Not long ago, I saw this list of recommended components for a booktalk:
- Main character
- Plot bit
And boy, did it frost my britches.
Why? Because the person who wrote it assumed the booktalker was recommending a fiction title. What about nonfiction? It’s important to booktalk these titles too because many kids prefer nonfiction.
So here’s my list of suggested components for a nonfiction booktalk:
- Text structure
- Writing style
- Voice choice
- Content bit
And here are a couple of examples:
The Great Monkey Rescue: Saving the Golden Lion Tamarins by Sandra Markle is a specialized nonfiction title perfectly suited for students in grades 4–7. Sandwiched between a narrative beginning and ending, engaging expository text with a problem-solution structure describes how scientists and Brazilian citizens worked together to save endangered monkeys from extinction. Vibrant photos, a dynamic design, and rich back matter further enhance the book.
Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page is an engaging concept picture book written for students in grades K‑3, but older students will enjoy it too. Appealing animal portraits, first-person narration with occasional bits of humor, a fun question-and-answer text structure, and interview-style format make this book unique. Young readers won’t be able to resist the cornucopia of facts about how an animal’s facial features help it survive.
Why not invite your students to create a booktalk for their favorite nonfiction title?