Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Gantos, Jack
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998
IL 5-8  RL 5.2
ISBN 0374336644

(6 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Imagine that your body and mind are sizzling and fireworks are going off inside of you.  How can anything at school compete against those kinds of volcanic activity inside of a person?  Come and read for yourself what is it like to be inside that body trapped with all kinds of behaviors you don't want but can't seem to stop.  You might even know someone like Joey.  (Jeannie Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards)

Bootkalk #2

How many of us can say we've been in a classmate's head?  Jack Gantos puts us smack in the middle of Joey's and it is a scary, bumpy ride!  Joey learns things the hard way through a haze of "dud meds" used to control his ADD, hyperactivity, and mood swings.  We listen to Joey as he tells himself what he needs to do and yet we know what's in store.  Joey sharpens his finger in the pencil sharpener, swallows his house key on the day it doesn't hang from its usual string around his neck and runs with scissors and injures a classmate. Thankfully, placement in a special education program begins to get Joey the help he needs and gives readers insight into kids who are different, perhaps even a Joey in their own classroom.  Every student, parent, teacher, and administrator should read this humorous and yet on-the-money account of Joey.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee) 

Booktalk #3

Joey Pigza is a wired kid.  After lunch his meds start to wear off and then he is trouble.  In math he knows the answer to the question, 9x9, but instead of answering he blurts out, “Can I get back to you on that?”  He kept doing it until he was sent into the hall.  Here he still gots into trouble for bouncing off the lockers like a Tazmanian Devil.  Read Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key to find out what other sort of trouble he finds.  (Missy Smits, Library Media Specialist, DePere, WI)

Booktalk #4

Joey Pigza could not sit still to save his life. He was always wired and needed to be active and doing something. He was always getting into trouble for not paying attention and not following the rules his mother and teachers gave him. He was always doing things before thinking about them and ends up making bad choices. One day Joey can't concentrate on his homework so his teacher asks him to sharpen some pencils for her. He decides that having a really sharp and pointed fingernail would be really cool. Joey sticks his finger into the pencil sharpener and begins to turn the handle. Joey ends up cutting up his finger very badly and having to go to the nurse to get a bandage for it. Joey is always caught in situations similar to this where he does things before ever really thinking about what could happen. Find out what happens to Joey when he finally goes too far and ends up cutting off the tip of another students nose.  (Jordan Becker,, college student)

Booktalk #5

Joey Pigza needs help in order to stay in his school and not get sent to the special education center downtown. Joey can't seem to pay attention in class, follow rules, and do his work. But the worst part is because his meds aren't working right he just can't help but be crazy. He can't sit still in class which leads him to swallowing his house key, on a class trip he couldn't pay attention so he climbs on top of a barn and jumps off, and one day in class he was running with scissors and cut the tip of Maria’s nose off. In order to find out if Joey ever gets his life on track and heading in the right direction you must read Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, which was also a National Book Award Finalist.
(Courtnie Rigg,, college student)

Booktalk #6

No matter how hard he tries, Joey Pigza always manages to get himself into trouble. He has good intentions, but bad medication that does not always work properly. He struggles with paying attention and constant mood swings. He bounces around and finds himself in less than ideal situations, such as the time he swallowed his house key in the middle of class. Find out what happens when Joey is sent to a special education program at a new school downtown, in this realistic fiction story, titled Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, written by Jack Gantos. (Jessica Klenck,, college student)

SUBJECTS:     Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder -- Fiction
                        Schools -- Fiction
                       Single-parent family -- Fiction.


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