Saturday, June 06, 2009

High School Booktalk list

Here are the books I actually talked about at the high school. Let me tell you, I now have these talks memorized after doing them every half-hour for 2 days straight!

The Death of Jayson Porter by Jaime Adoff

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (pushed as a Twilight Read-Alike)

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (Everybody LOVED this cover, it was usually one of the first books the teens asked to hear about)

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell (Another cover that caught people's eyes. Here's hoping they can remember the title!)

Being by Kevin Brooks

She’s So Money by Cherry Cheva (the title and the cover got a lot of attention)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (I talked the heck out of this one because I really think its gonna be the next big thing. I ended the talk with a "if you like excitement, adventure, and people getting run through with spears - give this a try!" which the boys liked)

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle (movie tie-in made this fun to talk, esp. poking fun at Hayden Pantierre playing a cheerleader AGAIN! I also showed them the pictures of Denis from the cover and then later on when he's bruised and covered in food. Compared it to Superbad.)

Beastly by Alex Flinn (Twilight Read-Alike)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (rec. audiobook)

A Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos (YA biography)

A Treasury of Victorian Murder by Rick Geary (I think the teachers were more interested in this, but I still had fun saying it was all TRUE and doing the Lizzie Borden rhyme)

Evernight by Claudia Gray (Twilight Read-Alike)

Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins

Just After Sunset by Stephen King (short stories; rec. audiobook, always mentioned the disgusting Port-O-Potty story for the boys)

No Choirboy by Susan Kuklin (YA non-fiction, another popular cover)

How to Dith your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
(I was surprised by how many people asked to hear about this one because of the cover, though many mocked the Bassett Hound as the groups mascot)

Wake by Lisa McMann

Bonechiller by Graham Mcnamee

King Dork by Frank Portman

The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan
(ZOMBIES! Always popular.)

Unwind by Neal Shusterman (harvesting organs always got their attention)

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser (another good one for the boys, I always ended this talk by saying the last page is the most disturbing part - the author cites his sources - it's based on fact!)

Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan (YA graphic novel; we all assume our parents are evil at least once, but what if you found out they really were? I think the teens appreciated that I talked about a comic book series)

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
(I was hesitant to talk this book because of its thickness but the cover made the teens ask for it and mentioning that Death was the narrator got their attention - even the girl who had been rolling her eyes at my for most of the time actually wrote down the title!)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

High School booktalks - day 1

So, when I sent out emails in beginning of May, asking the local high school media specialists if they wanted me to stop in and talk about the Summer Reading Program, maybe booktalk a couple books, I did not expect one school to book me for 2 days! But I survived day 1 and I had a great time (even if I did have to drag my butt out of bed at 6am...though I'm sure those kids get up at least that early every day *shudder*)

I brought in a ton of books. At first, I was thinking I would tailor the booktalks to each grade, but that idea was dropped when I ended up with combined classes. Then I realized - they can read whatever they want, why not just tell them about everything good in the library?

So, I set up a display in the front of the room with ALL of the books I brought, which was a lot. About six or seven bags full. I'll post the titles later but I a lot from the 8th grade book talks come along, and then a few more for older teens. A lot more with male protagonists.

The first group is what you'd expect for a group of teens up at 7:30am - zoned out. But at least they were quiet and I ended up babbling at them for more than the 30 minutes I was allotted. But I guess the teacher was enjoying it because SHE didn't want to leave! haha.

The next group I had it was right before their lunch break and they were very restless. Still, I did my best, trying to talk over and around those not paying attention. The school librarian was not happy though. She apologized for their behavior but whatever. They were hungry, there's only like 8 days left of school. I forgive them haha.

I had a huge break as no one had signed up for the session around lunch. Gave me time to eat my own lunch and rethink my strategy for a few of the booktalks. I have little scripts written for each of the books, but I really prefer not to read them straight. Everyone knows what it sounds like when someone is just reading off the page. Even though I write out an entire speech, after I've gone through it once, I tend to improvise a bit, try to loosen up the language to make it sound like I'm talking off the top of my head. I think it's more believable that I LIKE the book if I can talk about it that way - I mean, if someone is just reading a review to you vs. someone talking to you about a book they like: which person are you more likely to believe?

And I'll be honest, I didn't read every single book on the table. I know BLASPHEME! But what are friends for? My friend was on Great Books last year and I had her write up booktalks for me for a few of her favorite titles. After reading them a few time, I made them my own and voila - 8 extra books to talk!

The next class was an honors English class, clearly already made up of some big readers. They were the only class that responded right away to my "anyone see anything on the desk they want to hear about?" and they kept me going for the full 30 minutes calling out which titles they wanted to know more about.

The class after them was a bit rougher (getting into the final sessions of the day) but they actually started calling out titles too and we got so carried away we went over into the next class' session! They too played hard to get, but by the end (when the bell rang) I had a few people look at me like "Wait, what's that one!". I hollered out that the booklist would be at the library and to come visit!

All in all, a good day, though I am exhausted. I will def. be stopping for coffee again tomorrow. Hopefully I have a voice! I'll post booklists tomorrow too.