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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Nonfiction is not Nerdy

Dr. Kathleen Baxter is on my list of great speakers. Have you had the opportunity to hear her lately? She specializes in nonfiction titles and writes for SLJ monthly.  She is also co-author with Michael Dahl of Gotcha for Guys! Nonfiction Books to Get Boys Excited about Reading  in addition to many other titles.

According to her website:

Research indicates boys are interested in reading nonfiction materials, yet most children’s librarians prefer to booktalk fiction. Offering citations for more than 1,100 books, Gotcha for Guys! deals specifically with books to pique the interest of middle grade boys. A series of booktalks are grouped within chapters with like titles such as: "Creepy-Crawly Creatures," "Disasters and Unsolved Mysteries," "Action and Innovation," and "All Things Gross." Complete booktalks are presented in a beginning section of chapters 1-9. A second section in each of these chapters contains short annotations and talks for other books of interest, and a third section offers lists of well-reviewed titles to consider for boys. The book is enhanced with book cover art and reproducible lists for teachers and librarians.

In addition to being very professional and courteous, Kathleen is gracious and flexible. She understands the dynamics of speakers, scheduling, and trying to compensate when other speakers infringe on her time. She values other speakers and they value her. Everyone wanted to hear her speak, even the next speaker who was being forced to autograph books and insisted on sitting near enough to the door to hear Kathleen.

Her lists of books are SPOT-ON for what I need. I wanted to be able to just hand the bibliography to my district coordinator and say, "We need at least one of each of these." Wouldn’t it make ordering easier? 

Kathleen knows what appeals to boys and girls. She isn’t squeamish about talking about the things that REALLY interest our students. Face it, singing mice fantasy stories are a much harder sell that real information about gross stuff like real people who look like werewolves. Kathleen will complement any conference with her in-depth knowledge of the nonfiction industry.