There are some books that I love so much and I want to share with the teens, yet no matter how many times I display it or booktalk it to classrooms, the book doesn't move. So what's a librarian to do? That's when I handsell the books.
One of my favorite books to suggest to teens is Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. It's a great action-adventure story with a bit of romance. There are airships, strange creatures, pirates and it's a bit steampunk. It has a male and female main character and I think it has appeal to guys and girls of all ages. It's also the first in a series which my teens are always looking for. It has everything you would think they would want it a book, yet it sits on my library shelf because of this cover:
Now, I don't think that's a terrible cover, but for some reason the teens find it boring and never want to pick it up.
So when a teen asks for suggestions about a book to read, I always suggest Airborn. I tell the teen about the book (It's like Treasure Island meets Around the World in 80 Days with a bit of Pirates of the Carribbean and airships!) I gush about how it's all about adventure and there are strange creatures that an old man claims that he saw but now else believes him except his granddaughter who claims to have proof and won't cabinboy Matt help her out? I tell them about how I want to know what they think of it and they should read it and come back and tell me about it-and if they hate it-that's OK too-I just what to know what they think.
After I've talked about the book, the teens are more likely to give it a chance. Most of them take it and give it a try. Some do come back and tell me about it (and guess what? They loved it and want the next book!)
I love booktalking books and when I get a chance to handsell some of my favorites to teens it makes my job even more fun!
There are several other books that I have to handsell to the teens before they pick them up:
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar "Did you read Holes? This one has that same feel and is by the same author-I know bridge sounds boring, but he gives you permission to skip the boring parts!)
Sleepless by Terri Clark "trust me-it's full of mystery and suspense"
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones-"what would happen if you fell for a quiet not popular kind of outcast boy?"
I know I'm not alone in this-what books do you have to handsell to your teens?