From Page to Poem: Booktalks in Verse

April 24th, 2011 by

You’ve probably  heard your teacher or librarian use the term “booktalk” — meaning a book preview kind of speech to get you interested in reading something new. But have you ever come across booktalk poetry? Well, prepare to behold its brilliance!

Fine, I’m just saying that because I wrote these myself. So be forewarned! But it’s National Poetry Month and our Kidsmomo theme is Poetry and Verse — so I couldn’t resist!

First, a limerick for a hilarious book series:

Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker

There once was a girl with a fruit name.
Nobody else was quite the same.
She’s totally funny.
I’d even bet money,
You’ll agree that her books all deserve fame!
 

And next, two haiku (hey! that rhymes!):

Holes by Louis Sachar

I’m at Camp Green Lake.
It’s not green; there is no lake.
Darn my grandpa’s curse!
 

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

The hippo is dead.
Was he killed? If so, by whom?
Must investigate!
 

And finally, my masterpiece — a poem for one of my new favorite books:

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

Meet the Ps —
Michael, Emma, and Kate.
Evil was hunting them,
But arrived too late.

They’d already been taken
Away from mom and dad;
They lived as orphans
To be protected from bad.

Then one fateful day,
They discover a book.
It’s not as innocent
As it may look!

Before they know it,
They’re in the past,
And there they meet
A peculiar cast:

An evil Countess
And her scary Screechers,
A wizard, dwarves,
And other creatures…

It’s up to the kids
To save the day.
Can they do it?
I will not say!

You’ll have to read
The book yourself;
It deserves a home
On your bookshelf.

Also, check out this Ode to the Mysterious Benedict Society that I wrote a while back.

So, I hope these poetic booktalks have entertained — but more importantly, I hope they’ve inspired! If the spirit moves you, please try your hand at booktalk poetry and share your verse in the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with!

— Karen

Back in the day, Karen used to write lots of poetry. Once, she was inspired to wrote a poem immediately upon arriving in Italy on vacation with her parents. It was all about the horribly hot weather.

More about Karen »

Small Steps: One Giant Leap of Awesome

July 29th, 2010 by

There are many things in this world that divide us. Some of us are dog lovers while others prefer cats. Some of us crave ice cream while others enjoy sorbet (ahem, Nancy). Some of us are first in line for horror films while others are such fraidy cats that they even have to mute TV commercials for scary movies (okay, fine, I’m in the second camp). But despite all our differences, I think there’s one thing we can all agree on: Holes by Louis Sachar is one darn amazing book. And not just because it’s a Newbery Medal winner, it’s just… really, really good.

small-steps-louis-sachar-book-reviewSo for obvious reasons, children’s book lovers everywhere (or at least in the U.S.) were all excited when the companion book, Small Steps, was published years later. I was among those children’s book lovers eagerly anticipating its release. And then… well, it took me four years to get around to reading it. FAIL.

Of course, that means I’m totally behind the times — when it’s kind of my job to be on top of this stuff. (Seriously, Small Steps came out in 2006. That’s before even Harry Potter 7. And the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid hadn’t even been published yet! MASSIVE FAIL by me.)

But that’s not even the worst part. No, the worst part is that I missed out on reading a great book! Because, as we can expect from Louis Sachar, Small Steps is pretty darn good. Although to be honest, it’s not as fantastic as Holes — but then again, very few books are.

Small Steps is the story of Armpit, who was one of Stanley’s fellow inmates at Camp Green Lake. Now that he’s free, Armpit’s just trying to make it through high school and stay out of trouble. But with a friend like X-Ray (also from Camp Green Lake days), you know that’s not gonna happen. It’s not good for Armpit, but it makes for a captivating read! Get ready for: a ticket scalping scheme, a teen pop idol, a criminal investigation, and a sweet new friend.

I do have to warn you, there’s some pretty whacked out crazy stuff that goes down towards the end of the story, so I’d recommend this book for only middle schoolers and up. The plot twists kind of reminded me of Carl Hiaasen’s books for kids: Hoot, Scat, and Flush. (If you need to get your parents on board with you reading Small Steps, show them the Wikipedia plot summary of the book, which gives details on what I’m talking about. But don’t read the re-cap yourself — major spoiler alert!)

In the book, Armpit learns some valuable lessons, and I did too: don’t wait four years to read a book that everyone else says is really awesome, especially if it’s written by the same awesome author of another awesome book that you think is awesome! Please, learn from my mistake.

— Karen

Karen doesn’t take small steps. She has long legs, so she actually walks with pretty big strides. And yet, Karen has never been a fast runner. What’s up with that?


More about Karen »

Kidsmomo Podcast #6: “Lights, Camera, Action”

September 28th, 2009 by

Can a film adaptation ever be better than the book? What’s the next book-based movie that should be made? And what in the heck is “Lemonade Snicket”? The answers to all these questions — and more! — in our latest podcast, all about books that have been made into movies!

      (15:58) 
    Download the MP3 (11.5 MB)

  • This Podcast’s Bad Beginning — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Books on the big screen (both real and imagined)
  • Our film-bound book picks (Holes and Nim’s Island)
  • Daydreams of Shia LaBeouf

And when you’re done listening, don’t forget: our next theme is historical fiction! So watch our latest Mystery Book Theater video check out these timeless historical novels. Get it? They’re timeless? Man, we are so funny…)

— Nancy and Karen