Mrs. Yusko Reads

Reading: Mischief and the Magical Librarian

School's (Almost) Out for SUMMER!

The school year is winding down. You survived all the candy from Teacher Appreciation Week and have almost made it to SUMMER vacation! Now is the time to get our students thinking about SUMMER READING!

I have posted my Summer Reading Booktalk Videos for 2nd-12th grades to my website. (If you're a subscriber, you have access to all of them here, choose "subscriber webinars" and login. Or, you can also find them on my TPT site). I'll be posting my Booklists for all grade levels (PreK-12th...and adult!) on my website shortly. (You can find my 2018 suggestions there now. Check back soon for 2019). But until then, I thought that I would give you a few books that will get you and your students in the mood for SUMMER!

As if we really needed the help getting into a summer mindset at this point in the year. (See the video by Eddie B. at the end of this newsletter for how teachers really feel in May).

Kindergarten - 3rd grades:

Dude! (Reynolds)
Surf's Up (Alexander)
How to Code a Sandcastle (Funk)
Camp Tiger (Choi)
The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal (Seluk)
Bat and the End of Everything (Arnold)

Game Changers (Cline-Ransome)
The Field (Paul)
Summer Supper (Pfeffer)
The Patchwork Bike (Beneba Clarke)
Misunderstood Shark (Dyckman. And the sequel)
The Brilliant Deep (Messner)
Pie is for Sharing (Parlsey Ledyard)

4th - 7th grades:
The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James (Herring Blake)
August Isle (Standish)
Summer of a Thousand Pies (Dilloway)
Shark Quest (Romano Young)
The Season of Styx Malone (Magoon)
Out of Left Field (Klages)
Lety Out Loud (Cerventes)
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise (Gemeinhart)

Be Prepared (Brosgol)
All Summer Long (Larson)
The Last Last-Day-Of-Summer (Giles)

8th-12th grades:
The Way You Make Me Feel (Goo)
The Summer of Jordi Perez (Spalding)
Forward Me Back to You (Perkins)
The Rest of the Story (Dessen)
Stay Sweet (Vivian)
Field Notes on Love (Smith)
Hope and Other Punchlines (Buxbaum)
What if It's Us (Albertalli/Silvera)
Summer Bird Blue (Bowman)
American Road Trip (Flores-Scott)

Adults (and high school):
The High Season (Blundell)
Island of Sea Women (See)
The Three-Year Swim Club (Checkoway)

Curriculum Corner: Commencement Speeches

Each week in my high school Contemporary Lit class this semester we have "TED Talk Tuesday." It is a chance for my seniors to hear ideas outside of our classroom and it is a pretty informal day for us. If you are interested in seeing what that looks like, or wondering what our 5 Favorite TED Talks this semester have been, read my blog post here.

Since it is the season of graduations, we have mixed it up a bit and started using commencement speeches. A couple of our favorites for sparking discussion are John Green's address @ Kenyon University and Chimamanda Adichie's address @ Wellesley.

I am saving Jason Reynolds' address at Lesley University (see video below) for the last day of class. Plus, we also listened to the audio of his spoken word poem/book "For Every One" earlier in the semester. (Each senior will receive a copy of the book...thank you Scholastic bonus points!)

Together or separately, these speeches by Reynolds are good examples of rhetoric and can be used in the classroom in several ways, not just as "lessons to learn as you graduate from high school."
Big picture

#classroombookaday: The Patchwork Bike

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.

This has been one of my favorite picture books of the last year and is an ode to invention, creativity, resourcefulness, and PLAY! Just perfect as students head out for a summer that will hopefully include all of those things.

Though not the goal of #classroombookaday, this book could also be used in elementary classes to talk about resourcefulness and "upcycling." Tie in art and public speaking and have your students create their own "patchwork" play thing, concluding with a showcase of their creations.

Fiction & NonFiction Pairing: The White Rose Resistance Movement

White Rose, a new novel in verse by Kip Wilson, and We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman are about the White Rose Student Resistance Movement in Nazi Germany during World War II.

If you wanted to pair these books in the classroom, in lit circles, or in a book club for grades 7-11, here are some jumping off questions to start student discussion or written response.

1. Which book allowed you to empathize more?

2. Does the structure (verse vs non-fiction) of one appeal more to you? Why?

3. How does the choice to tell the story in a non-linear, before/after style affect your understanding versus a chronological telling?

4. What do you learn from the nonfiction that isn't in the fiction? Why do you suppose the author chose not to include that?

After reading:

5. For further study, research other student movements throughout history (around the world, in the US).

Teacher-Librarian Appreciation SALE!

It's the end of the school year and I'm celebrating all the fabulous Teachers, Teacher-Librarians, and School Staff out there with a SALE!

The 2018 Handbook of Best New YA Lit titles from my seminars is ON SALE for $29. You can find it on TPT or on my website. (On TPT, I've bundled this handbook, plus the seminar presentation slides, plus my Best New Kid Lit titles bibliography for a special price of $32.30).

Looking to keep up-to-date on the BEST NEW BOOKS for your students, classroom, library?

Limited time or budget to attend PD workshops/seminars?

NEVER FEAR! Subscribe to MrsYuskoReads! There are levels to fit every budget, including the Teacher-Librarian rate... only $99 for 12 months of unlimited access to online booktalks and webinars about the best new books for your library/classroom, plus these monthly newsletters.

For those that WANT IT ALL, I've put the Platinum Membership on sale for $125 right now! You get all the Teacher-Librarian benefits, PLUS the handbook, PLUS one 20-minute Skype booktalk session with your class or staff).

These are the most affordable way to get the books from my all-day seminar, but in smaller monthly segments, from the comfort of your living room. A great value compared with attending a BER seminar... and since I won't be presenting seminars for BER in 2019 (I'm focusing on on-site seminars and my daughter's senior year of high school!), this is an affordable way to still get the seminar. Also great for those with a limited PD budget!

Join now! Happy Reading!!

Where in the World is Mrs. Yusko this fall? Coming to a conference near you!

Come find me this fall at one (or both) of these conferences!

I am SO excited to be asked to speak at the AISLE/IATE 2019 Annual Conference. If you are an educator in Illinois, make your plans to attend! I'll be giving 2 pre-conferences on #yalit (Best New Books for Middle School, and Best New Books for High School), as well a session on Best New Picture Books.

I will also be presenting a concurrent session on #yalit & technology with Karen Scott at the AASL National Convention. Come say hi!

I LOVE traveling around the country and spending the day with fellow educators talking about all the books with school districts, ESDs, and state library associations. These are some of my favorite seminars to do as I can often include kidlit, yalit, or both throughout the day.

Don't live in Illinois? Can't attend AASL? Does your state association have a conference? Does your district offer on-site PD? I'm available! Full-day or half-day seminars...kidlit, yalit, award winners...I can work with you to customize the best PD for your teachers/librarians, at a time of year that you'd like. (And it's often more cost-effective for your district/library association to bring me in directly).

Do you think your district might be interested? Find out more here, or contact me @