I am so incredibly honored that Jill Davidson and Kim Stewart, literacy coordinators, book evangelists and co-hosts of #shelfietalk are guest blogging for today’s That Thing You Do! I’ve followed Jill and Kim on Twitter and am grateful to continually learn from them. You can follow Kim and Jill on Twitter @ShelfieTalk.
We love to read, we love books, we love to talk about books. We will talk about books to anyone who will listen. One of the best parts of being Literacy Coordinators is that we get to talk about books for a living! We incorporate read-alouds and book displays into all our workshops, we visit classrooms for book talks, and we tweet about books through @ShelfieTalk. We are passionate about sharing the joy of reading.
Anyone who knows us will tell you that a close second to our love of books is our love of food. Last year, as Valentine’s Day approached, we seized the opportunity to mark the event by combining these two loves and invited K-12 educators to a Valentine’s Book Tasting in our “Book Bistro” located in a local school library.
As with any gathering, creating the right atmosphere was key. Our guests arrived and mingled over punch, chocolates, and a Valentine’s photo booth. They received Book Tasting Notes with instructions to create their own menu of favorites from the book buffet.
Each table was set with a red and white tablecloth and an assortment of K-12 books grouped by genre or theme. The items on the menu included Graphic Novels, Fantastic Read-Alouds, Diverse Characters, Non-Fiction, Growth Mindset and, of course, Love. During each course, guests sampled titles and recorded thoughts on their tasting notes. When the dinner bell rang, signifying the beginning of a new course, guests selected a different table and started again.
No menu is complete without dessert. As guests enjoyed Valentine’s treats, they traded stories about favorite books and authors, connecting with each other as both teachers of reading and readers themselves.
We closed the evening by encouraging teachers to offer their own book tastings for the readers within their classrooms and communities. Since our Valentine’s Book Tasting, we have hosted additional book tasting events for school librarians and middle school readers. Also, we were honored to be invited to attend a book tasting in a kindergarten classroom.
Our example is only one way to set up an event like this. A simple Google search will provide you with lots more ideas for planning a book tasting in your classroom, school, or district. Organizing a book tasting is a fun way to gather readers together over a selection of titles to build relationships through conversations about books and reading. Bon Appetit!
-Jill and Kim