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Booktalking 2.0

True confession: I was never a good booktalker. 

I did it at every level.  I spent a week quickly reading or re-reading 10 or so books around a theme, around a genre, the new titles.  I’d talk passionately about each one. At the end of the period or block, all 25 students were motivated to read at least one of those ten titles. 

So it worked?  Not so much.

When the grabbing was over, the waiting lists began.  Then the next class arrived. . .

I simply couldn’t read or re-read enough fast enough.  The pressure wore me out.  And the job was bigger than booktalking alone.

I needed booktalk support.  Booktalk rehab.  I craved intervention. Web 2.0 rescued me.

I love that we can now share our booktalks, and in true 2.0 style, we can involve learners in creating them.  I love that we can link to or share a colleague’s booktalk through the magic of streamed media.  I love that I don’t have to create them all from scratch.

Here’s a list of traditional booktalks and book reviews in podcast/vodcast format:

Bookwink:  Selected as an ALSC Great Web Site, Bookwink’s mission is:

to inspire kids to read. Through podcasting and web video, we hope to connect kids in Grades 3 through 8 with books that will make them excited about reading. The videos are approximately 3 minutes long and are updated monthly. Each video booktalk is about a different topic, and additional read-alikes can be found on the Bookwink website. You can look for books by subject, grade level, author or title. We are constantly updating the booklists with our newest favorite books.  

Librarian Sonja Cole (seen in the pic) is Bookwink’s host and booktalker.  She is joined by art director and producer, Paul Kim.

Book talk expert Nancy Keane now presents her Booktalks Quick and Simple podcast style.  Nancy aims to share a podcast everyday. Visit the site or subscribe via RSS.  The huge archive will amaze you!

Just One More Book, is a nonprofit effort celebrating "literacy and great children’s books." Booktalks, ranging in length from 5 to 35 minutes, are recorded in a coffee shop somewhere in Canada (?).

Each weekday morning, we take a few minutes out of our morning coffee ritual to discuss one of our many favourite children’s books. We also feature weekly interviews with authors, literacy related discussions and audio reviews submitted by our listeners.

Nancy Pearl’s Book Reviews for Puget Sound Public Radio are archived as MP3s each Monday. 

From thrillers to memoirs, international fiction to overlooked authors and even young adult novels, she plays matchmaker for the bibliophile in all of us.

Orange County Library System (FL) shares an array of podcast booktalks, stories and programming highlights.

New York Times Book Review Editor Sam Tanenhaus shares his conversations with authors, editors, critics and senior editor Dwight Garner at the NYT Book Review Podcast archive.

And among the growing number of student-created booktalks out there are:

Publishers podcast too.  Simon and Schuster offers its SimonSays Podcasts.  Among the adult book podcasts included are a number of great YA reads.  Scholastic shares a wonderful menu of print booktalks as well as podcasts relating to Harry Potter.

Please use your comments to share any worthy booktalking efforts I may have missed!

And, once again, I run low on space.  Next time, book trailers!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Just One More Book! Podcast says:


    Thanks for this useful list and for spreading the word about our Just One More Book! podcast.

    In response to your (?): we record our book chats in a funky little cafe in the heart of Canada’s capital (Ottawa), each morning before we head our separate ways to our real jobs.

    Our interviews with authors, illustrators and literacy experts are done by telephone, of course, although we have managed to get one or two of our guests to meet us in “our” cafe to record these chats.

    Thanks again for the great summary of book talkers,

  2. Booktalks Quick and Simple says:

    Joyce — Thanks for the mention of my podcasts. And to mention them on my birthday!! What a nice gift!!


  3. Rick Toone says:

    There’s another podcast worth looking at called Mobistories. It’s a video podcast of early reader picturebooks.

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