Mrs. Yusko Reads

Reading: Mischief and the Magical Librarian

Friday Five: Recent 5 STAR Reads

Friday Five 9-27-19: 5 Star Books I’ve Read This Week

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

Even though it's a request I hear year-round, October is the heart of "I want a SCARY story" season. Since it wasn't the 200th anniversary of the publication of a science fiction classic (Frankenstein, 1818-2018), 2019 wasn't a big year for "scary" stories. Spoiler alert: everything is about the moon this year.

But here are some newer titles that might fit the bill: either they have ghosts/spirits, storms, general fall fun, or will simply please anyone looking for something to read on a dark and stormy night.

(Please note, several titles work for a variety of ages, not just the ones listed. They might be appropriate for your readers at a higher or lower grade level).

Kindergarten - 3rd grades:
Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories (Brallier)
Scarecrow (Ferry)
Ghost Cat (Atteberry)
Bruce's Big Storm (Higgins)
Look Out! A Storm! (Milgrim)
Happy Fell (Perl)
Zombies Don't Eat Veggies! (Lacera)
Circle (Barnett)

4th - 7th grades:
Ghost: Thirteen haunting tales to tell (Hemingway)
Guest (Hahn)
Scary Stories for Young Foxes (Heidicker)
Monstrous: the lore, gore, and science... (Beccia)
Lailani of the Distant Sea (Kelly)
Tornado Scientist (Carson)
Hurricane Season (Melleby)
Maximillian Fly (Sage)
This Was Our Pact (Andrews)
The Okay Witch (Steinkellner)
A Small Zombie Problem (Campbell)
Sweep: the story of a girl and her monster (Auxier)

8th-12th grades:
The Past and Other Things that Should Stay Buried (Hutchinson)
Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee (Zentner)
Verify (Charbonneau)
All the Bad Apples (Fowley-Doyle)
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind them All (Ruby)
House of Salt and Sorrows (Craig)
Lady Rogue (Bennett)
Slayer (White)
Last Bus to Everland (Cameron)
Pumpkinheads (Rowell)
Lonely Dead (Henry)
Other Words for Smoke (Griffin)
Killing November (Mather)
Now Entering Addamsville (Zappia)
Pet (Emezi)

THE SCARECROW by Beth Ferry; illustrated by The Fan Brothers | Book Trailer

First Chapter Friday: Beverly, Right Here

It's no surprise that the latest by Kate DiCamillo is a master class for writing. In fact, of the "trilogy" of books about friends Raymie, Louisiana, and Beverly this one might actually be my favorite. And I think that this one also reads slightly higher than the previous two.

If you do First Chapter Friday like I do, this one is PERFECT for hooking readers in 6th-8th grades and is also one of my Top 10 books for middle school for 2019. (I don't think it is all that important for readers to have read Raymie Nightingale or Louisiana's Way Home first, but it does add to the backstory if they have).

If you'd like to use it as a read aloud, or classroom novel, there are many connections that you could make to the following songs, poems, and paintings mentioned in the book:

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod by Eugene Field

The Song of the Lark, painting by Jules Adolphe Breton

High Flight by John Gillespie Magee

Also, if you're on social media, follow the author. Her posts will give you all the feels!


Jason Reynolds introduces STAMPED: RACISM, ANTIRACISM, AND YOU

Curriculum Corner: Frankenstein

RECYCLING THIS COLUMN FROM 2018 because the books mentioned are perfect for "a dark and stormy night."

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein. Since many high school classes around the country read this novel as part of their Language Arts curriculum, I thought that I would highlight two OUTSTANDING new books that you can pair with your teaching of the original.

The first is Mary's Monster by Lita Judge. This gorgeously gothic illustrated FREE VERSE biography of Mary Shelley is a MUST for every library serving students that read Frankenstein. Judge does not shy away from the pain or tragedy that defined Shelley's life, and therefore her novel. There is also discussion to be had on women's rights (or lack thereof) at the time vs. present day.

The second book is The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White. In this, White re-imagines the classic with Elizabeth Lavenza as narrator. This is a clever retelling that keeps the gothic traditions of the original, while developing a character we know very little about. White has done an impressive job matching tone and language with this fresh take. Readers of the original will find much to like here, while those new to the Frankenstein story will not have the original spoiled by their reading of this.

For teachers in the classroom, Dark Descent would be a terrific compare and contrast novel to challenge your higher level students or early finishers (or the students who come to class on day one and say "but I've already read Frankenstein"). There are many possibilities for discussion and writing, and a teacher's guide that you can get.

1. Each chapter of the book begins with an epigraph, which alludes to Milton's Paradise Lost. Pick one and discuss how it relates to Elizabeth's story.

2. How does Elizabeth's perspective shift throughout the story?

3. What is gained/lost by shifting the storytelling to Elizabeth's perspective?

4. Discuss the author's note at the end.

5. Discuss the introduction by Percy Shelley at the beginning of Frankenstein.

5. Where are the girls/women in classic literature?

6. Discuss other stories that could be re-told from a different character's perspective? How does that change the story?
7. Would "The Modern Prometheus" work as a subtitle for this book? Why or why not?

Nonfiction Friday

*This was already the #NonfictionFriday book before the Dallas tornado. Praying for anyone affected by this disaster.*

The Scientists in the Field series is one of my favorites for grades 5-10. There are probably close to 50 books in the series now, with more being published every year. Check out the series website for teaching guides for every book, updated information, and more. Often mistaken for picture books, these are best suited for middle school and high school. Books contain great photographs, excellent research, the life of a scientist, and 6th-10th grade vocabulary levels.

One of the newest in the series, The Tornado Scientist, is perfect for "a dark and stormy night." Learn all about the scientists considered "storm chasers" and how they are studying tornadoes in order to better predict when/where these storms will hit.

Ever wanted an excuse to show parts of The Wizard of Oz or Twister in class? Compare and contrast the science in this book to see how accurate the movies are in their portrayal of tornadoes.

Getting Halloween Ready: Pumpkins, Costumes, & Quizzes, oh my!

JJK's Pumpkin Tutorial

Once More for the Back of the Room: GRAPHIC NOVELS COUNT AS READING

#classroombookaday: Nya's Long Walk

If you follow me on social media, you know that I'm a big fan of using picture books with my middle and high school literature classes. I typically open every middle school class by reading one aloud, and I use them at the end of the day with my high school class.

If you are reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, you are going to want her new picture book (illustrated by Brian Pinkney!). It would be a fantastic introduction to the setting in the novel.

Do you talk about social and health issues around the world with older students?

Does your science or health class talk about the importance of access to clean water?

Do you want to foster discussion about the lives of young people around the world with your classroom (of any age)?

Researching how one person can make a difference?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should definitely put this book in your #classroombookaday lineup.

In Memory: Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Cummings' school struggle

Sale on Teacher-Librarian Subscriptions! (now through 11/30/19)

I'm running a "FALL SPECIAL" on Teacher-Librarian subscription rates on MrsYuskoReads! FYI: I can take Purchase Orders (contact me), PayPal, Venmo, or pay through the website...whatever works best for you.

  • Pre-order either of my 2019 "What's New" seminar handbooks (Kidlit or YALit) for only $49! Books will be available on 12/1/19 and prices will go up then.

  • I've also added several Skype PD options and put those on SALE. GREAT options for your staff or your class. (And each option comes with one Teacher-Librarian subscription for YOU).

  • The Teacher-Librarian subscription currently includes a PDF copy of the 2019 "What's New" seminar handbook of your choice PLUST, unlimited access to online booktalks and webinars about the best new books for your library/classroom, and these monthly newsletters. All for $99!

The most affordable way to get all the books from my all-day seminar, but from the comfort of your living room. A great value compared with attending my BER seminar...for those with a limited PD budget, or no seminar in your area this year.

Join now! Happy Reading!!

It's the Season of Classroom GERMS: enjoy this funny Would You Rather...

Teachers Playing WOULD YOU RATHER - The Gross Edition

Book to Movie NEWS!

Looking for Alaska: Trailer (Official) • A Hulu Original
Let It Snow | Official Trailer | Netflix
LITTLE WOMEN - Official Trailer (HD)