Title: The Booktalker’s Bible: How to Talk About the Books You Love to Any Audience
Author: Chapple Langemack
ISBN: 1563089440
Pages: 199 pages
Publisher/Date: Libraries Unlimited, c2003.

I’ll give you that I’m biased in a big way, but I think a better question is why not booktalk? If you are trying to generate enthusiasm for books and reading, then booktalking is a grand way to do it. Booktalking creates a personal connection with any audience, and it needs no specialized equipment. You can adapt and change a booktalk at a moment’s notice; the only cost is your time and preparation–nearly anyone can do it. What’s not to like? (1)

Chapple Langemack seems very knowledgable about the subject, and she presents her tips in a personable and chatty tone, setting readers at ease with the prospects of book talking. She covers everything from drafting a booktalk to the physical and psychological aspects of presenting. The lengthy apendixes in the back list resources for more information, along with a complete collection of the books she mentioned and used as examples. Whole lists could be culled from the bullet points that she makes throughout the various chapters. For instance, in the chapter “Booktalking to Children and Teens,” she suggests librarians:

  • Know your audience inside and out.
  • Expect the unexpected. (and be prepared for it)
  • Tips on choosing fiction, nonfiction, prizewinners (even the ones you don’t like), classics, poetry and graphic novels. (and if all else fails, gross them out). These tips come complete with bibliographies in most cases.
  • Tips on using props, costumes, games, music, and recordings.

She then has a seperate chapter specifically designed for school visits. A great suggestion is to get to know your school media specialist, even if it’s just stopping in for a few minutes ever month.

Adult librarians will also find a multitude of information, for booktalking to adults at service organizations and senior citizen homes, among other situations. What all librarians can utilize is the six golden rules of booktalking:

  1. Read the book. “The whole point of booktalking is to share the enthusiasm you feel for a book with others. You can’t have enthusiasm for a book you haven’t read.” (27)
  2. Like the books you booktalk. “If your audience didn’t want your personal recommendations, they could stay home and read the New York Times Book Review.” (28)
  3. Know your audience. “Know about your audience in the general terms of the needs of its particular age or developmental group. Know your audience in the specifics of age, gender, interests, and background.” (29)
  4. Booktalk. “I don’t want you to review the book or reprise the book or rehash the book. [. . .] Booktalking is not telling the whole plot of the book, neither is it tendering a review of the book.” (29)
  5. Don’t Tell the Ending! “Don’t put your audience in the position of having to stick their fingers in their ears and hum. [. . .] Just know that severe karmic penalties are involved if you break this rule.” (30)
  6. Leave a list. “Put the titles and the authors and a brief sentence identifying the book. […] Also include your name, library or agency, and contact information.” (30)

Even though I’m sure there are more books, and more recent books out there, (some of her sources are from the 1990s since the book was written seven years ago), consider taking a look at this one.

This post is in honor of Nonfiction Mondays. Join Cindy and Lynn over at Bookends for their round-up of all the participants for Nonfiction Mondays.

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