So I owe this Saturday Shout-Out to a cute group of sixth grade girls at my school. These girls discovered our April Henry books earlier this school year. Because they have been talking about them with other sixth grade girls, I haven't had an April Henry book on the shelf for more than a few days since maybe the third week of school. As of this minute, six of our nine April Henry books (some have two copies) are checked out. A couple of weeks ago, we had zero on the shelves and holds placed. Never underestimate the power of excited sixth grade readergirls!
Ms. Henry's books are the perfect marriage between simple, engaging cover art and easy-to-talk-about plot lines. At around 200-225 pages each, the books are not too long or short, and students can identify with normal teen characters facing extraordinary situations.
"I kill people, but only on paper."
--April Henry, from her website
I especially love how easy they are to booktalk! Librarians looking to try booktalking titles they haven't read would be good to start by reading blurbs on the backs of these books. Nice, simple hooks that get students' attention. Maybe read a page or two from the first chapter--all of the stories start off with a bang.
I also recently discovered that Ms. Henry is very accessible on Twitter. I mentioned my sixth grade April Henry posse in a tweet, and Ms. Henry replied that my girls should send her an email.
April Henry's website
Mystery Genre Study on ReadWriteThink.org
The story Behind Girl, Stolen (show this to students!):
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