My Mad Skillz at Booktalking

About the only consistent group of elementary aged students I see is my knitting group, so it happens more often that I notice a book I think that one of them will enjoy. Certainly there are other regular patrons for whom I think of things, but as a group…

A couple weeks back I walked in with a pile. I usually try to talk about whatever it is I’m reading each week, knowing that that title tends to then be put on hold by a couple of people, but this time I was armed and dangerous. I talked for about 20 minutes…

Titles presented included

Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

Alexa is an inquisitive only child left to her own devices during a long hot summer. She lives in a town surrounded by walls and where you can only travel to other nearby towns on walled roads. It’s a very controlled place, a safe place, but Alexa wonders what might be outside those walls. I recommend the audiobook read by Aaste Vigesaa, she does an amazing squirrel voice.


Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

I continually hand this book out, it’s a wonderful book for guys.

My full review is here.

What makes this an easy talk to parents and kids is that Will finds his own way, and that own way is not the one he grew up thinking it might be. He dreamed of being a warrior, but physically was not fit for it. Instead he was able to find a place where physically and mentally he excelled. There’s probably a good sneaky lesson about not just turning to violence in here but there’s enough action to keep everyone happy.

Falconer’s Knot by Mary Hoffman

Again, one I’ve previously reviewed with favor. This historical novel tosses in art history along side daggers and intrigue and it points out some realities without being gruesome. It’s a good middle grades novel, not so cutting edge that late tweens can’t handle it but not too babyish for older kids. Strong male and female voice, though the female voice leads.

I pulled this one for the boy in the group–even though it’s a split protagonist. This is in the Teen section and, while I’m not sure if he’s quite ready for the “problem novels,” he’s certainly mature enough for a little older material. He just finished all the Chronicles of Pryddian. (He also got Ranger’s Apprentice)

Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer

I *heart* Nancy Springer and this series in a big way. The fact that I am the number one person on the holds list for the fifth book (cover shown here) and that my teen librarian is number two, yeah….we’re into it. It’s just such a pleasure to meet a strong female protagonist who, along with being gutsy, ISN’T out to get the guy. We’re a full four books in and there is no love interest in site. Bravo! Not to say boys can’t be introduced but it isn’t Springer’s focus. This series go home with the girls and comes back with rave reviews and “when is the next one?” About a month, ladies, about a month.

Third book review here.

Choose Your Own Adventure

And finally, I took a handful of these in. I grew up fully loving the one that was about Henry VIII and his various wives. Was it the best way to get my history lessons in? No…but I think it might be the first time I realized that not only did he behead two wives, he also probably killed two nephews. There are new copies available with up to date covers. Something to pass on to your adventurer.