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.
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