Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Myers, Walter Dean.
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 1999
ISBN 0060280786

(4 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

I would begin by reading pages 1-5.  (It will grab there attention.)  Can you ever imagine being in this situation.  This guy has everything.  A family an interest in school in making movies.  When he finds himself the lookout for a convenience store heist everything spirals out of control.  You'll love reading this screen play about a "Monster" by Walter Dean Myers. (Karen Womack <>)

Booktalk #2

If an older audience, ask participants how they envision jail for juveniles.  What kind of people would they meet in prison?  Ask them if the know the procedures of a criminal trial.  After this discussion, put them in a situational position and ask what they would do if they were put in jail before trial.  How would they face family and friends?  How would they protect themselves?  Introduce this book and ask what they think the relevance of the title and how it would be used in this book.  ("Naomi Bates" <>)

Booktalk #3

Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is in prison while being tried for participating in a robbery during which the storeowner was killed.  If convicted, he could get 25 years to life in prison.  Steve knew the other men involved in the crime.  One of the men cut a deal for a reduced sentence and puts Steve at the scene.  Is Steve a monster as described by the prosecutor, or an innocent guy who hangs with the wrong people?  You be the judge.  (Mary Huebscher, Librarian, Holy Cross of San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

Booktalk #4

Steve Harmon is on trial.  He could get 25 to life.  All for something he swears he didn't do.  He's accused of being a lookout for a robbery gone wrong.  During the robbery, the store owner is killed.  Now Steve is facing felony murder charges.  As we read about Steve's evenings in jail, we see a terrified 16 year old who is caught up in something too big for him to understand.   Each day he is brought back to the court room and tries to understand what is going on.  His lawyer doesn't seem very optimistic about his chances of getting off.  There are too many witnesses who testify that he is involved.  Told in the form of a movie script that Steve writes, we see a different Steve than the jury sees.  We see that he may not be a monster after all.

SUBJECTS:     Trials (Murder) -- Fiction.
                        Prisons -- Fiction.
                        Self-perception -- Fiction.
                        African Americans -- Fiction.


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