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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Girl Talk

"Do you have any good books?" We hear that question daily in the library and smile as we look with the questioning reader at the thousands of books surrounding us. "What have you read last that you liked?" I ask next. Usually, the reader pauses, reaching into her or his brain for the title. When I know what the person liked, I can more easily discern what to recommend next. Last week, a fifth grader mentioned a mystery she had finished...but she wanted something a little different. She left with Regarding the Fountain by Kate Klise, a unique mystery in which the clues are presented in letters, messages, newspaper articles, and classroom conversation, and Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen, the first in a series with a spunky young detective who experiences unusual things.

Today that fifth grader returned. "I love Sammy Keyes," she told me and proceeded to give her reasons why. Sammy is both bold and sometimes scared. Sammy's grandma's binoculars allow her access to actions across the street. There is so much suspense that she wants to read the end of a chapter first and then go back and read the rest. A classmate joined the conversation. Soon we were talking about how much they loved the library, how they would love to stay overnight in the library, how it should be only fifth graders, how there should be a night for boys and a separate night for girls, how boys used to get along with them in second grade but are not as cute and nice in fifth grade (though both were hopeful they would be cute again someday), how wonderful it would be to just pick any book from the shelves if you could not sleep, and then somehow back to Sammy Keyes. There are three titles in the series at the public library that are not in our school library, I was told. I wished the girls a pleasant day, smiling as I went to my desk to order a few new books.


  1. This conversation is music to the ears of writers, librarians, teachers, parents, really anyone who loves kids. You record the details here with a wonderful ear and eye.

  2. I think those girls have a great idea for a book, about spending all night in a library. Or perhaps that could be your next Family Reading Night: a library sleepover!

  3. I wondered if either of you would get the significance of the photograph...any guesses?

  4. No, I did not get the significance...though I did wonder about it. When I first saw the photo it reminded me of the letter "Y," and I couldn't help but think of "Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet," but that connection didn't fit.

    I hate to give up on a puzzle, but please tell us!

  5. Y is correct. I was thinking of the x/y chromosome idea and the wondering of "Why?" when reading a good mystery.