Friday, May 16, 2008

School Visits

I think we're all catching up on our blogging! Emily's posted today, I'm going to post about a few different things, and maybe Karen will sneak one in too!

I love doing school visits. Well, let me rephrase that. I love doing school visits when I'm in the mood to do them! :) I've been trekking over to schools the past week or so to talk about the Teen Summer Reading Program. While there, I talk up a handful of books. Sometimes, the teens ask about specific types of books. (ie, "I love Twilight!!!--Squeee!" and then I mention L.J. Smith's Vampire Diaries as a good book to read next) But most of the time, I use books to give the teens an example of what's expected from our book review forms they can fill out this summer. I thought that our readers of this blog may also like to know what I've been using!

The first one is Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers.

I reviewed this book several months ago for a library journal. So, I wasn't going to talk about it here. But I wanted to share to the classes a realistic fiction book that boys would enjoy. A companion book to Fallen Angels, Myers' Vietnam War novel, this novel can be read without knowing a single thing about Fallen Angels. Robin Perry is fresh out of high school and has enlisted in the military. It's 2003 and the Iraq War is about to begin. Perry receives minimal weapons training because he's a Civil Affairs soldier--the soldiers who come in after the fighting to help civilians. He's told that he'll be away from the fighting and he believes it until his hummer crosses the border of Iraq and he sees the body bags lined up. Welcome to Iraq.

This is the first Iraq War novel written for teens. Myers writes subtly and leaves a lot to the imagination of his readers. Unfortunately for me, I have a vivid imagination. So when Robin has to kill at close range, I envision the blood splatter. Those images will be different for every reader which is why this is a great title to booktalk. After my first day of presenting, I had people trying to buy the book off of me. I told them to come to the library...

The next books I talked up are ones from my assignments for the popular paperbacks committee for YALSA. I've already spoken about one in a previous post: The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. So I won't discuss that one again. One of my assigned themes is Spies and Intrigue. Think Stormbreaker or The Bourne Identity and you have a good idea what the theme is all about! This book, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter is a fun grrl power book. Cammie is a Gallagher Girl, a student at the all-girls boarding school, Gallagher Academy. To the outside world, the school looks like a very elite and private school that pampers to the wealthy girls of the uppercrust. Once inside, you would discover that it is true--it's very elite and private and the school does pamper to a certain clientele. But that clientele isn't the welathy uppercrust. It pampers to the CIA, FBI, Interpol, MI6. That's right. All the students there are daughters of current or former spies and this school is training them to follow in their parents' footsteps. On her first covert op training mission, Cammie and two of her classmates must tail a professor to a town festival to find out what he drinks with funnel cakes. Her classmates are discovered and only Cammie finds out. As she reaches into the trash to pick up the empty glass bottle of Dr. Pepper, she realizes that she's been spotted by a teen boy. And what's worse--he starts to talk to her and possibly flirts with her. Between Cammie and her friends they decide to investigate him to find out if he's a mole sent to infiltrate the Gallagher Academy or is he just a teen boy looking for a girlfriend?

Fundamentally a relationship book, but has humor, action, and spy technology that makes this a great read for the summer. Oh, and Disney has optioned this for a movie. Who knows if or when it'll come out. But there you have it!

So there's a few of the books I booktalked for the past week or so. I need to get them turned in now so the teens can read them!

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