RA: Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Middle Grade Readers
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RA: Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Middle Grade Readers

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Covers Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Middle Grade Readers, IMLS grant funded.

Covers Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Middle Grade Readers, IMLS grant funded.

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  • * Willingness to read widely to become familiar with genres both fiction and non-fiction. * Knowledge of patrons. * Understanding the appeal of books and the factors that affect that appeal. * Mastery of the readers’ advisory interview. * Help readers find books of interest to them. * Understand what readers are looking for. * Develop an appreciation of the role that “stories” play in their lives.
  • Pacing * Characters and plot quickly or slowly unveiled? *More dialogue or description? * Densely written? *Are sentences, paragraphs and chapters short or long? * Multiple plot lines, flashbacks, alternating chapters or linear plot? * Do characters act or react to events? * Is book end or open-end orie nted? * What is pattern of pacing? Characterization *Developed over time or immediately recognizable stereotypes? *Focus on single character or several intertwined? *Whose point of view? *Are characters most important element of book? *Is reader expected to identify with characters or to observe them? * Are there series characters, followed through and developed over several related novels? * Memorable and important secondary characters? Story line * Emphasizes people or situations and events? * What is author’s intention regarding story line? * Is focus more interior and psychological or exterior and action oriented? Frame * Is background detailed or minimal? *Does the frame affect the tone or atmosphere? * Is there a special background? from “Articulating a Book’s Appeal” in Joyce Saricks and Nancy Brown, Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library. 2nd ed. Chicago : ALA , 1997. Language Is the language appealing? Is the writing engaging? Is dialogue true to character? Setting How does time and place fit in? Is worldbuilding complete? Are historical details accurate?
  • The readers’ advisory interview uses the same welcoming behaviors as the reference interview. Approachability is the key. Use appropriate body language and make sure patrons understand you have time to talk books and reading with them. The open question varies in the readers’ advisory interview from the reference interview. In the readers’ advisory interview, you are trying to engage the patron in a conversation that elicits a broad set of information about their reading interests and habits. The two phrases you can use are: “ Tell me about a book you read that you really enjoyed.” “ Tell me the story of the last book you enjoyed.” These will elicit the information you need from the patron to appropriately suggest books that match their needs and interests. Here are some categories to watch for as you try to gauge and match their interests. * Genre: Does the patron enjoy mysteries, biographies, or romance novels? * Setting: Where is the story set? One city or around the world? Outdoors? * Time: When is the story taking place? Past, present, future? * Length: Does the patron like short stories or epic novels? * Hero: Is the main character innocent or sophisticated? One hero or many? * Plot: Does the story have a point? A definite beginning and end? * Pacing: Does the author move the story with action or dialogue? * Subject: What or who is the book ultimately about? Readers enjoy books for many reasons. Some become connected to a particular type of story or genre. Some enjoy one genre, such as mysteries, but only if they are set in a particular country, such as English mysteries. They may need a particular setting, such as mountains or small towns, or need a particular subject in the background, such as horseracing, to pique their interest. Almost all readers go through periods of change in their reading habits as they move through life. Assuming that your regular patrons only want one type of reading material year after year limits them and you in achieving their reading goals. Some of the best ways to improve your skills in readers’ advisory are to keep a record of your own reading, browse the new book shelves and best seller lists regularly, and set a goal of doing at least one readers’ advisory interview each reference shift. Hints and Tips for Readers’ Advisory * Browse with the patron – be among the books as you move along in the readers’ advisory interview to allow them time to look over new materials. * Find the common thread in their reading habits and don’t be afraid to suggest books outside their normal genre or subject if you see a connection. * SUGGEST books, don’t recommend. Recommending books means that you are endorsing them, or creating the illusion that you know a “good” book from a “bad” book. When you suggest, you are letting the patron make a choice without feeling pressure from the “expert.” * Let the patron say “No” and don’t feel like a failure when they do. When a patron doesn’t like a particular suggestion, you can gain valuable information. * Watch for easily misunderstood phrases like “good literature” or “classics.” Some readers think Stephen King is a classic writer, while others will disdain any popular author. * Use a follow up question like “Be sure to let us know how you liked the book." or "Are there any other books I can help you find." Key Behaviors * Talk books at the reference desk with other staff so patrons can feel comfortable asking for help. Patrons will hear you and respond with questions of their own. * Be prepared for a discussion and for personal questions – Remember, in these cases the patron is not your friend, but your customer. However, there is more of a social connection with reading, especially for pleasure, than with searching for information, so be prepared to have patrons ask about your reading habits. A general response like “I enjoy all types of books, that’s why I work in a library. Let’s see if we can find something for you” is usually effective. * Use displays for attracting attention (new books, genres, formats). * Be VERY careful when suggesting books in a series. Some patrons love series, and some do not. Make sure if you are suggesting the first book in a trilogy that you tell the patron about the series. Or, if you suggest a book out of order in a series, make sure the patron knows how it fits into the larger series. Some series books can be read in any order, and some need sequence in order to make sense. * Encourage patrons to select more than one book. Patrons usually need several choices once they get home to make sure they have a successful reading experience. Choosing more than one item will encourage them to experiment. The key to successful readers’ advisory services is to have a commitment to serving readers in the library. A responsive attitude and maintaining a neutral stance on the “quality” of an individual’s reading habits will encourage good readers’ advisory interviews. Be aware of popular titles and hot topics, and understand that there are many tools to help you along the way.
  • The readers’ advisory interview uses the same welcoming behaviors as the reference interview. Approachability is the key. Use appropriate body language and make sure patrons understand you have time to talk books and reading with them. The open question varies in the readers’ advisory interview from the reference interview. In the readers’ advisory interview, you are trying to engage the patron in a conversation that elicits a broad set of information about their reading interests and habits. The two phrases you can use are: “ Tell me about a book you read that you really enjoyed.” “ Tell me the story of the last book you enjoyed.” These will elicit the information you need from the patron to appropriately suggest books that match their needs and interests. Here are some categories to watch for as you try to gauge and match their interests. * Genre: Does the patron enjoy mysteries, biographies, or romance novels? * Setting: Where is the story set? One city or around the world? Outdoors? * Time: When is the story taking place? Past, present, future? * Length: Does the patron like short stories or epic novels? * Hero: Is the main character innocent or sophisticated? One hero or many? * Plot: Does the story have a point? A definite beginning and end? * Pacing: Does the author move the story with action or dialogue? * Subject: What or who is the book ultimately about? Readers enjoy books for many reasons. Some become connected to a particular type of story or genre. Some enjoy one genre, such as mysteries, but only if they are set in a particular country, such as English mysteries. They may need a particular setting, such as mountains or small towns, or need a particular subject in the background, such as horseracing, to pique their interest. Almost all readers go through periods of change in their reading habits as they move through life. Assuming that your regular patrons only want one type of reading material year after year limits them and you in achieving their reading goals. Some of the best ways to improve your skills in readers’ advisory are to keep a record of your own reading, browse the new book shelves and best seller lists regularly, and set a goal of doing at least one readers’ advisory interview each reference shift. Hints and Tips for Readers’ Advisory * Browse with the patron – be among the books as you move along in the readers’ advisory interview to allow them time to look over new materials. * Find the common thread in their reading habits and don’t be afraid to suggest books outside their normal genre or subject if you see a connection. * SUGGEST books, don’t recommend. Recommending books means that you are endorsing them, or creating the illusion that you know a “good” book from a “bad” book. When you suggest, you are letting the patron make a choice without feeling pressure from the “expert.” * Let the patron say “No” and don’t feel like a failure when they do. When a patron doesn’t like a particular suggestion, you can gain valuable information. * Watch for easily misunderstood phrases like “good literature” or “classics.” Some readers think Stephen King is a classic writer, while others will disdain any popular author. * Use a follow up question like “Be sure to let us know how you liked the book." or "Are there any other books I can help you find." Key Behaviors * Talk books at the reference desk with other staff so patrons can feel comfortable asking for help. Patrons will hear you and respond with questions of their own. * Be prepared for a discussion and for personal questions – Remember, in these cases the patron is not your friend, but your customer. However, there is more of a social connection with reading, especially for pleasure, than with searching for information, so be prepared to have patrons ask about your reading habits. A general response like “I enjoy all types of books, that’s why I work in a library. Let’s see if we can find something for you” is usually effective. * Use displays for attracting attention (new books, genres, formats). * Be VERY careful when suggesting books in a series. Some patrons love series, and some do not. Make sure if you are suggesting the first book in a trilogy that you tell the patron about the series. Or, if you suggest a book out of order in a series, make sure the patron knows how it fits into the larger series. Some series books can be read in any order, and some need sequence in order to make sense. * Encourage patrons to select more than one book. Patrons usually need several choices once they get home to make sure they have a successful reading experience. Choosing more than one item will encourage them to experiment. The key to successful readers’ advisory services is to have a commitment to serving readers in the library. A responsive attitude and maintaining a neutral stance on the “quality” of an individual’s reading habits will encourage good readers’ advisory interviews. Be aware of popular titles and hot topics, and understand that there are many tools to help you along the way.
  • Contemporary is published in the last 25 years is a work of fiction about a puzzling event or crime.
  • well constructed plot convincing characterization worthwhile theme appropriate style how does the author make it believable (grounded in reality 1st? careful attention to detail? character who mirrors the reader’s disbelief? appropriate language?) consistency of the storyline (logical framework and internal consistency) creative and ingenious plots Is there a universal truth underlying the metaphor? How does it compare to other books by the same author or of the same kind?
  • The worst has happened – Evan’s younger sister is skipping a grade and they will both be in the same fourth grade class in the fall. In the past, brother and sister always got along well, but now a competitive rivalry begins with each of them trying to earn the most money over the summer. Lemonade wars and money-making schemes punctuate this heartwarming story filled with math problems and humor.
  • Siblings Jake (the Pain) and Abigail (the Great One) get on one another’s nerves in a variety of locations in this third book in the series. There’s a trip to the beach that involves boogie boards and wolf masks, a visit to the county fair and a ride on the Gravitron, and a stop at the hospital when Jacob, the Pain, sticks a pussy willow up his nose.
  • Predating Lemony Snicket, this tale of orphaned siblings who finally escape villainous guardians and find a home with a kindly couple begins with Dickensonian overtones but ends on a happy note. As Dallas and Florida help the Moreys prepare for separate trips -- an adventure in themselves—they slowly come to trust, and build a family.
  • 8-year old Dessert has a lot of fun ideas, like eating her dessert first and signing her name with an exclamation point. When she gets into trouble for eating some fudge bars, she may make amends by working in her family’s restaurant.
  • An 11-year-old boy, the oldest – and most reliable -- of six children, chronicles a tumultuous year of his sister and 4 brothers, one of whom has passed away.
  • Moxy and her twin brother Mark are excited about spending the New Year in Hollywood, CA, but she has a chore to complete before their departure – writing thank you notes for her holiday gifts. Since she hates to write, she contrives a bunch of schemes to “simplify” the process. Other titles in the series deal with Moxy’s dislike of piano practice and reading.
  • Sukie’s parents implement a new technique to get their children to listen to them – responding inappropriately to their antics: i.e. when Sukie is caught scooping peas with her fingers at the dinner table, she expected to hear, "Don't eat with your fingers!" Instead her mom says, "You'll put an eye out with that thing! The plan backfires when the kids declare war.
  • While waiting for her lost-at-sea parents to return, 11-year-old Primose lives with her Uncle Jack, but befriends restaurateur Kate, who kindly teaches her to cook. Small town life and delicious commentary on recipes add charm.
  • When Logan’s kind but forgetful grandfather moves in, he fears his unforgiving classmates will find out about Grandpa’s weirdness and use it against him. The new girl catches Grandpa in an embarrassing moment, and uses a photo as blackmail to coerce Logan into discovering a classmates secret.
  • Charles chronicles his strange hometown and family, and their struggles with poverty that ultimately lead to their packing up and moving to Alabama in search of a better life.
  • After her infant baby dies, Larkin's family welcomes Sophie into their home, caring for her and teaching her games and new words. They come to love this baby as their own, all the while knowing that eventually Sophie's mother will return one day to take her from them.
  • When Jake Semple is kicked out of yet another school, the Applewhites, an eccentric family of artists, offer to let him live with them and attend their unstructured Creative Academy, instead of getting shipped off to a juvenile detention center. He immediately clashed with E.D, an Applewhite his own age, who often feels out of place in her family, and is quickly befriended by a basset hound and involved in a production of the Sound of Music,
  • When Sneeze's plan to take his latest gadget (The Nice Alarm) to the annual Invention Convention is torpedoed by his parents and they enroll him in a (yuck!) summer-school writing class, he is devastated – and desperate.  So he concocts a new-and-improved plan, one that will make him rich and famous and enable him to attend the Convention without his parents – because Sneeze was born to invent things!
  • When her father, an engineer and architect, leaves to build schools in Afghanistan, Sprig has difficulty making the adjustment; it’s another thing to negotiate alongside the superiority of place granted to an older sibling, squabbles with friends, and complications of first love. “Everything ten year-old Sprig wants, her older sister Dakota already has. Everything Sprig does, Dakota does better. And anytime Sprig complains, Dakota just grins and calls her a baby. It’s enough to make a kid wish her sister would disappear. But in a year when Sprig’s father is away, her favorite neighbor is ill, and the class bully is acting almost like, well, a boyfriend, Sprig discovers that allies come in unexpected shapes. Sometimes they’re even related to you.”
  • When a boy named Elvis and his nomadic, quirky family get their Holiday Rambler motor home stuck in red mud near Popeye's house, a friendship is born. The two start a club and spend idyllic days floating homemade boats on the river.
  • Bean is loud and wild and goofy. She loves to be involved in games and poke her nose in other people’s business. Ivy is quiet and full of ideas. She spends most of her time learning how to be a witch. Each girl thinks the other one is weird. Each girl thinks she could never be friends with the other. Especially because their parents keep nagging them about it. But, sometimes, opposites attract. But sometimes opposites can become the best of friends because they’re opposites. For example, people who like to talk need people who like to listen. And people with great ideas need people who can put those ideas into action. For Ivy and Bean, their differences mean that they have more fun together than they could ever have separately. It also means that, together, they do more wacky things than any one kid could ever dream up.  The Ivy and Bean books are about the adventures—and disasters—created by this unlikely team. And since their motto seems to be “Why not?” there’s every reason to believe that their capers and catastrophes will continue for quite a while.
  • Slacker Abby must take on an additional project to pull up her grades; a pen pal project with a student across the world results in friendship and conflict. Abby's first letter arrives at a small school in Afghanistan, and Sadeed Bayat is chosen to be her pen pal.... Well, kind of. He is the best writer, but he is also a boy, and in his village it is not appropriate for a boy to correspond with a girl. So his younger sister dictates and signs the letter. Until Sadeed decides what his sister is telling Abby isn't what he'd like Abby to know.
  • When Opal and her preacher father move to a small town, the stray dog they befriend becomes the catalyst for her dad to tell her about her mother.
  • It's New Year's Eve and Mallory can't wait to celebrate! Her camp friends are coming to Fern Falls and she and Mary Ann have planned out every last detail for a perfect winter reunion and New Year's Eve party. But what Mallory hadn't planned on is getting sick. Poor Mallory has to ring in the New Year in the hospital instead of at home with her friends and family. Mallory thinks she's missing out on all the fun. Is this the beginning of the worst year ever, or is Mallory in for a big New Year's surprise?
  • When a sideshow act comes to town featuring the reported fattest boy in the world, Zachary Beaver, it is the beginning of major changes for Toby and Cal.
  • After a mean collector named Swindle cons him out of his most valuable baseball card, Griffin Bing must put together a band of misfits to break into Swindle's compound and recapture the card. There are many things standing in their way -- a menacing guard dog, a high-tech security system, a very secret hiding place, and their inability to drive -- but Griffin and his team are going to get back what's rightfully his . . . even if hijinks ensue. “ SNEAKING OUT AT NIGHT – HELPFUL HINTS: > (i) When lying to your parents, maintain EYE CONTACT. > (ii) Make sure you ask permission to attend the correct FAKE SLEEPOVER (Boys – Stan Winter's place; Girls – Karen Lobodzic's.) > (iii) Meet at the OLD ROCKFORD HOUSE at 8:30 pm Friday. (You can't miss it; there's a CRANE with a giant WRECKING BALL parked in front.) > (iv) Enter through missing planks in BOARDED-UP WINDOW, first floor, east side. > (v) Bring your SLEEPING BAG. Remember: The old Rockford House house is a CONDEMNED BUILDING that will be demolished TOMORROW MORNING. There will be no beds, no running water, no furniture, no lights, no TV .... “
  • Brian’s joy over landing his dream job as a batboy for a pro team, is tempered with disappoint when his hero, Hank Bishop is less than friendly following a steroid scandal.
  • When Winnie’s friend Amanda grows more interested in boys and fashion, 11 year old Winnie gravitates toward Dinah, who she previously pitied but now finds commonality with.
  • Lost in her large and boisterous family, Jennalee finds refuge at her Uncle Beau’s store, but her high regard for him slips a little when a boy claiming to be his son shows up.Captures southern life and non-traditional families.
  • Julia & her friend Patrick decide to take on the challenge of raising silkworms for the state fair.
  • Redheaded 3 rd grader Clementine is always focused – but sometimes on the wrong things, and that results in delightful trouble, often with her neighbor Margaret as her sidekick.
  • If Billy eats 15 worms in 15 days—he’ll earn $50 for a shiny new minibike. Funny and gross recipes ensue!
  • Let me just say for the record that I think middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented. You got kids like me who haven’t hit their growth spurt yet mixed in with these gorillas who have to shave twice a day. And then they wonder why bullying is such a big problem in middle school.
  • Being a member of the Quimby family in the third grade was harder than Ramon has expected. Her father was often tired, in a hurry, or studying at the dining room table, which meant that no one could disturb him by watching television. At school she was still not sure how she felt about Mrs. Whaley. Liking a teacher was important, Ramona has discovered when she was in first grade. And even though her family understood, Ramona still dreaded that part of the day spent at Howie’s house in the company of Mrs. Kemp and Willa Jean.
  • Mr. Landry said he believed in the open classroom. At parent’s night every September, Mr. Larson explained that children learn best when they learn things on their own. This was not a new idea. This idea about learning was being used successfully by practically every teacher in America. But Mr. Larson used it tin his own special way. Almost every day he would get the class started on a story or worksheet of a word list of some reading and then go to his desk, pour some coffee from his big red thermos, open up his newspaper, and sit. Over the years, Mr. Larson had taught himself how to ignore the chaos that erupted in his classroom every day. Unless there was the sound of breaking glass, screams or splintering furniture, Mr. Larson didn’t even look up. If teachers or the principal complained about the noise he would ask a student to shut the door, and then go back to reading his newspaper
  • I really really really Did NOT get The pasture poem you read today. I mean: somebody’s going out to the pasture to clean the spring and go get the little tottery calf while he’s out there and he isn’t going to be gone long and wants YOU (who is YOU?) To come too. I mean REALLY. And you said that Mr. Robert Frost who wrote about the pasture was also the one who wrote about those snowy woods and the miles to go before he sleeps— well! I think Mr. Robert Frost has a little too much time on his hands.
  • Dear Dumb Diary, Today Hudson Rivers (eighth cutest guy in my grade) talked to me in the hall. Normally, this would have no effect on me at all, since there is still a chance that Cute Guys One Through Seven might actually talk to me one day. But when Hudson said “Hey,” today, I could tell that he was totally in love with me, and I felt I had an obligation to be irresistible for his benefit.
  • There’s only one thing the two of them ever say to me, and they repeat it like a couple of parrots: Work! Work Work Work! Work! Okay, I understand. . I’m not a complete moron, after all I would like to work; the problem is I can’t. For me, it’s like they teach everything in Chinese. It goes in one ear and out the other. They have taken me to thousands of doctors :ye doctors, ear doctors, even brain doctors. Their conclusion after these wasted hours of consultant: I have a concentration problem. Attention Deficit Disorder—ADD. You have to be kidding! I know exactly what’s wrong, and it has nothing to do with concentration. I have no problem. Not a single one. It’s just that school doesn’t interest me. It doesn’t interest me at all, and that’s all there is to it.
  • If you ask me, kids can learn all they need to learn by watching TV. You can learn important information like which breakfast cereal tastes best and what toys you should buy and which shampoo leaves your hair the shiniest. This is stuff that we’ll need to know when we grow up. School is just this dumb thing that grown-ups thought up so they wouldn’t have to pay for babysitters. When I grown up and have children of my own I won’t make them go to school. They can just ride their bikes and play football and video games all day. They’ll be happy, and they’ll think I’m the greatest father in the world. But for now, I wanted to let my new teacher Miss Daisy, know from the very start how I felt about school. You know what, A.J.?” Miss Daisy said, “I hate school too.” You do? We all started at Miss Daisy. I thought teachers loved school. If they didn’t love school, why did they become teachers? Why would they ever want to go to school as a grown-up? I know that when I’m a grown-up, I’m not going anywhere near a school “Sure I hate school,” Miss Daisy continued. “If I didn’t have to be here teaching you, I could be home sitting on my comfortable couch, watching TV and eating bonbons.”
  • The fireman were stumped. They called the city. They city caled their tree man who called the fire chief, who told everyone the expert’s opinion. “He says our best bet is to cut it off.” Absolutely not!” my mom said. This time I was glad she stuck up for me. “We’re talking about the branch, ma’am,” the chief said. “We all agree that the foot should remain with the leg.”
  • Mrs. Olinski hugged her upper arms and wondered if maybe it was nerves and not the quartering wind blowing from the ceiling vents that was causing her shivers. She watched with bated (and visible) breath as the commissioner placed his hand into a large clear glass bowl. His college class ring knocked bottom. (had the room been two degrees colder, the glass would have shattered.) He withdrew a piece of paper, unfolded it, and read, “What is the meaning of the word calligraphy, and from what language does it derive?” A buzzer sounded. Mrs. Olinski knew who it was. She was sure of it. She leaned back and relaxed. She was not nervous. Excited, yes. Nervous, no. The television lights glanced off Noah Gershom’s glasses. He had been the first chosen.
  • The sixth thing you should know about me is that I have never spoken a word in school. Ven when I try with all my might, I always manage to say nothing at all. My voice works at home. It works in the car. It even works on the school bus. But as soon as I get to school… I am as silent as a side of beef. “You are like a piece of frozen sausage fallen off the truck,” my brother, Calvin, likes to say. It is true.. I am something like that. No one really knows why I lose my voice at school, since I come from a long line of farmer-warriors who haven’t had a scaredy bone in their bodies since 714 A.D. In China my ancient grandpas and grandmas and aunts and uncles fought off leopards and tigers in their gardens the way Calvin and Anibelly and I fight off mosquitoes at Walden Pond. They weren’t afraid of anything. I am afraid of everything.
  • Mrs. Godfrey always does this. She always calls on me when I don’t know the answer. And she can TELL I don’t know it. Ever hear somebody say that dogs can smell fear? That’s Mrs. Godfrey. She’s like a dog. A big ugly nasty dog. I sort of skooch down in my seat. The whole class is staring at me. My ears start to burn, then my cheeks. I can feel tiny droplets of sweat beading up on my forehead. “WELL?” she barks. Ummm *koff!* What was the question again? I’ve hear that on an average do you use about 10 percent of your brainpower. Well, sitting her with my mouth turning as dry as a sack of sand, I really need that other 9- percent to kick in. But my mind is blank.
  • “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of … ouch!” There is a lot of poking that goes on in third grade. It was Norris-Boris-Morris. “Horace,” he whispered. “I’ll think about it,” I whispered back. Norris-Boris-Morris’s name is really Norris. I know that now. But in the beginning of the year, I used to call him all three Orris names because I could never remember which one was his. He liked that. And now he’s always trying to get me to add another one. Last week he tried for Glorris, but I said No. It has to be a real name. “Okay,” I said after the pledge. “Norris-Boris-Morris-Horace.” MY teacher caught my eye and tugged on his ear. This is our secret Code for Time to be Listening. So I sat up and listened to his, even though it was just “Raise your hand if you’re absent,” and “who’s got milk money?” stuff. But right after that, it got interesting.
  • A boy caught cheating is turned into an apple, and soon the teacher has turned the whole class into apples for a variety of infractions and a kiss from a girl is the only thing that an unstuck a boy glued to his chair with bubblegum.
  • “I’ve decided to quit school again,” Libby said. That did it. All around the the table voices hushed in midsentence. Shocked alarm quivered in the silence. Even Gillian’s cats, the three great Persian puffballs and one sleek Abyssinian, looked up nervously from their favorite spot near the swinging doors that led into the kitchen. Libby realized at once that she’d made a mistake.
  • At school they say I’m wired bad, wired mad, or wired glad, depending on my mood and what teacher has to put up with me. But there is no doubt I’m wired. This year was no different. When I started out all the days there looked about the same. In the morning, I’d be okay and follow along in class. But after lunch, when my meds had worn down, it was nothing by trouble for me.
  • The radio beside my bed buzzes and then begins to talk to me in Penacook. But it doesn’t speak Penacook for long. Muskrat Mike, the morning DJ on KOOK, only knows a few words. He’s pretty cool and knows a lot about music, but he isn’t young enough to have go to the Penacook Indian school. The kids at the school take an extra enrichment class in Penacook. Elders like Doda go to in once a day to talk Indian with them, and by the time they get to third grade some of them can speak it okay. I went there through third grade, and Celeste still goes there. She’s seven. But now I get bused to school off the the reservation. I’m eleven by how the school reckons it. Ten winters, Doda would say. You haven’t really lived a year until you’ve lived through another winter. I’m starting sixth grade at Rangerville Junior High , and today is the first day of school. Lucky me.
  • So for my birthday I had to bring store bought cupcakes from Kroger, and Scott Stamphley said he could taste the chemicals in them. Plus Mary Kay has parents who will buy her whatever she wants, like a hamster in its own Habitrail, because she is an only child, and her parents can afford it. Maybe that is what I was thinking about when I said, “ Here, Mary Kay,” and held out the spatula. Maybe I was thinking about how Mary Kay has her very own pet, a hamster (Sparky) with a Habitrail, wheras I only have a dog – Marvin – who I have to share with my whole family. Maybe that is what I was thinking about when Mary Kay put the spatula into her mouth and I was still holding on to the end. Maybe that is what I was thinking about when I kind of shoved the spatula into her mouth a little. I meant it a a joke. A birthday joke And okay, I know it was mean. But I just wanted to teachher a lesson about being greedy. I meant it in a joking way. But I should have known that Mary kay wouldn’t take it that way. As a joke, I mean. And I should have known she’d start crying, this time for real, because the spatula went down her throat. But just a little! Like, it barely went down. Maybe it touched her tonsils. But that’s it.
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw I am in fifth grade now. You might like to know that I gav a book report on Ways to Amuse a Dog. The class liked it. I got an A-. The minus was because the teacher said I didn’t stand on both feet. Sincerely, Leigh Botts Dear Mr. Henshaw I got your letter and did what you said. I read a different book by you. I read Moose on Toast. I liked it almost as much as Ways to Amuse a Dog.
  • You want to try Senor Lopez’s house again?” Sonny asked Wil nodded and pulled ahead. Deliver ing the paper to Senor Jose Gilberto Lopez Lopez was the last, but the toughest, toss on the route. Sonny had explained that Senor Lopez had arthritis, so he took his medicine and had his expresso in his bedroom before coming downstairs. “He likes to do the crossword puzzle with his coffee,” Sonny had said, “so you gotta him the paper right outside his bedroom door – on his balcony. You get it on the blacony without stopping the bike?” Wil had been slightly awed at first, but Sonny shared a tip he had gotten from Trace, the oldest of Wil’s brothers. “The secret is to throw ahead. Instead of waiting till you’re right in front, throw from the edge of the property. You really have to let it sail to get it to rainbow over the railing.”
  • In other books in the series, she hopes for a reconciliation between her parents, gets chicken pox and
  • The dog’s name is Killer. That is what my daddy decided he should be called. But he’s lived with us for seven months now, and there’s not a microscopic bit of meanness to be found in any of the big bones under his shaggy brown and white fur coat. Daddy’s second choice for a name wasn’t any better for him: Cujo. Like the crazy dg that ripped people apart in that old movie. A good name for him would be Sweetie Pie. But I can’t call him that because after all, he is a boy, and he might take offense.
  • “Here, boy,” I say, slapping my thigh. Dog goes down on his stomach, groveling about in the the grass. I laugh and start over toward him. He’s got an old worn out collar on, probably older than he is. Bet it belonged to another dog before him. “C’mon, boy,” I say, putting out my hand. The dog gets up and backs off. He don’t even whimper, like he’s lost his bark. Something really hurts inside you when you see a dog cringe like that. You know somebody’s been kicking at him. Beating on him, maybe. “It’s okay, boy,” I say, coming a little closer, but still he backs off. So I just take my gun and follow the river. Every so often I look over my shoulder and there he is, the beagle. I stop; he stops. I can see his ribs—not real bad—but he isn’t plumped out or anything.
  • Gilly, give Maime Trotter half a chance, OK? She’s a really nice person. That cans it, thoguht Gilly. At least nobody had accused Mr. or Mrs. Nevins, her most recent foster parents, of being “nice.” Mrs. Richmond, the one with the bad nerves, had been “nice.” The Newman family, who couldn’t keep a five-year-old who wet her bed, had been “nice.” Well, I’m eleven now, folks, and in case you haven’t heard, I don’t wet my bed anymore. But I am not nice. I am brilliant. I am famous across this entire country. Nobody wants to tangle with the great Galadriel Hopkins. I am too clever and too hard to manage. Gruesome Gilly, they call me. She leaned back comfortably. Here I come, Maime baby, ready or not.
  • Lucky Trimble crouched in a wedge of shade behind the dumpster. Her ear near a hole in the paint-chipped wall of Hard Pan’s Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center, she listened as Short Sammy told the story of how he hit rock bottom. How he quit drinking and found his Higher Power. Short Sammy’s story, of all the rock bottom stories Lucky has heard at twelve step anonymous meetings – alcoholics, gamblers, smokers, and overeaters – was still her favorite.
  • Home was, and still is, a rusty old trailer stuck on the face of a mountain in Deep water, in the heart of Fayette County. It looked to me, the first itme, like a toy that God had been playing with and accidentally dropped out of heave. Down and down it came andlanded, thunk, on this mountain, sort of cockeyed and shaky and grateful to be all in one piece. Well, sort of one piec. Not counting that part in the back where the aluminum’s peeling off, or the one missing window the front steps that are sinking.
  • They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring. They say he kept an 8-inch cockroach on a least and that rats stood guard over him while he slept. They say if you knew he was coming and you sprinkled salt on the ground and he ran over it, within two or three block he would be as slow as everybody else. They say. What’s truth? What’s myth? It’s hard to know.
  • We don’t’ go to the shelter every Sunday,” Mom told Ethan. “More like every other week.” I felt like adding, and then you go to meetings about it the rest of the time. But I didn’t. I know I shouldn’t complain. I mean, she helps people who need her help. Maybe some Sunday I’ll go stand in line at the soup kitchen and Mom will take a good look at me, too.

Transcript

  • 1. INTRODUCTION TO CONTEMPORARY REALISTIC FICTION FOR CHILDREN Funding provided through an IMLS/LSTA grant administered by the MA Board of Library Commissioners; additional funding is provided by the Friends of the Boxford Town Libraries.
  • 2. READER’S ADVISORY RECAP
    • Finding the right book for the right person at the right time.
    • Helping readers find the best (most enjoyable!) reading that matches their needs, interests, and reading level.
    • Connecting readers and authors/writers.
    Source: Francisca Goldsmith, from Reader’s Advisory on the Web, an Infopeople Training http://infopeople.org/training/past/2004/readers_adv2004/
  • 3. APPEAL FACTORS OF BOOKS
    • Pacing
    • Characterization
    • Storyline
    • Frame
    • Language
    • Setting
    Source: Saricks, Joyce and Nancy Brown. “Articulating a Book’s Appeal.” Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library. 2nd ed. Chicago : ALA , 1997. Nancy Pearl, MLA
  • 4. REFERENCE INTERVIEW ESSENTIALS
    • Discover what the reader already knows
      • desire for a genre?
      • a mood?
      • a read-alike?
    • Clarify what’s important to this reader
      • stay with the known?
      • meet the unknown?
    • Tune your suggestions to the patron, not to your personal biases
    • Give direction to next place to go
      • shelf?
      • booklists?
      • Internet?
      • alternate library?
    Source: Francisca Goldsmith, from Reader’s Advisory on the Web, an Infopeople Training http://infopeople.org/training/past/2004/readers_adv2004/
  • 5. REFERENCE INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES
    • Welcoming body language, tone, attitude
    • Open ended questions
    • Suggest, don’t recommend
    • Co-browse
    • Don’t judge
    • Follow up!
  • 6. ROLE PLAY!
    • In these scenarios, you don’t need to have specific books for an answer. Just practice asking open ended questions and having a conversation about books!
    • Group 1: A student comes up to you and says, “I just finished the Ramona books! Is there another series like that I can read?”
    • Group 2: A child comes to you and says, “How can I find all of Jack Gantos’s books?”
    • Group 3: A student says, “I have to do a book report on a realistic book. Can you suggest something?”
  • 7. CONTEMPORARY REALISTIC FICTION GENRE OVERVIEW
  • 8. EVALUATING REALISTIC FICTION
    • Plot
    • Character
    • Theme
    • Style
    • Believability
    • Consistency
    • Creativity
  • 9. REALISTIC FICTION MOTIFS
    • FAMILIES
    • FRIENDS
    • SCHOOL
    • ISSUES
  • 10. BENCHMARK BOOK! The Lemonade War Jacqueline Davies FAMILIES
  • 11. GOING, GOING, GONE! WITH THE PAIN & THE GREAT ONE JUDY BLUME
  • 12. RUBY HOLLER SHARON CREECH
  • 13. DESSERT FIRST HALLIE DURAND
  • 14. FIG PUDDING RALPH FLETCHER
  • 15. MOXY MAXWELL DOES NOT LOVE WRITING THANK YOU NOTES PEGGY GIFFORD
  • 16. SAY WHAT? MARGARET PETERSON HADDIX
  • 17. EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE POLLY HORVATH
  • 18. RATFINK MARCIA JONES
  • 19. DELIVER US FROM NORMAL KATE KLISE
  • 20. BABY PATRICIA MACLACHLAN
  • 21. SURVIVING THE APPLEWHITES STEPHANIE TOLAN
  • 22. 101 WAYS TO BUG YOUR PARENTS LEE WARDLAW
  • 23. TEN WAYS TO MAKE MY SISTER DISAPPEAR NORMA FOX MAZER
  • 24. BENCHMARK BOOK! THE SMALL ADVENTURES OF POPEYE AND ELVIS BARBARA O’CONNOR FRIENDS
  • 25. IVY AND BEAN ANNIE BARROWS
  • 26. THE PENDERWICKS JEANNE BIRDSALL
  • 27. EXTRA CREDIT ANDREW CLEMENTS
  • 28. BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE KATE DICAMILLO
  • 29. HAPPY NEW YEAR, MALLORY LAURIE FRIEDMAN
  • 30. WHEN ZACHARY BEAVER CAME TO TOWN KIMBERLY WILLIS HOLT
  • 31. SWINDLE GORDON KORMAN
  • 32. THE BATBOY MIKE LUPICA
  • 33. ELEVEN LAUREN MYRACLE
  • 34. ME AND RUPERT GOODY BARBARA O’CONNOR
  • 35. PROJECT MULBERRY LINDA SUE PARK
  • 36. CLEMENTINE SARA PENNYPACKER
  • 37. HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS THOMAS ROCKWELL
  • 38. BENCHMARK BOOK! DIARY OF A WIMPY KID JEFF KINNEY SCHOOL
  • 39. RAMONA QUIMBY, AGE 8 BEVERLY CLEARY
  • 40. FRINDLE ANDREW CLEMENTS
  • 41. THE LANDRY NEWS ANDREW CLEMENTS
  • 42. LOVE THAT DOG SHARON CREECH
  • 43. LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED BY JIM BENTON
  • 44. 95 POUNDS OF HOPE ANNA GAVALDA
  • 45. MISS DAISY IS CRAZY! (MY WEIRD SCHOOL #1) DAN GUTMAN
  • 46. MELONHEAD KATY KELLY
  • 47. THE VIEW FROM SATURDAY E.L. KONIGSBURG
  • 48. ALVIN HO: ALLERGIC TO GIRLS, SCHOOL, AND OTHER SCARY THINGS LENORE LOOK
  • 49. BIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF LINCOLN PEIRCE
  • 50. CLEMENTINE’S LETTER SARA PENNYPACKER
  • 51. SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL LOUIS SACHAR
  • 52. LIBBY ON WEDNESDAY ZILPHA KEATLY SNYDER
  • 53. BENCHMARK BOOK: JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWED THE KEY JACK GANTOS ISSUES
  • 54. THE HEART OF A CHIEF JOSEPH BRUCHAC
  • 55. MOVING DAY (ALLIE FINKLE’S RULES FOR GIRLS) MEG CABOT
  • 56. DEAR MR. HENSHAW BEVERLY CLEARY
  • 57. THE LAST NEWSPAPER BOY IN AMERICA SUE CORBETT
  • 58. AMBER BROWN IS FEELING BLUE* PAULA DANZIGER
  • 59. SUN & SPOON KEVIN HENKES
  • 60. THE DOG DAYS OF CHARLOTTE HAYES MARLANE KENNEDY
  • 61. SHILOH PHYLLIS REYNOLDS NAYLOR
  • 62. THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS KATHERINE PATERSON
  • 63. THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY SUSAN PATRON
  • 64. MISSING MAY CYNTHIA RYLANT
  • 65. MANIAC MAGEE JERRY SPINELLI
  • 66. GRACIE’S GIRL ELLEN WITTLINGER
  • 67. TIP: USE MEDIA AS A PROMPT
    • INSTEAD OF:
    • What authors do you like to read?
    • What are the last 3 books you read and enjoyed?
    • What did you like about them?
    • ASK:
    • What movies do you like?
    • What TV shows do you watch?
    • What games do you play?
  • 68. TIP: TURN TO AWARDS
    • Edgar Award http://theedgars.com/
    • Newbery Award http://bit.ly/newbery
  • 69. QUESTIONS? CONCERNS? Beth Gallaway [email_address] http://informationgoddess.info