Friday, April 17, 2020

Booktalking Nonfiction

Since the 2019-2020 school year marks the 10th Anniversary of this blog, on Fridays, I’m resurrecting and updating old posts that sparked a lot of conversation or that still have a lot to offer people teaching or writing nonfiction. 

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 created this list assumed the booktalker was talking about 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 (expository or narrative)
Content bit
Art bit

Here’s an example:

“Imagine you woke up one morning and had jackrabbit ears! What would you look like? Would the world sound different? 

“In the expository nonfiction list book What If You Had Animal Ears?, author Sandra Markle uses clear, straightforward text to introduce us to eleven animals with amazing ears. 

“Did you know a jackrabbit’s ears give off body heat to help it stay cool? And a Tasmanian devil’s ears blush red when its excited or upset? There’s so much interesting information in this book, and it’s chock full of captivating photos and fun illustrations that will make you want laugh out loud! 

“At the end of the book, you’ll find out what makes your ears so special. Trust me. This is a book you won’t want to miss.”

Why not invite your students to create a booktalk for their favorite nonfiction title?


  1. I recorded myself reading Why Are Animals Blue for my students. Am I allowed to post it to YouTube or does the copyright law prevent me from doing so?

    1. Hi Kristan,
      You would need permission from Rosen Publishing, which now owns Enslow. As far as I know, they have not released an official policy. Sorry I can't be of more help.