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Book Talks Examples for High and Middle School

by Suleman

Let us learn a new activity today. The activity is called Booktalking. The aim of a Booktalker is to generate the curiosity of the audience by sharing some interesting stuff about the book he is booktalking. The booktalker may do so in a number of ways and there is no strict format how he does that. Booktalks are unique and depend a lot upon the style of the booktalker who is presenting them. But Generally speaking there are three booktalking Styles;

  • Type A: The Excerpt: This involves reading out loud an interesting part of the book and ending with a cliff-hanger that lets the audience wanting for more. This is like a trailer of a movie-the good snippets to get their attention.
  • Type B: The Discussion: This kind of booktalk generally begins by the booktalker asking a few questions of The questions generally summon them to step into the character’s   shoes and draws out answer in the form of yes or no from them. From here on he moves to discuss an interesting scene or plot from the book intermittingly asking the questions to build up the audience’s interest.
  • Type C: First person: This requires acting skill on the part of booktalker as he becomes one of the characters from the book. No reading from the book. He becomes an actor and plays the character himself.

Book Talks Examples for High and Middle School


Uglies by Westerfeld

So let us get on with the book talking. We begin with the Discussion kind of booktalk first and we talk about this book called “Uglies” by Westerfeld.

Its human nature not to be satisfied with what one has. Some of us wish for longer hair, the ones with long hair would like to have straight hair, people with straight hair would ask for curls. the wishes are endless. But imagine if your wishes are granted and you get a chance to change your looks. Yes, the character of our first book, Tally, is a teenager who definitely is getting such an opportunity. She basically lives in this town called Uglyville, where all the “Uglies” live. Now this town is a strange one. Strange in the sense that when some inhabitants of this town turn sixteen, he or she undergoes an operation that changes the physical attributes of him or her completely. Pre operation they are Ugly (as all the inhabitants of this town are) and post operation they are pretty and are transported to another town, which has all pretty people and where fun never ends.

Now Tally has still two months to wait before she gets a make over. But she cannot wait. she plans to spy on the newly turned pretties. She sneaks into their town and meets Shay.  Now Shay is also ugly, but he is smart, adventurous and full of life. He shares his birthday with Tally and is lined up to turn pretty on the same date as her. They hit off very well. He talks to tally about a town where they can live as they are. No operations, no makeovers for the uglies of that town.

Shay has now become very close friend of Tally, but she is now torn between two choices, first one to turn pretty and. second to be with shay who doesn’t want to turn pretty. So, what would you do had you been in her shoes? Turn pretty or be with Shay and be happy with your status quo. What if you opt for choose one but to reap its dividend you have to betray your best friend. What would you do?

Transition: A tough decision indeed lets read the book to find out what Tally does .Did she betray Shay? Did she turn pretty? Meanwhile lets move on to the next book in which we have another girl Ursula Riggs who is rendered emotionless because of being Ugly. This is a first person booktalk and for next five to ten minutes I am Ursula Riggs of BIG Mouth & Ugly Girl.

BIG Mouth and Ugly Girl

I am Ursula Riggs and “Since that day I woke up and knew I wasn’t an ugly girl; I was Ugly Girl” so you can chose to call me an “Ugly Girl”. I am a loner and have fierce eyes. People often find me as staring directly into their eyes. I don’t know whether I do it consciously or it’s just an illusion. Whatever be the case I am least bothered. I am a student of high school and unlike other children of my age I have no time for dating, friends and other petty things. I would rather play basketball and mind my own business full stop.

I have least interest in other people and I have no inclination or an iota of interest in this guy of my school called Matt Donaghy, who incidentally happens to be my former class mate at elementary high school .He is a true “Big Mouth”, keeps boasting all the time and considers himself quite a writer .I wonder why is he not drawn into any kind of trouble because of his boastfulness.  But this time he would not be spared. he is been escorted by detectives and is being held for blowing up our school and is held guilty till proven innocent. He is not able to believe this. It was just a joke that he cracked during recess time with his friends. Friends who have now deserted him during this time of need and they have done worse then that they have shut him off.

But I knew what happened and what is reality let me speak to Matt “Look Matt. I heard what you said in the cafeteria today. I was walking past your table, and I heard. I know you were joking, and there’s no way any intelligent person could misconstrue your words or gestures” (page 65).

Transition: Have you ever said anything in jest that might be taken wrong by others?  Find out what happens to Big Mouth Matt and find out how his life and that of Ursula “Ugly Girl” Riggs change forever. So Ursula and Tally might be harboring a complex because of being below-average but our next booktalk is about this guy Leo Borlock who unlike Tally and Ursula is very much an average boy and gets paranoid about anything that makes him stand out or Different and this anything can very well be his beautiful and mysterious and yes very different girlfriend.so the book is STARGIRL by Spinelli, Jerry. This is Excerpt type Booktalk and I would be reading a lot from an interesting part of the book now and then

I am Leo Borlock and I follow the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School i.e. don’t stand out–under any circumstances! And let me tell you one thing more I like collecting porcupine neckties and I loved them so much that I thought of starting a collection. Two years have gone by but my count of porcupine neckties is still one after all “Where do you find a porcupine necktie in Mica, Arizona – or anywhere else, for that matter?” So was the state of my collection till my 14th birthday until I read this “As a hobby, Leo Borlock collects porcupine neckties.” written in a local newspaper and miraculously after a few days of my 14th birthday “I found a plastic bag on our front step.  Inside was a gift-wrapped package tied with yellow ribbon.  The tag said, “Happy Birthday!”  I opened the package.  It was a porcupine necktie.  Two porcupines were tossing darts with their quills, while a third was picking its teeth.” I did a lot of investigation to find out the person who took all the pains in the world to find out the likes of an average person like me and better still to gift it to me. The episode would have remained a mystery for me. I asked my parents, my friends as to who gifted me the tie but no clues. “It did not occur to me that I was being watched.  We were all being watched.”

Anyways let’s move on let me take you to my first day of eleventh grade. Everybody was talking about her. Kevin my friend asked me several times “Did you see her?”. The whole school was talking about her. Then I noticed her, “She was wearing an off-white dress so long that her shoes were covered.” It had ruffles across the collar which cuffs and appeared as though it might have been the wedding gown of her great-grandmother. Her hair was a sand-colored hue. It slipped on her shoulders. There was something strapped to her back, although it wasn’t a book case. I figured it was a small guitar at first. I later figured out it was a ukulele.

She didn’t bring a plate for lunch. She held a huge bag of canvas with a life-size sunflower drawn on it. When she passed past, the lunchroom was dead quiet. She stopped at an empty seat, set her bag down, slid an instrument strap over the chair, and then sat down. She took a sandwich out of her purse and began feeding. Half the lunchroom kept looking, half the buzz began.

Her name was Stargirl Caraway, she was a 10th grader. I soon got a chance to have a good look her “she wasn’t gorgeous, wasn’t ugly. A sprinkle of freckles crossed the bridge of her nose. Mostly she looked like a hundred other girls in school, except for two things. She wore no makeup, and her eyes were the biggest I had ever seen, like deer’s eyes caught in headlights.”

She has already generated enough waves in school and all I can say about her is that she is so DIFFERENT .She dances when there’s is no music, she speaks of stars and seahorses but doesn’t know what a football is .She got a chance to join cheerleaders squad but she could not; Reason she cheered for both the sides. Apart from being different she has had me totally confused and you know what I might be falling in love with her or worse have already fallen for her. But I want her to be normal. So, that when I walk with her I don’t have stares following us wherever we go But Stargirl’s unpredictable spirit is who she is – it’s what makes her Stargirl.

Transition: Leo’s torn – he really likes Stargirl, but the opinion of his friends matter to him a lot. What to do with Stargirl? What would you do with Stargirl? What do you imagine happens to Stargirl? Sharing the fears of sticking out from the crowd is our next character from the book Justin who is again disturbed and intrigued like Leo not because of a DIFFERENT girl but because of a bald “monk like” boy called Buddha boy. This is a first-person book talk so I am Justin from the book “Buddha Boy by KATHE RAJA” sharing my tryst with Buddha boy

Hi, I am Justin and I am a student of Edward Rucher High School and I prefer walking the narrow line that allows me to have some friends while avoiding conflict with the popular bullies who inhabit every school .I want to pass through high school unnoticed doing my work enjoying my friends and I like my other friends is quite intrigued and amazed by this new addition in the school who is “skinny bald headed kid in a size million T-shirt”. “An exchange student? From Mars?” is the buzz all around.

I am just trying to make some sense out of what he is doing currently. It seems so bizarre already with his strange clothing, bald head and that stupid smile “it was a real sunny regular all’s-right-with-the-world smile, which meant that he was either high, or crazy”. Megan my friend is with me and this strange creature seemed to be asking for something. When he came up to our table I could see his big ears, tilted, sleepy eyes, and shaved head. ,  “I’m a monk “He said. You’re a what?” but Megan gave me a glare you could have used to cut metal, don’t talk to the weirdo because people were staring at us now, staring and snickering and “Here,” I said, digging in my pocket, handing him a dollar and “Thanks,” he said, d I gave him a dollar despite Megan’s glare. “What an asshole,” I said but “Exactly,” Megan nodded, folding her arms. “Everyone was looking. Don’t do it again”. I was full of loath for this creature and I was totally unaware of the problem that stood for me in the next period after recess. Ten minutes later I was paired with Michael Martin, alias “Jinsen”, in Ms. Keller’s class. Now, through no fault of my own, I had to work on a project with “Buddha Boy”, go to his house, and be seen with him. It was so humiliating! And I couldn’t even ditch the assignment like Tim Elder because I had a low “C” and needed every point just to pass. I want to get done with it as soon as possible, and climb right back into my safe social niche.

I now am pitted against the “Buddha Boy” who is the object of social ridicule by school tormentors but he seems to creeping into my system now .I have to accept I like him now but what I do not like is the fact that the others torment him and I have to stop them from hurting my friend

Justin is often amazed by the imaginative talents of Jinsen, both annoyed and fascinated by Jinsen’s obvious imperturbability of his tormentors. Justin spends time with Jinsen, the new, odd and creative student who is tormented and named Buddha by the school. Transition: Justin ends up making decisions that influence Jinsen, himself, and the whole school. Becoming Jinsen’s mate, however, comes with a price. If Justin stands for Jinsen we have our protagonist of the next book Eric from staying fat for Sarah bynes who is working hard to get rid of his fat tissues and at the same time fears the loss of his not so beautiful best friend Sarah who is nothing but mystery

This is again First person style and I am Eric from Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Crutcher, Chris

My name is Eric Calhoune and I am grossly fat .I am so fat that people do not call me by my name Eric instead they call me Moby inspired by the name of big fat whale called Moby Dick .I have tried all kinds of exercises in the gym but still cannot wean away myself from this fat body .I also hold the esteemed title of being the fattest kid in the school. Not that I am bothered by all theses talks as I believe people generally find a way to make fun of you for being too small, too thin, too tall or whatever. I prefer to remain away from such popular kids and am more close to their objects of ridicule or the other social misfits. I am a best pal with this nice girl Sarah Byrnes and ironically she happens to be a freak because of her surname BYRNES. Poor girl has her face charred due to burn marks because of an accident that she met during childhood. She is strong girl and ask her how’s her face spoiled and she would say it is because of boiled water that she spilled on herself. She may not have poured boiling water on herself, but the frustration and indignation towards the people who make fun of her and against her abusive father who will not encourage her to pursue cosmetic surgery is now pouring through her eyes.

Just like people try to get at me they try to get her as well but she is all closed and a walking “HUMAN SECRET”.

Thing change and so am I, I am trying hard at swimming, the more I swim the more weight I lose, the more weight I lose the more I swim .Now I am in junior high school and children do not have a go on my obesity anymore they do not call me Moby now they call me FRIEND, but not Sarah .As I am beginning to shed extra pounds I am afraid I am on the verge of losing my precious and invaluable friendship with Sarah as he tries to hold on friendship strange things happen

Anything terrible. Sarah winds up in a mental institution. Eric goes to look at her but she doesn’t respond. Eric is attempting to get in, but he’s not even able to reach her. Through her, he wants to reason. But Sarah only stares at Eric and says, “Friends are not the same for me as they are for you no matter how scared you were or how fat you used to be now.” Eric is confused: “What do you mean?” “What are you referring to what do I mean?” Look at my countenance! “Hisses Sarah. So I saw your face,” “Would you like to talk about the accident? “Accident? Accident!” “Pauses Sarah. This,” she says, “has NOT been an accident. Are you interested in learning how this happened to me? Would you like to know the secret?”

Transition: What happened to Sarah? Would Eric abandon his plans of getting slim? Why would Sarah treat a fitter Eric so morbidly or is she just trying to upset him or just jealous?


The books serve to broaden our horizon by taking our mind to the realm and situations, which might seem very real to us or might stick out like alien. For instance the problems and concerns of all the five characters we talked about in the session might look very common to people of your age group. After all looking good, being fit and popular are the major priorities for a teenager .So you all can relate with the characters and can actually visualize and understand what Eric goes through when people call him fat, what complexes Ursula and Tally suffer from because of being Ugly and how Leo and Justin try to evade and escape all the situations which might make them unpopular. But what binds all these characters is how all of them overcome their fears and come to the realization that all these complexes they are suffering from are very superficial and a true Human Spirit is beyond all such fears and what counts in life is Character and life is the celebration of Human Spirit that is beyond all these fears.

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