Tag Archives: 4th grade

Booktalk Schedule–Fourth Grade

This year I’m hoping to continue my 4th grade booktalk class visits that were so fun and successful last year. I’ve talked with the two teachers I worked with last school year, and one gave me a list of core standards that I could talk about and share books on. I have about 9 topics to cover:

  • Folktales, fables, legends, and myths: What are the differences, where can you find them in the library, what are some awesome books in each areas.
  • Biographies/Autobiographies: Not just the regular requisite 100 pg assignment.
  • Mystery: From sleuths to spooky tales, get a clue here!
  • Historical Fiction: From the distant past to recent history, we’ll talk about what it is and some good books to read.
  • Non-fiction: There are a TON of super awesome non-fiction books out there that are fun to read and fascinating!
  • Fantasy: From talking animals to wizards and everything in between.
  • Science Fiction: cool gizmos and aliens, along with travels through time.
  • Realistic Fiction: Real kids, real fun, and real situations.
  • Fiction: I’m not sure why this is on the list, but sure I can talk about 4th grade fiction.

So here’s to a great school year with lots of awesome book talks!

Twisted Fairy Tales

After I did my historical fiction book talk in February, the teacher e-mailed me to invite me back to share books again. *happy dance* I was also invited to visit another fourth grade class in the school. I’m planning on sharing the same books in the two classes, as there shouldn’t be any overlap of students. My theme for this set of book talks is twisted fairy tales/old fashioned fairy tales, with the Adam Gidwitz’ A Tale Dark and Grimm as the inspiration. In my library system it is in the teen section, but I think it is suitable for the 4th grade audience. Most of the kids are good readers, reading Percy Jackson and the like.

A Tale Dark and Grimm After introducing myself and announcing upcoming programs, I’ll read the introduction to A Tale Dark and Grimm, which lays out the theme for the book talk: fairy tales, and how they once were awesome and still are pretty good adventures. It is a good introduction to the tone of the book, as it is the narrator talking. I’d describe this book as a cross between the Brother’s Grimm and Lemony Snickett.

Then I plan on reading an original Brother’s Grimm’s tale, one of the more grim tales. I’m thinking the “Seven Ravens.” Grimm’s Fairy Tales are available from Project Gutenburg for free. We just got a new copy at the library, and I’ll bring that to show them where they can find these stories. I also have another collection of Grimm’s fairy tales called Grimm’s Grimmest, which is a little scary for them. I do warn them that it is violent, but that just gets them excited. Grimm's Grimmest

The Frog Princess (Tales of the Frog Princess, #1) Next I share something lighter, The Frog Princess, which is not as girly as the cover suggests, though there may be too much kissing for much crossover appeal. Honestly, if they cut a few of the kissing scenes this could be a good boy book. There are good parts about eating bugs, and adventure scenes running away from snakes. I was surprised that none of the kids had read it in the first class I visited.

How to Save Your Tail*: *if you are a rat nabbed by cats who really like stories about magic spoons, wolves with snout-warts, big, hairy chimney trolls . . . and cookies, too. After that, I introduced them to a pretty easy read How to Save Your Tail*: *if you are a rat nabbed by cats who really like stories about magic spoons, wolves with snout-warts, big, hairy chimney trolls . . . and cookies, too. It is sort of a Geronimo Stilton meets the Brother’s Grimm, with a little Arabian Nights. It is fun and not too scary, but also an easier read for struggling readers.

The Ordinary Princess I wrap it up with a book I loved from my childhood: An Ordinary Princess, it is kind of a girly book, and like the last book, it is easier read. I introduce the basic premise, but there is no cliffhanger in this book. At the same time, I think it is a gentler read and a nice counterpoint to the scariness of the first books.

For the first group I also did a little blurb for the Sister’s Grimm, but I think I’ll cut it for this final talk.
This post is part of Book Talk Tuesday, at Lemme Library, check out the other great posts!

Historical Facts and Fiction for Fourth Graders

When this fourth grade teacher invited me to her class, I was distracted by the first part of the email where she told me that students don’t use the public library because of the internet. So I didn’t realize until shortly before the presentation what exactly she wanted, which was booktalks and not a presentation on libraries. Since it was a last second switch, I selected books I’d recently read and that sort of connected. The theme was children in the past, which lead into a presentation on slavery. Our county’s reading program has been slave narratives, and I was promoting a program I’d planned.

I book talked three books:

1. Knucklehead, a memoir of growing up in the 1960’s that is laugh out loud funny, and a crowd pleaser. Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka
2. One Crazy Summer, a recent award winner, and the story of three girls in Oakland and the Black Panther movement. The kids were dying to know what was in the kitchen that Delphine’s mother wouldn’t let them see, but I wouldn’t tell them. I’m hoping some one picked the book up to find out. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to find out! One Crazy Summer
3. Elijah of Buxton, an older title, but a surprising favorite. Even the teacher was amazed that four or five of her kids had read this. Several of the kids had already moved onto Bud, Not Buddy. It is always a mixed blessing to recommend books to people they’ve already read and loved, it means I’m on the right track, but that this one will not work. Elijah Of Buxton

The last title was a good transition to my presentation on slavery, as I had brought a picture of the school class at Buxton along with other pictures and documents on slavery. Even the kids who had read the book were interested in the pictures and finding out about the real place the book was based on.

Because the presentation is kind of a downer, especially because many of the children had no idea about slavery, I ended up reading Tadpole’s Promise, which the kids enjoyed. Though a couple told me it wasn’t the happy ending I’d promised them!

And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street

Last week was Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and I had the opportunity to share some stories and activities with students. Including a surprise visit on Dr. Seuss’ birthday to share a story with two grades of students. The school librarian called and invited me to come read to 4th and 5th grade classes to help celebrate Read Across America. I’d already planned a pre-school visit for 11 am, so I wanted to squeeze this visit in before. So I had to find something I could share with these kids that wouldn’t take more then 10 min. This was harder then it seemed, because most Dr. Seuss stories are long, and could take twice as much as that easy! So I decided to read And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street which is both one of my favorites and much shorter. And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street

It was interesting to read the same book for each class because no two classes reacted the same. One fifth grade class had a girl who just kept saying “that would be crazy messed up!” While one of the fourth grade classes had a group of girls whose response to my question about what could be added to the story Marco invents was to say “you could turn the page, that would make the story better!” Some kids had the book and followed around, while in one class kids muttered that they hated that book. My favorite part was asking the kids what things they could add to the parade to make it more exciting. There were lots of creative suggestions, a potato, dragons, missiles, talking animals. I hope that the kids take the message of the book and look at the world to find all the exciting things there are to see!

Biographies for Fourth Graders

One of my first outreach visits this year was to a fourth grade class in the school right up the hill from where I work. The teacher requested I talk about biographies, so that the class would be ready to do their book report. I was already familiar with this assignment, as every winter we are deluged with 3/4 grade students who need to read a biography. They usually end up with a dry bio of Abraham Lincoln, or a 10 year old biography of Britney Spears (I exaggerate, I TOTALLY weeded that one out). So I found some fun bios to share with them. Here are a few highlights:

I opened reading a passage from Bad News for Outlaws Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U. S. Marshal (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades) Which depicts the gun fight between Bass Reeves and a fugitive, and leaves the audience wanting more. We talked about how many people have lived that we’ve never heard of, and how we can read biographies to find out about new people or new things about people we already know.

Ain't Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry Biography of a legend.

Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean A Graphic Novel Biography.

Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country) Another perspective on an old standard.

And the best of the best, this is the book that I had to rip out of the hands of a crowd of excited boys: Knucklehead, more of a humorous memoir, but very well received. Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka