By Todd Nesloney and Travis Crowder

There is nothing quite like the feeling of community that develops among people who love books. Community isn’t just where you live, it’s also the people you surround yourself with. Coming together to talk about favorite titles with friends, family, and even co-workers moves us to find more books that will inspire us, ultimately engaging us in conversations that will live in our hearts forever.

We never forget the characters we mourned, the plots that kept us riveted, and the endings that were endearing, frustrating or hauntingly gorgeous. Simply put, books and conversations around them have a beautiful resonance.

That is why we believe in the power of book talks. And, what makes book talks even more alluring is the simple fact they cost nothing and only take a few minutes.

So what is a book talk? Book talks are the act of sharing a book and making it so enticing the person listening has to pick it up immediately because they were so drawn in. It’s giving just enough information so you have the listener on the edge of their seat without giving away the ending. We like to think of them as mini-advertisements for books. When we give a book talk to others, we start with a brief summary, but also tell about how we connected to it emotionally. This emotional connection to a book engages others, making the book irresistible.

We have never been a believer in the phrase “I’m not a reader.” We are of the firm belief you might just not have found the right book yet…one that stirs your soul and speaks to your heart. Once you find that book that changes you, you’ll feel the need to share it (or book talk it) with everyone you meet.

As a leader, YOU can help show your team (and students) how easy it is to share the power of books through book talking. Whether it’s at the beginning of faculty meetings, recorded videos, classroom discussions, or so much more! Be the leader reader who sets the example.

Check out the #30SecondBookTalk Challenge Brad Gustafson and Jennifer LaGarde do every year at

Here are a few of our favorite books you can start reading if you’re not sure what book to even pick up first:

  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus – Dusti Bowling
  • Far from the Tree – Robin Benway
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Dear Martin – Nic Stone
  • The Serpent King – Jeff Zentner
  • Hello Universe – Erin Entrada Kelly
  • Forget Me Not – Ellie Terry
  • Rebound – Kwame Alexander
  • Stanley Will Probably Be Fine – Sally Pla

Todd Nesloney is the principal of Webb Elementary in Navasota ISD. Todd co-authored Kids Deserve It! and Sparks in The Dark, and is the author of Stories from Webb.

Travis Crowder, a National Board Certified Teacher, teaches middle school students in North Carolina. He co-hosts the popular podcast series “Sparks in the Dark” and is co-author of Sparks in the Dark.


TEPSA News, August 2018, Vol 75, No 4

Copyright © 2018 by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association. No part of articles in TEPSA publications or on the website may be reproduced in any medium without the permission of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association.

The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA has more than 5,900 members who direct the activities of 3 million PK-8 school children. TEPSA is an affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

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