I read a lot of children's/teen literature for my job as a reference librarian on the youth services team. A booktalk is an effort to get a young reader to pick up the book and read it. It's not a book review - it's more like a brief sales pitch. My goal is to write the booktalks (as soon as I've read the books) and to make them accessible to my colleagues, parents, and other readers.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
From Russia With Love: Booktalk 1
Rose lost her best friend by choosing to attend a special school for the arts [dance, music] instead of the local public school. But even in her private school, Rose feels like an outsider. She's a dancer, like many of the other teens, but she has few friends, no social life, low self-esteem, and no real joy in her daily life, except for fleeting moments of loving dance. Yrena, the Soviet girl across the street whose window Rose can see into, has never spoken to Rose. When Yrena walks to her own school, special agents follow discretely behind her. Rose knows very little about her, until Yrena's face pops up unexpectedly at Rose's bedroom window one day. Shocked, Rose lets her in, and in surprised at Yrena's friendliness and curiosity about Rose's life and the lives of American teenagers in general. In spite of her closely monitored and controlled life, Yrena seems confident, friendly, secure, and happy. She's an outsider in this country, but she has a lot to teach Rose. When they drop in on a party [Rose would never have done this before], Yrena stands up to the girls who bullied Rose. It's like watching a master, a queen bee who's both kind and strong. But can a girl who is under such close governmental control really be available for friendship? Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci is an intriguing novel about friendship, dance, and openness.
Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci. 197 p. Scholastic, 2010. Booktalk to high school.