Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Koja, Kathe.
New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2003.
IL 5-8, RL 7.2
ISBN 0373309981

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

He's new in school.  And he's very different.  He dresses in an oversize tee shirt with a dragon on it.  He begs for lunch money.  He's the perfect candidate for the school bully.  But what is not evident is his artistic ability.  He is an incredible artist.  When Justin is assigned to partner with him for a school project, he is reluctant but knows he has no choice.  When he finds out about Jinsen's talent, he becomes intrigued.  After all, Justin's father is an artist so he has grown up with an appreciation of art.  Becoming Jinsen's friend comes with a price though.

Booktalk #2

Do I remember Jinsen? How could I ever forget him? Jakob, Megan and I, friends since middle school, were sitting in the high school cafeteria when Megan spotted him. A skinny bald-headed kid in a size million red tiedyed dragon T-shirt, wearing his backpack, was making his way across the cafeteria going from table to table. He seemed to be asking for something. Most people stared at him or laughed at him. Some of them even threw things at him and through it all he smiled, a regular sunny smile. When he came up to our table I could see his big ears, tilted, sleepy eyes, and shaved head. He was begging “like a monk”, he said, and I gave him a dollar despite Megan’s glare. “Everyone was looking” she said, “Don’t do it again.” Ten minutes later I was paired with Michael Martin, alias “Jinsen”, in Ms. Keller’s class. Now, through no fault of my own, I had to work on a project with “Buddha Boy”, go to his house, be seen with him. It was so humiliating! And I couldn’t even ditch the assignment like Tim Elder because I had a low “C” and needed every point just to pass. Justin, a sophomore at Edward Rucher High School, learns that “Jinsen” is Michael’s spiritual name in Buddhism, and that Jinsen is the most talented artist in the whole school. Most importantly, Justin learns that his karma is to make and lose a friend.  Oklahoma Sequoyah Young Adult Book Award nominee, 2005-2006

SUBJECTS:     Conduct of life -- Fiction.
                        Peer pressure -- Fiction.
                        Artists -- Fiction.
                        Buddhism -- Fiction.
                        High schools -- Fiction.
                        Schools -- Fiction.
                        Orphans -- Fiction.


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