Mrs. Yusko Reads

Reading: Mischief and the Magical Librarian

Friday Five: My 5 favorites from the 2018 National Book Awards Longlist

Friday Five 9-14-18

Curriculum Corner: Frankenstein

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 month marks the 80th anniversary of the (in)famous War of the Worlds broadcast, led by Orson Welles.


If you teach H.G. Wells classic sci-fi novel "The War of the Worlds," or journalism, or even theater, then Spooked! by Gail Jarrow is a terrific new book to consider for your classroom. Jarrow explores, in detail, the events of that night, the people involved, and the aftermath of the broadcast. Included throughout are actual letters (primary sources!) received by the FCC after the show aired.


Perfect for any classroom or library serving students in 6th-12th grades, this would also be a great book to discuss fake news and broadcast media.

Read & Listen: NPR Interview with author Jarrett J. Krosoczka

#FeednRead gets FRONT PAGE article in our local paper!

#10wordbookblurb: Property of the Rebel Librarian

There are many ways that we talk about banning materials (books, music, etc) with students, often in grades 8-12. Maybe you highlight "Banned Books Week" in September, or discuss book banning in social studies and how it relates to Constitutional issues or Supreme Court cases, or have students read banned/challenged books as part of a class assignment to tie-in with your reading of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

If you are looking for a great title to introduce this topic to younger readers (4th-7th grades), Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes would make a good read aloud, lit circle, or book club book. I really enjoyed June and her underground Little Free Library of banned books, and I think fellow librarians and book lovers will also. Pair it with Alan Gratz' "Ban this Book."

BE A REBEL!


10 Word Book Blurb:
Shhhhhhh! June started a banned books library...in a locker.

Buy BOOKS not Accelerated Reader! A principal I'd LOVE to work for!

Sale on Teacher-Librarian Subscriptions EXTENDED (now through 11/15/18)

I've extended the sale on Teacher-Librarian subscription rates on MrsYuskoReads!

Join now for unlimited access to online booktalks and webinars about the best new books for your library/classroom, plus these monthly newsletters. Only $75 for 12 month access...sale until 11/15/18 (then $108/year).

The most affordable way to get all 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 my BER seminar...for those with a limited PD budget, or no seminar in your area this year.

Join now! Happy Reading!!