary of a Wimpy Kid, among other books.

One thing I learned is that I really need to brush up on my knowledge of children’s books. I usually just read picture books for story times, but I think its time I expand that list. The majority of my reading list is adult books, but I do seriously need to expand that to teen and children’s books because I am the everything-librarian. I have no boundaries, no limitations, no stops! I need to know about every single book being published everywhere for all ages in all formats. I’m glad I made YA/Juvenile books as part of my 999 challenge, but maybe I’ll have to take over another, yet unfilled, category and split the two up.

I remember one of the librarians coming to my 8th grade class to do a book talk on Horror books. Its still stayed with me to this day. She introduced me to authors I already knew about and had read (Stephen King) and ones that I had not heard of (HP Lovecraft). My library doesn’t really do book talks in actual classes. If they are requested, there is a Children’s librarian specialist that will do the talks, but I still like to be in the know, especially for the impromptu talks in the actual library. =)

For parents, you can look up great book talks on http://www.scholastic.com to try and talk up certain books to your own kids. Just do a search in the search box for Book Talk. You can look up Joni Bodart, or Richard Pardington (he reviews every single book published for elementary school kids and teens, so there’s a wealth of supply right there for you).

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