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.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Booktalk: Drita, My Homegirl (Virginia Readers' Choice)
[Show cover] I want you to take a look at the cover of Drita, My Homegirl. We see two girls' backpacks: one says, "I love Kosova," and the other says, "I love New York." This is an interesting cover, because it didn't happen anywhere in the book, but it easily could have. Drita [point to girl with "I love Kosova" backpack] came to America from war-torn Kosovo. She's a refugee. Her mom is so depressed that she cries all day. Drita goes to public school in New York City and is really struggling both to make friends and to learn English. Maxie [point to girl on cover with "I love New York" backpack] is the same age as Drita, and has a really wicked temper. Maxie's a good kid, but she's impulsive and she gets into trouble. If you yell at Maxie, she'll yell back. Loudly. Maxie isn't super nice to Drita when she first meets her: in fact, she comes up with a really mean name for Drita. But when a girl named Brandee smacks Drita in the face during a basketball game, Maxie comes to Drita's defense. These two girls are very, very different, but they're starting to get each other. They actually have something in common (which Maxie keeps to herself) that could make them life-long friends. Drita, My Homegirl by Jenny Lombard.
Drita, My Homegirl by Jenny Lombard. 135 p. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2006. Booktalk to intermediate grades and possibly to middle school.