Sunday Salon: My First Book Talk

So, I got a job three weeks ago. When K started kindergarten, I figured that while I love volunteering at the library, I’d also love to have something where I got paid. I’d rather not work too many hours a week, and I wanted something somewhere where I could be surrounded by things I enjoyed. That said, I beefed up a resume (I haven’t worked for money for 12 years!), and sent them out to a few places. One of which was our local independent bookstore, Watermark Books. I honestly didn’t think I’d hear back from them; it seems like no one ever leaves Watermark, and they don’t hire very often. And yet, I did. Which shocked me to no end.

The short version of all this was that the manager, Sarah Bagby, was impressed with my blogging and my bookish knowledge, and wanted me on her staff. (I almost fell over, I was so shell-shocked). And after working things out on her hand, hired me, part-time. She’s amazingly willing to work around my schedule, fitting me in for about 15 to 20 hours a week. And they’ve started throwing me things.

The latest of which was a book talk for about 7 preschool teachers. Which completely stressed me out, because I’ve. Never. Done. One. Before.

Thankfully, I have the wonderful kidlit community, and I turned to them for suggestions. I took the wonderful ideas given me by Jen (Jen Robinson’s Books), Abby(Abby the Librarian), Pam (MotherReader), Betsy (Fuse #8) and others, checked out about 50 books from the library and the store, and sat down to read with A and K. Actually, that was the best part about this whole experience. In the past two years, my delightful daughters have decided that they’d rather have chapter books read to them than sit down with several picture books. And so, I just haven’t had the opportunity to peruse what’s out there anymore. And, to be honest, while I love reading chapter books aloud to them, there is something to be said about snuggling up with your children and reading a good picture books.

I couldn’t select all the ones we read; not even all the ones we really liked. But I did narrow it down to our favorites that we were actually currently carrying in the store.

The actual talk part of it went well, I think. I talked too fast, probably — I tend to do that when I’m nervous — and I felt more comfortable talking about the middle grade and YA books I had selected (they wanted a few older books as well) than the picture books. But, I read a few, showed a lot of pictures, laughed with them, and basically had a good time. I was exhausted and shell-shocked afterward, but I did it. (And they all bought books afterward, too!)

So, what did I pitch to the teachers (they work with ages 2 1/2 to 6)?

The Lion and the Mouse
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Dinosaur vs. the Library
You Will Be My Friend!
Happy Pig Day!
Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five
Little White Rabbit
Where’s My T-R-U-C-K?
13 Words
Pride and Prejudice
Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl
Bink & Gollie
Ladder to the Moon
Grandpa Green

Out of these, the ones they liked the best were RRRalph, Where’s My T-R-U-C-K?, and the Pride and Prejudice board book. Hands down, though, everyone’s favorite (from my kids to Hubby to the teachers) was this one:

I Want My Hat Back

It was so hilarious that A and K insisted I read it over and over. And, thankfully, it stands up to that.
As for the older books, I talked up:
Because of Mr. Terupt
Guys Read: Funny Business
11 Birthdays
A Tale Dark and Grimm
Heist Society
The Name of the Star
Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Out of these, they bought A Tale Dark and Grimm, Guys Read: Thriller (I had told them about that one, but I didn’t pitch it because I haven’t read it), Leviathan and Heist Society (this one was for one of the teacher’s book group — “We’re actually a drinking group that reads” — for their December book. I think they’ll like it.)

All in all, a good experience, I think. I don’t know if I’m eager to do it again, though now that I’ve done it once, the next time shouldn’t be so bad. Right?

11 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: My First Book Talk

  1. How awesome, Melissa! I just read I Want My Hat Back to my daughter's kindergarten class on Friday, too! Personally, I don't think that the preschooler set is going to get the subtle humor in that one as much as Kindergartners and early elementary little ones, and the 5-6 year olds I read it too ate it up!

    So glad you're loving this job!


  2. I'm so glad that it went well (though not surprised). Glad that I was able to help a bit. And yes, next time will definitely be easier (and I'll bet that there is a next time). But for now, celebrate knowing that you did a good job and discovered some fun books!


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