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  • August 2010
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Why librarians booktalk

For the past four weeks I (and librarians like me) have visited Peabody High School as part of a weekly librarian visit to the Pittsburgh Public Schools Summer Dreamers Academy. Each week we brought a “library lesson” to the campers, whether it was how to participate in the Teen Summer Reading Program, identifying your local library and learning about library privileges,  how to choose a book in 5 minutes, or, my favorite, the difference between a booktalk and a book review.

For those non-summer dreamers (or for those that simply missed that week’s library visit) a book review’s purpose is to give one’s opinion and basic information about the book, whereas a booktalk is trying to hook you, grab your interest and attention and make you want to read the book. Last week I booktalked the title,

Skeleton Man, by Joseph Bruchac

I set the scene for 11 year old Molly, whose parents have disappeared and who is living with a creepy old man who claims to be her uncle; I told the story of the skeleton monster, the lazy uncle who begins to eat the skin off of his body, and then proceeds to eat all of his relatives; and finally, I leave the audience with the question of how will Molly escape (or will she…)

At the end of the booktalk, the goal is for all the students to be waving their hands in the air and peppering the booktalker with questions like, “ooh! I want to read that book,” and “what happened next?” or “Can I take that book out now?”

Afterward, each student in the class was working on their own book review or booktalk of a book they’d read. There was one guy who wasn’t too interested in writing either of the two, despite frequent requests to “be on task” by both the librarians and teachers.

But then he asked me if he could see “that Skeleton Man book.” He opened the book and started to read. And that’s what he did for the rest of the period. And that moment of connecting students or people with books, when the book grabbed him, that’s why I booktalk, and that, in the end, is  why I became a librarian.



CLP-Hill District

One Response

  1. Way to go Ian. It’s always great to hear stories like these 🙂

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