Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel (Booktalk)

Paleontologists love their fossils, and most of them are not thought of as people who get into fistfights with each other in public. Rachel's and Samuel's fathers are both paleontologists who hate each other's guts. Even worse, both men are competing for the same hidden fossil: the rumored bones of a giant "Rex" buried somewhere in the Badlands. It's the late nineteenth century, and this find would elevate one of them to worldwide fame.

So it would be logical that Rachel and Samuel would hate one another, too, but they don't. They learn to appreciate how much they have in common with one another: they're both kind, analytical, and fascinated with fossils. Both of them want to find these secret bones, too, and they have to find a way to keep their bond hidden from their fathers.

Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel. 2016: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. 368 pages. Booktalk to older teens due to some adult content.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers (Booktalk)

[Begin by showing page 2 in which William is drawing an owl on the ground.] William is lonely. He lives in an orphanage. Notice the drab colors in this drawing.

A mysterious man passes him, carrying tools. 

Look what appears the next morning [show owl topiary page].

William stares at it all day, and he goes to bed filled with a sense of excitement. [Show picture of house with cats.] More and more start to appear: what do you notice is happening?

The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers: 2016. [48] p. Booktalk to grades K-2.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina (Booktalk)

Juana wants you to get her name right. That's her dog, Lucas.
This is Juana. At first I pronounced her name wrong, but she taught me how to say it. It's "who-an-nah." I hate getting people's names wrong, and she's a cool kid. Juana lives in South America in the country of Colombia in a city called Bogota. She loves her dog Lucas, hates her school uniform (it's itchy), loves reading under the covers at night with a flashlight, loves soccer.

You know which class is driving her crazy? English. Yeah, it is. She speaks Spanish, and she is finding English class really, really hard. Her mom says she has to get her grades up, because if she doesn't, she won't get to go on a trip she is dying to go on: a trip to Spaceland in Florida. She cannot wait to meet the comic book superhero Astroman there. So the trip is her carrot on a stick, so to speak.

But English is really, really hard. I know you all don't think so, but many of you were born speaking it, so it came easy to you. Poor Juana. Even Lucas feels bad for her.

Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina. 96 pages. Candlewick: 2016. Booktalk to grades 1-4. Excellent read-aloud.