Watch this video booktalk.

“Limpidly beautiful watercolors and a wry, puckish gentleness mark these three Zen stories….Every word and image comes to make as perfect a picture book as can be.” – Kirkus, starred review

“A thought-provoking meditation.” – Booklist, starred review

“Taken simply as a picture book, Zen Shorts is interesting and visually lovely. As an introduction to Zen, it is a real treat….begging to be shared and discussed.” – School Library Journal

This booktalk is aimed at elementary age listeners:

Stillwater’s stories have different things to say to different people. What do they say to you?

Addy and Michael and Karl met Stillwater when the wind blew the giant panda’s umbrella into their backyard. Later, when they went to visit him, he told them the most amazing stories, stories that showed them new things about themselves and their lives. Stillwater told Michael a story about good luck and bad luck. He told Karl a story about not keeping things you don’t need any longer, and he told Addy a story about being happy about who you are and what you have. And all his stories showed the three children ways to see themselves and their world that they’d never considered before. So come and listen to Stillwater’s stories, and see what they say to you.

This booktalk is aimed at middle or high school age listeners:

Quiet stories that can slip into your mind, ask their questions, and perhaps change your life.

Some stories are loud, shouting in your face. Some stories are long, stretching on page after page, hour after hour. Some stories slide through your mind quickly, like a gust of wind or a ripple of water, leaving nothing of themselves behind.

But these stories are not those stories. These stories are quiet, and short, and linger in your mind as you think about what they mean, looking for the answers to the questions they ask.

What is good luck? What is bad luck? Who is richer, the person who has everything or the person who wants nothing but what he has? Is it better to look to your past or to your future for wisdom or inspiration?

Let these quiet stories slip into your mind, ask their questions, and perhaps change your life.

This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart