Focus on Nonfiction: Interview with Author Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson writes nonfiction (mainly science) books for kids and young adults. In my first year doing booktalks, I shared her book WHEN LUNCH FIGHTS BACK: WICKEDLY CLEVER ANIMAL DEFENSES at elementary schools. Fifth and sixth graders were simultaneously awed, disgusted, and intrigued when they heard that fulmar chicks ward off predators by vomiting on them. (The chicks can hit a moving target from 6 feet away — how cool Read More …

Focus on Nonfiction: Interview with Author Elizabeth Rusch

Elizabeth Rusch is the author of numerous acclaimed nonfiction titles for youth, with topics ranging from volcanoes and asteroids to the invention of the piano. I discovered her books several years ago with THE MIGHTY MARS ROVERS, which I loved for its clarity and strong storytelling. I am delighted that she has agreed to share her perspective on writing nonfiction for kids. How did you get started Read More …

Best of 2017 Booktalks

I am just about to launch into my new spring booktalk season, but before I do, I want to share a list of superstar titles from booktalks in 2017. There are 18 titles here, drawn from the 72 books I used in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes during the year. These were the books the kids got most excited Read More …

Booktalk for THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada was born with a club foot, which means it twists in on itself, and she can’t walk. She gets around her family’s one-room apartment by scooting sitting down. She loves looking out their one window, three stories above the streets of London. Her mother doesn’t let her leave the apartment. Ever. Not even to go to school. In ten years, Ada has Read More …

Booktalk for MURDER IS BAD MANNERS by Robin Stevens

At 5:40 p.m. on Monday, October 29, Hazel Wong runs back to the school gymnasium to grab the sweater she left behind — and there lying on the floor under the balcony is her science teacher, Miss Bell. She’s dead. Hazel rushes to get her friend Daisy, president of their two-person Detective Society. When they return to the gym five Read More …

Booktalk for UNDER THEIR SKIN by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Nick and Eryn are twelve-year-old twins. Their parents have been divorced for ages, ever since the twins were little, so Nick and Eryn are surprised when their mother suddenly announces she’s getting re-married. They don’t believe her when she says their life won’t change much. After all, they’re moving into a new house. They’ll have a stepdad. They’ll have new stepsiblings. Read More …