Monday, October 26, 2009

Teen Read Week booktalks

Back at the Mass Library Association meeting in May, a school librarian came in and was talking about the art of the booktalk, and how if you want to get into classrooms you need to take no more than 10 minutes, and ideally you can get through 20 books in that time. And then she did so.

And because I'm me, my first thought was, "Pff. I can do that."

Well, it took more than a month of writing, editing, reading, trimming, rehearsing, and re-trimming, but I more or less did, and it is NOT as easy as she made it look. 20 books in the high school, 20 other books for the middle school. Presentations ran between 10 and 13 minutes, depending how much time I had to fill, and I did it 16 times.

I give you the benefit of my supposed expertise. The lists have been uploaded (high school and middle school). I recommend spreading the love around over the entire month, and not offering to do them all in one week, even if you think response from teachers will be poor. The teachers will surprise you, and 20 of them will want presentations. You might get lucky and have all the sixth-grade teachers bring their kids to an assembly at once, if you consider presenting an assembly for 300+ kids "lucky."

And most importantly, did it work? I had 5 kids sign out books on the spot at the high school, and had requests for 6 other books during the week. A response of 11 kids for the ~600 or so I spoke to isn't great, but we're talking teens, so I'm considering it phenomenal. And I am finding the booklists I passed around in the library, many of them with stars or other markings next to several titles. It's a beginning. Now I just need to get the other 590 kids to connect with a book...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Teens Top 10

The Teens Top Ten books were announced today and I have to say, I'm slightly surprised. Kuedos to John Green for taking the top slot, but I have to admit that really shocked me, that and the presence of Frankie Landau Banks- which, quite frankly collects dust on my shelves. I'm glad to see a literary book win out over the paranormal stuff that has been dominating YA fiction (not that paranormal stuff isn't great, I read as much of it as my teens, but...). Nerdfighters are apparently a force to be reckoned with! What do you think of this year's choices? What are you surprised about not making the list?

1. Paper Towns by John Green (Penguin/Dutton)
2. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
4. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
5. Identical by Ellen Hopkins (Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry)
6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
7. Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse)
8. Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's Griffin)
9. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Disney-Hyperion)
10. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)