Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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O'Connor, Barbara.
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2003.
IL 3-6, RL 5.5
ISBN 0374322589

(4 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Bird lives in Freedom, Georgia.  Her life is nothing spectacular.  She isn't popular and she isn't the smartest kid in the 6th grade.  When Harlem Tate moves to town, she gets it into her head to become his friend.  No one else seems to want to.  Harlem is bigger than all the other 6th graders.  He's bigger than some of the 8th graders!  And he doesn't seem to be too smart.  He isn't very friendly but that doesn't stop Bird.  She's got her mind made up.  And when Bird makes up her mind ...

Booktalk #2

Bird wants to see the good in people, just like Miss Delphine.  She has a plan, a bigger one that her daily plans that she figures each day on Miss Delphine's porch, one that includes the new boy, Harlem Tate.  Everyone at school says he's mean and dumb but Bird sees the promise of a new friend, if she can get to him before the other kids "poison his mind with lies" about her.  When Bird finds out that the prize for winning the state spelling bee is a trip to Disney World everything falls into place.  Going there is her second goal in life.  Her first goal is to "get noticed" in her town of Freedom, Georgia even if it is only for a few minutes.  With Harlem as her spelling partner her second goal is a sure bet.  Or is it?  And does Bird get to achieve her first goal too?  Read Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia  to find out.   (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee, 2004-05)

Booktalk #3

Hey ya’ll!  My name is Burdette, but my friends call me Bird, and I live in a small town in Georgia called Freedom.  There’s not a lot going on in Freedom, so when a new kid moves into town, it’s big news.  Harlem Tate is his name, and nobody else wanted anything to do with him, but I did.  I was determined to make friends with him, even though he didn’t know it.  All I needed to do was come up with a plan, and what do you know?  It was time to get ready for our annual spelling bee, and I needed a partner!  Yes, Harlem and I were destined to be friends alright – now we just had to find a way to win that spelling bee.  That could be my ticket out of this little town and reaching my dream destination!  Want to know where that is and what happened to us?  Well, you’ll have to read my story to find out.  You’re going to love it, and by the way – the lady who wrote my story, Ms. Barbara O’Connor, grew up in Greenville, South Carolina.  How about that?  (Jan Faile, South Carolina Book Awards, 2006)

Booktalk #4

Bird (Burdette), one of the least popular girls in her school, has two goals in her life – to get noticed in her small town of Freedom, GA and to visit Disney world. Could the state spelling bee be the answer to her dreams? Being a terrible speller Bird realizes she’s going to need help. Harlem, the new boy whom no one seems to like, is a terrific speller and reluctantly becomes her partner. Will this be a winning team? Read this book to find out.  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2005-2006)

SUBJECTS:     Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.
                        Schools -- Fiction.
                        Contests -- Fiction.
                        Popularity -- Fiction.


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