Booktalking Tornadoes

I booktalked at three local elementary schools this week.  A lot of fun, but tremendously exhausting!

For the first and third schools, I had my co-worker Sue along, which does make it easier.  For the second school, I was alone in the morning, and was joined by my co-worker Kumud in the afternoon.  It definitely is nice to have someone share the talking!  Though I was relieved to prove to myself that I can, in fact, pull off a booktalk on my own.

The idea is that I’m going in to the local elementary schools and talking with each grade level.  First, I tell them about the summer reading program.  Then I let them choose from the books I brought along (from the featured books for the program) and I tell them how the books start, to try to pique their interest.

I have about a half-hour with each grade level, so it ends up being 20 to 25 minutes of talking.

I was nervous about it:  I became a librarian because I loved my job at Sembach Library so much.  But I never had to do anything like this at Sembach.  I didn’t even run programs at Sembach.  What if I don’t like it?  Will that mean I’m in the wrong job?

But it ended up being a whole lot of fun.  The elementary school kids are still cute and enthusiastic, and I am not trying to teach them anything — just tell them about something fun and tell them about some wonderful books.  When they do seem interested in the books, it’s a great feeling.

We did have some excitement on Wednesday, though.  It was the day I booktalked the morning alone, and the air conditioning was broken in the room where I was talking, which made it all the more tiring.

At the start of the next-to-last booktalk, the kids noticed the wind ferociously blowing outside with pouring rain and lightning and thunder.  I said, “Isn’t it great we’re warm and safe inside?” and kept talking.  But after awhile, they made me stop — because in the background, their tornado alarm was going off.

I was glad the teachers were in charge and not me!  The kids all knew what to do.  They went in the hallways and ducked and covered.  (It did not look very comfortable!)  Some of the kids were crying.  The power went out, and for a few moments there was no backup power, which was a bad moment of blackness.

The teachers had mercy on them and let the kids sit against the wall after about ten minutes.  I brought my bag with me into the hallway, so I was fortunate to have some reading material!  They had to stay in the hallways for at least a half-hour.

Driving back to the library, there were all kinds of branches and leaves in the road.  I had to detour because of a downed power line, and there was no power in the library.  But the books still worked!  I sat under an emergency light and counted beads — we are going to have a big jar of beads for people to guess the number.  And I need to get them counted first!

It turned out that all the schools in Fairfax County had the tornado warning.  Tim had to stay in the duck and cover position for a half-hour.  Many reported seeing funnel clouds, but thankfully, I didn’t hear of any touching down.

I was most stressed out, though, about the Algebra 2 Final Exam that my son had at 7 pm that night.  I called, and they had power, so the test was to go on, even though another wave of storms was predicted for 7:30.

Mapquest said it would take me a half-hour to drive to the test center, but of course it took a full hour.  Through rain and a couple of places where traffic lights weren’t working.  It was a very stressful drive.  Fortunately, the worst of the next wave of storms happened while we were in the building.  And at least now Tim is all DONE with Algebra 2.

But it ended up being an extremely exhausting day!  By the time I finished booktalking the next day, I was wiped out, and ended up getting a migraine just from tiredness.

However, it was still a lot of fun!  Next year I will try to make sure I schedule restful time after each booktalk and ask that I not be scheduled to man the information desk after a day of booktalking!  But now I have a weekend to recover before next week’s round of activities.

And when the preparation is all done and the Summer Reading Program is underway, I will get to celebrate by going up to Philadelphia to march in my graduation at Drexel!  On my birthday!  It will feel extra good to celebrate becoming a Librarian as I will have just completed my big event of the year for a children’s librarian — getting ready for the Summer Reading Program.

Go me!  🙂



  1. How do I know when you comment? Is there a way comments can be sent to me vis email? You have so many blog posts that it’s difficult to check when a response have been made unless you check every blog posting.

  2. Pam, (if you see this), on the side, underneath the archives, there’s a link for “comments rss”. I just recently found it. It lets you choose the application you want to use, but I use google reader, a free google service that lets you see when blogs are updated. The comments on Sondy’s blog are the only ones I keep track of with google reader, because it’s the only one I could find a separate rss feed for. I like it.

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