6th grade booktalks


April 16, 2019: Mysteries to Keep You On the Edge of Your Seat

The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn

  • F HAH. mystery/suspense.
  • newest Mary Downing Hahn book!
  • Jules and her family have moved into a new house. Her parents love the house, but Jules feels frightened inside. When she sees a pale face in the window of a room on the third floor--a room that is locked--she can't help wondering who the face belongs to.
  • Soon Jules decides she needs to unlock the door. What--and who--she finds means that the past and present collide.
  • book trailer

Guys Read: Thriller by Jon Scieszcka

  • F GUY. mystery/suspense. short stories.
  • A body on the tracks. A teenage terrorist. A mysterious wish-granting machine. The world's worst private detective.
  • This is a book of mystery short stories, written by 10 amazing authors.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

  • F DOW. mystery/suspense.
  • The London Eye Ferris Wheel
  • Monday, 24 May, 11:32 am. Ted and Kat watch their cousin Salim get on board the London Eye Ferris Wheel. They could only get one ticket so he goes by himself.
  • Monday, 24 May, 12:02 pm. The pod opens and people file off, except for Salim. He is nowhere to be found.
  • Since the police do not have any luck finding Salim, Ted and Kat decide they need to solve the mystery themselves. They begin to follow a series of clues that takes them all across London in hopes they are able to find their cousin.

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

  • F OH. mystery/suspense.
  • book trailer
  • Rumors are that Harper's family's new house is haunted. Although she doesn't trust the house, she also isn't sure she believes the rumors.
  • That is, until her brother Michael begins acting strangely. It all is giving Harper a sense of deja vu', but she can't figure out why.
  • Harper needs to figure out what's behind Michael's strange behavior and the unsettling feelings she has about the house before it's too late.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

  • F STE. mystery/suspense.
  • This past year has been one of change for Miranda. Her friend Sal isn't really her friend anymore. And she's starting to be friends with her worst enemy.
  • Her mom is going to be a contestant on a game show, and she and her boyfriend Richard are thinking about getting married.
  • A strange boy, Marcus, keeps showing up when Miranda least expects him.
  • And then Miranda starts receiving notes from someone who knows her. They're notes about the future that the person shouldn't be able to know.
  • Can the notes help her from preventing something tragic from happening before it's too late?

Happy reading!

March 19, 2019: Changing the World For the Better

Team Moon: How 400,000 people landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh

  • 629.45 THI. informational/narrative nonfiction.
  • Getting man to the moon was no easy task. And we may think we know the story. But we don't really know the full story.
  • This book tells the story of all the people who worked to make the Apollo 11 flight successful, from the seamstresses who put together 22 layers of fabric for each space suit to the engineers who created a special heat shield to protect the capsule during reentry to the camera designers and more.

Temple Grandin: how the girl who loved cows embraced autism and changed the world by Sy Montgomery

  • 921 GRA. narrative biography.
  • Temple Grandin's parents knew from the time she was young that there was something different about her. A few years later she was diagnosed with autism.
  • Even though doctors suggested she be put in a hospital, her mother sent her to school instead. The things that made Temple unique made elementary and middle school difficult for her, but with her mother's support she discovered that in some cases those unique things were actually gifts.
  • Temple especially had a unique sense with cows--she was sensitive to their senses and behavior. This not only led to a successful career that revolutionized the livestock industry, but also a platform to help others know they can use their unique gifts as well.
  • interview with Sy Montgomery

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

  • 921 KAM; narrative biography.
  • When a terrible drought hits William's village in Malawi, not only did it mean his family did not have crops to eat or sell, it also meant he had to drop out of school because they didn't have the money to send him.
  • William was interested in science and not willing to let his struggles beat him. He decided he was going to figure out how to build a windmill for his village. It changed his village forever.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

  • 921 WOO. narrative in verse autobiography.
  • book trailer
  • Jacqueline reading from her book
  • Growing up in South Carolina and New York in the 1960s and 1970s, Jacqueline Woodson never really felt at home in either place. This book shares her stories of growing up in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, finding her place within writing, no matter where she was.

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose

Happy reading!

January 29, 2019: Our Differences Can Make Us Stronger

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

  • realistic/adventure/suspense fiction. F BOW.
  • booktalk by Dusti
  • (and you can see Dusti this summer!)

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

  • realistic/historical fiction. F DUM.
  • Zomorod Yousefzadah is doing her best to fit into her new American neighborhood, and she starts by renaming herself Cindy.
  • It's hard to fit in in the 1970s, though, when Iran is all over the news with protests, revolution, and the taking of American hostages.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

  • classic fiction. F EST.
  • Wanda Petronski is a new girl at school. When Peggy and Maggie notice that Wanda wears the same (clean) blue dress to school every single day, they ask her about it. And start making fun of her for her answer, day after day.
  • When a contest is held at school, Maggie realizes she and Peggy were wrong in making fun of Wanda. Maggie has to figure out how, and IF, she'll be able to make up for what she did.
  • Written a long time ago, but still relevant today.

Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan

  • historical fiction. F RYA.
  • Charlotte Parkhurst is raised in an orphanage for boys, and that is just fine with her. She doesn't like playing with dolls, she fights with the best of them, and her favorite thing to do is work in the stables. She wants to spend her life training and riding horses.
  • The problem is Charlotte is growing up in the 1800s, when girls growing up to be women are expected to live different lives than what Charlotte wanted. So she came up with a plan, and stuck with the plan until after she died.
  • Wikipedia entry about Charley Parkhurst

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

  • realistic fiction. F SPI (turning carts).
  • There is an unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don't stand out, under any circumstances. And Leo Borlock does an excellent job of following that rule.
  • But then Stargirl arrives. At first she draws the attention of the school in a good way, but then things change and Stargirl is shunned for everything that makes her different.
  • Along the way, Leo realizes how he feels about her. And that means he has to decide if he's going to go along with the crowd or celebrate Stargirl's (and his) individuality.

And a few others if you haven't read them yet...

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden

Happy reading!

October 9, 2018: While you wait for (or after you read)-- Refugee by Alan Gratz

Darkness Over Denmark: the Danish resistance and the rescue of the Jews by Ellen Levine

  • Narrative nonfiction. 940.53 LEV
  • Connects to the story of Josef in Refugee.
  • For most of WWII, Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany. But when the Nazis decided to deport the country's 8000 Jews in 1943, people in Denmark rose up against the Nazis.
  • This is the story of the first and only time in Nazi Germany's short history that they were not successful at attacking Jewish people.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

  • Historical fiction. F HIR
  • Connects to the idea of refugees.
  • On her 12th birthday, Nisha receives a journal where she can record her thoughts. She has lots of thoughts, because it is 1947 and her country, India, has just been divided in two in order to create two new independent countries, Pakistan and India.
  • This division creates a lot of violence as Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs begin to have conflicts with each other. Nisha's mama, who died when Nisha was born, was a Muslim, and her papa is a Hindu. He decides it's no longer safe to stay in Pakistan, so Nisha and her family become refugees.
  • The family begins a dangerous journey by train and by foot to try to get to India and their new home.

My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson

  • Historical fiction. F PAT
  • Connects to the history of Cuba.
  • After Fidel Castro came into power in Cuba, he recruited young women to become volunteer teachers. His plan was to make all of Cuba literate in one year.
  • This is the fictional story of Lora, a 13 year old girl who decides to become a volunteer, even though she barely been outside of Havana, much less sleeping on a hammock in someone else's kitchen.
  • This is the story of Lora's year, full of adventures, determination, and courage.

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

  • Realistic fiction novel in verse. F PIN
  • Connects to the idea of refugees.
  • book trailer

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

  • Historical fiction. F RYA
  • Connects to the idea of refugees.
  • Esperanza lives with her family in Mexico, and she assumes life will always be good--fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants to help with the work.
  • But a sudden tragedy in the family forces Esperanza and her mother to flee to California, where they find a place to live in a camp for Mexican migrant workers.
  • Life is very different for Esperanza there--she must adjust to hard labor, a lack of money brought on by the beginning of the Great Depression, and a lack of acceptance.
  • When Esperanza's Mama gets sick and there is a strike at the camp to fight for better working conditions, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her circumstances in order to save her Mama and herself.

September 11, 2018: While you wait for-- Nine, Ten: a September 11 story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell by Don Brown

  • 973.931 BRO: nonfiction
  • A chronological account of the events of September 11, 2001, moving from the hijackings to the plane crashes to the rescue operations to the collapse of the buildings.
  • Moving AND information filled.

Ground Zero: how a photograph sent a message of hope by Don Nardo

  • 974.7 NAR: nonfiction
  • Summarizes the events of 9/11 and those leading up to that day, but focuses on how the photos from the day captured the feelings of the day.
  • Specifically, the book is about a photograph taken by Thomas E. Franklin of firefighters raising a flag that day and what its impact has been.

Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

  • F BUD: realistic fiction
  • Nadira, a Muslim from Bangladesh, and her family are living in the United States, but living illegally since their visas have expired. Then 9/11 happens.
  • Her family has a choice: try to get to Canada to ask for amnesty or risk continuing to live in the US and face serious consequences if they're discovered. When they try to do the right thing and Nadira's father is held at the border, Nadira and her sister are suddenly left for themselves to try to continue on as if everything is normal.

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks

  • F WEE: realistic fiction
  • A school setting with two characters who seem to not have anything in common. Alternates between the two characters.
  • They're both new to school and over the course of a week realize they may have more in common than they thought.
  • book trailer

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

  • IL 327.6 DEE: nonfiction
  • book trailer
  • This is the true story of Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, a Kenyan student studying in New York when 9/11 happened. Kimeli was so affected by the events of the day that he went back to his Maasai tribe to tell them what had happened.
  • This book tells of the symbolic gift the tribe gave the United States to show peace and comfort after a very difficult time.

Happy reading!