Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Creech, Sharon.
New York : Joanna Cotler, 2003.
IL 3-6, RL 4.5
ISBN 0060292903 

(7 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews

Booktalk #1

Bailey and Rosie are best friends.  They live next door to each other and were born just a week apart.  They've always been as close as sister and brother -- maybe closer because they chose each other.  When Rosie found out that Bailey was legally blind, she started looking out for him even more.  Now they are both twelve-years-old and are still best friends.  When they have a fight, they find comfort and wisdom while helping out Granny Torrelli in the kitchen.  Join them as they enjoy pasta and family stories while Granny Torrelli Makes Soup.

Booktalk #2

                    Tutto Va Bene, or "all is well," at least when you can talk through things in Granny Torrelli's kitchen. I'm 12 years old, my name is Rosie and my blind best friend, Bailey and I don't always get along.  In fact, like most best friends, we support each other but we also get on each other's nerves!
                    Just when I think I can't take it anymore, I visit Granny Torrelli.  (It helps to talk things out at sometimes.)  I help Granny cook some great Italian dishes while Granny "cooks up" stories from her past that sometimes seem pretty similar to what I'm going through.
                    I've told Granny everything.  Like one time when Bailey walked out of the house and got lost.  Everyone in town was worried sick, walking the streets trying to find him.  Finally, Bailey turned up again.  I couldn't be mad at him though because I was so happy that he was home.  Then another time, I thought Bailey and I wouldn't be friends anymore because we were growing apart:  Bailey went to a special school and read special books.  I decided to surprise Bailey by learning how to read Braille.  It took me a year of hard work, but do you think Bailey was happy?  NO!  He sure was not; but Granny Torrelli cooked up another story while we made soup that helped me understand why Bailey was upset.
                    It's true that Granny Torrelli's stories about her own life have helped me understand my relationship with Bailey.  But I don't know if she'll have any stories that can help out with this… a new "too friendly" girl just moved onto our street.  "That Janine girl, she is making my mind swirl," smiling all over the place with cool frizzy black hair, flipping her head this way and that, flashing her sparkly white smile with no braces or anything!  Now Bailey is going over to HER house to teach HER Braille.  I don't know if helping Granny Tortelli make cavatelli, meatballs, or even zuppa will help me make sense out of this mess!
                    To find out if Granny Tortelli's stories help Roise and Bailey's friendship check out Granny Totelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech. (Andi Figart, AFIGART@DaytonMetroLibrary.Org)

Booktalk #3

                    Twelve-year-old Rosie has grown up with her best friend, next-door neighbor Bailey.  But he's not her best friend today.  Today she surprised him with the news that she could read Braille.  She'd worked in secret for over a year to learn how, and she thought he'd be pleased, but he just said, “Rosie, get over yourself!” and slammed the door in her face.  Now she's so mad at him she can't see straight.
                    Granny Torelli arrives to take care of her that night, and as they make soup together, Granny helps her deal with her feelings.  Granny tells tales of her own best friend from her youth, and slowly Rosie begins to see the situation through Bailey’s eyes.
                    Will her friendship with Bailey stand up to this latest test?  And what about that new girl Janine who fawns all over Bailey?  Will they survive this new threat? Does Granny have a story for this new problem?  Find out what happens in Granny Torelli Makes Soup. (Mary Lou Wallace,, East Aiken Elementary School, Aiken, SC)

Booktalk #4

"That Bailey!  That Bailey, my friend, my buddy, my pal for my whole life ... I am so mad at him right now.  I hate him today."  Rosie and Bailey grew up side by side as neighbors their whole lives, and up until now, they had been inseparable.  Handsome Bailey is visually impaired, a fact that Rosie had always accepted as a matter of course.  But now at the age of 12, Rosie is having pangs of jealousy ... now that the pretty new girl in the neighborhood is showing an interest in "her" Bailey.  "That Bailey," Granny Torrelli mimics her.  Did I ever tell you about Pardo?  Thus her wise old Italian grandmother launches a tale from her childhood in the old country.  In Granny's kitchen, over an aromatic pot of soup, Granny uses her inscrutable wisdom and humor to set things right between two young friend.  Everyone should have a Granny Torrelli!  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee, 2004-05)

Booktalk #5

Did you ever get angry with your best friend?  That's what happened between Rosie and Bailey.  Twelve-year-old Rosie has been best friends with Bailey since as long ago as she can remember.  It may have something to do with them being born a week apart, or being next door neighbors; or that they have always done most things together.  All Rosie knows is that Bailey has always been better than a brother:  It has never mattered to her that he cannot see very well, cannot read her books or see her wave goodbye.  But now Bailey, her neighbor, her buddy, her pal, is angry with Rosie.  And why?  All she tried to do was something so very special and just for him.  And what's the thanks she gets?  “Rosie, get over yourself!” Bailey said, and he slammed the door in her face. 

Angry and miserable, Rosie gets a visit from her Granny Torrelli who decides she wants to make soup.  Rosie helps chop ingredients while Granny offers up memories of her own childhood best friend in Italy long ago.  Granny seems to understand the need to be with a best friend most of the time, and how misunderstandings can threaten even “pal for my whole life” friendships like the one Rosie has with Bailey.  Maybe somewhere between the stirring and serving up of the good smelling soup is a way to make things right again.  Find out by reading Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech. (Gail King,,  USC - CLIS)

Booktalk #6

“Zuppa!”  Granny Torrelli says.  “That’s what we need tonight-soup!”  So Granny and 12 yr . old Rosie take celery, carrots, onion, mushrooms and chicken and chop, chop, chop until a delicious smell fills the kitchen.  That’s when Granny says, “OK, Rosie, what’s going on with you?”  And that’s when Rosie finds herself telling Granny about how her best friend Bailey yelled at her-“Rosie, get over yourself!” when Rosie had spent an entire year learning Braille just so she could read like Bailey.  Bailey was supposed to be proud of her, he was supposed to be happy she could read Braille.  Instead, he yelled at her and slammed the door in her face.  When you’ve been best friends with someone since you were babies, since you’ve always tried to help Bailey because he’s been going blind, since a good looking girl has moved into the neighborhood that thinks Bailey is pretty cute-well, things can get complicated.  But when Granny Torrelli cooks, no problem can stand the heat in the kitchen.  (Alyse Goldman,, Sterling Middle School, Sterling, VA)

Booktalk #7

Dear Diary,

That Bailey!That Bailey, my friend, my buddy, my pal for my whole life…I am so mad at him right now!I hate him today.

Why I liked Bailey in the first place:Bailey was alwaysthere, born next door to me, one week after me, the two of us just two babies growing up side by side, our mothers together, and me and Bailey together on the lawn, on the porch, on the floor, playing with pots and pans and mud and worms and snow and rain and puddles.

Today I went to Bailey’s house to surprise him.I have spent all year being sneaky so I could learn to read Braille like Bailey does.I just knew he would be surprised.Then he could write me secret notes that no one else could read.But, do you know what happened when I got over there to tell him?He told me to get over myself and slammed the door.He wasn’t happy at all.I was so mad I ran home, flung myself on my bed, and cried.

Dear Diary,

Tonight Granny Torrelli was in charge of me.She wanted soup only she calls it zuppa.That’s Italian for soup.She found a big pot and put in water to boil.We chopped l, chopped chopped onions, celery, and carrots.She defrosted chicken to put in the zuppa.I stirred and added salt and pepper and pasta.While it cooked, she asked me what was wrong because she could tell I was low.I told her about that Bailey and how he got mad at me for learning Braille.She listened like she always does and then told me a story about her and her best pal named Pardo.When she was finished I was feeling so lonely for that Bailey that we decided to take zuppa over to his house for him and his mom.When his mom answered the door she told me Bailey was up in his room so I ran up there as fast as I could.He must have known I was coming because when I opened the door he was standing up facing me.I started to say I was sorry and tell him that I wouldn’t read Braille anymore, but he handed me a piece of paper before I could finish.He had typed me a Braille message!It said I’m sorry.I hugged that Bailey so tight I don’t think he could breathe.Then we went downstairs happy as two puppies and enjoyed warm zuppa.

Dear Diary,

A new girl moved up the street.When I think of that Janine girl, that new girl up the street, that too-friendly new girl, my heart turns to ice.I become ice girl, ice queen.Bailey likes her and thinks she’s nice.She is a pretty girl, I give her that. With her cool frizzy black hair,she is so confident that Janine, flipping her hair this way and that, flashing her sparkly white smile, no braces at all.But what makes me really hot is that Bailey thinks she’s neat.She is so curious he says.I asked him about what.Do you know what that Bailey said to her?What did that Bailey, my friend, my buddy, my Bailey say?He said that she wanted to learn to read Braille.He said that he was going to teach, pal for my whole life, teach her Braille when he got so mad at me for learning all by myself?

To see if Rosie and Bailey’s friendship can survive the new girl up the street and what other great recipes Granny Torrelli cooks up read Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech.  Oklahoma Sequoyah Children’s Book Award nominee, 2005-2006

SUBJECTS:     Grandmothers -- Fiction.
                        Italian Americans -- Fiction.
                        Best friends -- Fiction.
                        Blind -- Fiction.
                        People with disabilities -- Fiction.
                        Cookery -- Fiction.


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