OYAN Review: Booktalking Resources from Jackson County Library Services

This post is an article from the Fall 2016 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Anna Monders of Jackson County Library Services.

A white woman with long hair stands in front of low bookshelves topped with face-out books. She is holding a book and talking about it to a group of students who are facing away from the camera.A booktalk isn’t a summary of a book or a review of one. I like to think of a booktalk as a teaser. Or better yet, a movie trailer with live-action theatre.

As the booktalk specialist for Jackson County Library Services in Southern Oregon, I present booktalks to 4th-7th grade classes throughout the county. I want the kids in my audience to go home and beg their parents to take them to the library. I want them to say, “There was this lady who came to school today and she talked about all these books and there’s this one I’ve got to read so we need to go to the library RIGHT NOW! … Please?”

Booktalks work. I see kids eager to read — and excited to try out new titles and genres. After a 30-45 minute booktalk presentation in their classroom, kids do insist on being taken to the public library. They swarm their school library asking for the books. I am lucky enough to have a (public library) job that is dedicated to booktalking (in schools), and it allows me the time to prepare 35-40 books, spring and fall. I then share the titles with upwards of 2500 students in our area each semester.

The title lists that I use for each grade are available on the Jackson County Library Services website. I also make the booktalks themselves available on my blog. These are well tested booktalks that you may use or adapt. I add personal commentary from my experiences sharing the books in elementary and middle schools.

I hope this will be a useful resource for school and public library staff who’d like to do more booktalks (but don’t have time to select and prepare titles), as well as parents and teachers looking for great books to share with kids.

Happy booktalking.

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