Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Konigsburg, E. L.
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000
IL 5-8, RL 6.0
ISBN 0689836015

(3 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

The most recent story from skilled Newbery Medalist E.L. Konigsburg, Silent to the Bone, ranks as a top mystery novel for both middle and high schoolers. This multi-layer story unfolds as infant Nikki lies in a coma and her thirteen-year-old half-brother Branwell stands accused of having dropped her. Opening with his distress call to 911, during which Branwell is rendered mute and remains so for most of the book, this narrative by his best friend Connor details the boys' development of a creative method of communicating, leading to Connor's finally uncovering the truth of the surprising events of the tragic day. Written with keen sensitivity to the themes important to this age, friendship, family, emerging sexuality, trust, and loyalty, Silent to the Bone is a compelling read with well-developed lead characters, engaging dialogue, and a fascinating premise.
(Lisa Maher, Colorado Blue Spruce YA Book Award, 2003)

Booktalk #2

                    Trying to call 9-1-1 to save his half-sister, thirteen-year old Branwell Zamborska is struck dumb.  He can’t utter a word and just stands there as the operator begs him to speak.  When the au pair or babysitter accuses him of hurting his little sixth month old sister, he can only stand there and stare.  Unable to defend himself, he is taken away to the Clarion County Juvenile Behavioral Center.  No one can make him speak, and it is starting to look like he is guilty.  As the state begins to mount a case against Branwell, his father calls on Connor, Branwell’s best friend, to visit him to see if Connor can break through his wall of silence.

                    Desperate to prove Branwell’s innocence, Connor finds a way to communicate with him.  Through these communications, Connor is sent on mission after mission to find the clues that will break Branwell’s silence and set him free.  With the help of his older half sister, Connor begins to investigate the events that lead up to the silence.  Will Connor discover what really happened on that horrible night, or will Branwell be tried for the actions that caused his sister’s hospitalization?  Follow Connor as he pieces together the clues and learns that communication can occur even when there are no words left to say.  Read what caused Branwell Zamborska to become Silent to the Bone and learn how true friendship pulls us through.  (Sandra M. Brundage,, USC-MLIS Intern)

Booktalk #3

Connor and Branwell have been best friends since nursery school. Their friendship however gets put to the ultimate test after Branwell’s baby sister, Nicole, is in a near fatal “accident” and the only one who can clarify what really happened is Branwell. The problem is the only witness who will speak the truth hasn’t spoken since the accident. Now Connor must unravel the clues Branwell is trying to give him to prove is friend’s innocence and try to figure out a way to make his best friend speak  (Jordyn R. Webster, student,  Manfield High School)

SUBJECTS:     Mutism, Elective -- Fiction.
                        Emotional problems -- Fiction.
                        Babysitters -- Fiction.
                        Remarriage -- Fiction.
                        Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.
                        Friendship -- Fiction.


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