I hope that your summer was restful, relaxing, rejuvenating... everything that you needed it to be. And that you read a good book or two, or 12! Mine wasn't necessarily restful since I feel like my life is crazier now than ever, but I did manage to go social media silent for most of August which felt great.

Whether you have been back in school for over a month like my own daughter (fingers crossed for a great SENIOR YEAR), or for two weeks like the school I'm working at, or you start after Labor Day, I wish you a great 2019-2020 school year, filled with BOOKS for you and your students!

I have resources to help you now and throughout the year. Here are some tools to gear up for a great year of READING:

1) I have posted my Back to School Booktalk Videos for 2nd-12th grades here and on TPT. These 25 - 35 minute videos are great to get your students excited about reading this school year! If you are not a paid subscriber to MrsYuskoReads, then you can find them on my TPT site. The bundle of all the videos PLUS a FREE 30 minute PD video of best new Picture Books for all grades is ON SALE NOW!

Already a MrsYuskoReads.com subscriber? You have FREE access to all of them now...click here, choose "subscriber webinars" and login.

Want to become a subscriber? Click here for the details!

2) Missed my Summer Reading suggestions for all grades? Never fear! Reading doesn't just happen in the summer and these lists contain great new books for your students. Feel free to copy and distribute as needed! I have posted my Booklists for all grade levels (PreK-12th...and adult!) on my website, including Top 10 picks for Elementary, Middle School, and High School. Or email me and I can send them to you.

3) Everyone has access to my Best New Picture Books for all Grades (K-12) video! This 30 minute video highlights some of the best new picture books of 2019 that you will want to read aloud, have in your classroom library, use to introduce curriculum, or read for #classroombookaday. This video is designed as PD, to show your staff to help them keep current on the best new picture books to be used in the classroom. Picture books are not just for the youngest students. Most of the books mentioned can be read aloud to all grades, while a few are actually better suited for use in middle/high school classes.

Watch a 10 minute sample of this video below, which highlights the best Back to School Picture Books. The FREE full-length video (about 30 minutes) can be found on my website, or on TPT.

Happy reading!

#backtoschool #bestbooks #newbooks #mrsyuskoreads #booktalks #teachers #librarians #elementary #middleschool #highschool #yalit #kidlit #picturebooks

Updated: Jun 26, 2019

Happy Father's Day!

#buildyourstack this weekend with my favorite dads, granddads, and father figures from books.

Real Life: Devoted by Dick Hoyt. You are and Ironman and an Iron-DAD!

#kidlit: A Different Pond by Bao Phi and Thi Bui Hair Love by Matthew Cherry and Vashti Harrison (this is seriously my new FAVORITE book)

Drawn Together by Minh Le and Dan Santat

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe AND The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Rebound by Kwame Alexander (a look at the teenage years of one of my favorite dads from books)

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti (I NEED a novella about the grandpa in this book)

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D Schmidt

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

#happyreading #top10 #tuesdaytop10 #fathers #fathersday #booklist #mrsyuskofavorite #bestbooks

Updated: May 23, 2019

Monday was the last day with my senior Contemporary Lit class. While I'm still trying to unpack what an amazing experience it was to teach this group (and how much I'm going to miss our 6th period class), I thought I would highlight their TOP BOOK PICKS for the year.

If you haven't been following along with us, this was a very unique class. I will reflect more on our time together in a future post (or twelve), probably on the eve of their graduation ceremony this weekend. Until then, here are some things you need to know about them to understand just how important it is that they are recommending books!

1) At the start of the class, only 3 of them were in it by choice.

2) Many of the students were in the class in order to recover a literature credit before graduation.

3) Most of class did NOT identify as readers initially. In fact, some of them were quite proud of the fact that it had been years since they actually read a book.

Welcome to my 6th period!

But they came in with open minds, and we talked, and we read, and there was access to books, and there was CHOICE.

And they READ! And they RECOMMENDED books to friends in other classes.

And their teacher may have teared up on more than one occasion. And so, we present their picks for the "Best Books" for High School Readers. In no particular order...

1) The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. This book made the rounds in the classroom; boys, girls, EVERYONE. (No joke, I think I have photos of about 40% of the class reading this book at some point). Students judged other students for “judging the book by its cover.” We had impromptu class discussions about it. One young man used this book as his final reflection project: “What character would you want to give a TED Talk?”

2) Scythe by Neal Shusterman. In all the years I’ve taught (20!), I’ve never had a student finish a book out of spite. One young man, who ”likes Sci-Fi and Fantasy” finished a book (which shall not be named) that I recommended to him SOLELY so he could tell me how “cliche” it was. Again, welcome to my 6th period. I recommended 3 other titles which he abandoned after a few chapters. And then my brain actually started to function and I handed him Scythe! WHY DIDN’T I START WITH IT?! He blew through this book and the second one in a week. He called it “my all-time favorite” in his final reflection. On the last day of class I got to show him the cover and sneak peek of book #3!

3) I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. One student did a 14 slide PowerPoint presentation about why this book is “amazing!”

4) The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Between the print and audio version of this book, I’d say that 25% of the class read this one. And encouraged others outside our class to read it as well. This one also sparked some great projects and one student wants Xiomara to give a TED Talk.

5) ALL the books by April Henry! No one got my students reading this semester more than April Henry. Her books made the rounds in and out of our class, and cost me quite a bit of my Scholastic bonus points so I could keep her books on our shelves! Worth. It. Artwork, impromptu class discussions, and more became a part of our class. See previous post here.

6) ALL the books by Jenny Han! Oh the joy when I walked in to class one day and several students were discussing the Netflix adaptation of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” I simply said, “you know it’s a book, right? Actually, it’s a trilogy.” And so, all three books were promptly finished!

7) ALL the books by Sarah Dessen! See #6 for how they found Sarah Dessen. After devouring Jenny Han, I may have dropped hints about the amazingness that is Sarah Dessen. I’d say they’ve made it through 3 of her books and are planning on reading the rest OVER THE SUMMER!

8) Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. (And Ghost). Talk about impromptu discussion and debate. Long Way Down definitely did that! This was one that they also recommended to friends outside the classroom. (I added Ghost by Reynolds to the list as I started the year with 10 copies of it in my classroom library and I currently have NONE).

9) Moxie by Jen Mathieu. This was a much needed book for several students in class at a time when they were suffering through a “World View” class that was anything but worldly in the viewpoints being discussed. #moxiegirlsfightback

10) Does the teacher get a vote? I say yes. So, my dear 6th period, this is the book that each of you will receive from me. With PAGES of my favorite quotes marked (with bookmarks, because I'm not a heathen who dog-ears pages). For Every One by Jason Reynolds.

“Dreams don’t have timelines,


and aren’t always in

straight lines.



This letter is for us all,

to remind us

that we are many.

That we are right

for trying.

That purpose is real.

That making it is possible.”

What are the most popular books at your high school?

Do you have a favorite book on this list?

Happy Reading!

#yalit #highschool #contemporarylit #classroom #booklist #top10 #favorites #bestbooks #studentfavorite #bookaccess #choicereading

It's the madness that is May: you survived testing season only to be rewarded with too many things to do before summer vacation and not enough days left in the school year. I feel your pain! (For those of you that get out of school in June, please just procrastinate reading this post until then).

Are you looking to get your kids excited about READING this summer? Don't have time to read all the books yourself? Looking for a way to promote good books to your students in a limited amount of time? I've got you COVERED!

Every year I create Summer Reading Booktalk videos for some of my teacher friends. This year I thought, why not make these available to anyone that's interested? So, over the weekend I recorded four videos, highlighting good books for various grade levels that your students will want to read this summer! If you already have a subscription to MrsYuskoReads, you can access all of them for FREE immediately. Click here, choose "subscriber webinars," and login with your email. They can be found under "Subscriber Booktalks." ENJOY!

Videos range in length from 16:00-35:00 minutes (depending on grade level) and can be shown in class or uploaded to your Google classroom. They are designed for students "graduating" from the grade levels listed below, but depending on your readers they might find books of interest in the one above or below. You know your audience best. You can choose from:

2nd-4th Grades

5th- 7th Grades

8th - 9th Grades

High School

Not a subscriber? You can join now and get immediate access to all of these videos, plus past webinars on best new books.

OR... I've made the 2nd-4th Grade one available for free to everyone...click here (you'll find it under "Booktalks") or scroll down.

OR...You can purchase individual videos on my TPT site. I've also bundled all four together, but feel free to contact me for a special bundle price if you only want two of them. Stay tuned for "Are You Summer Reading Ready, Part 2" later this week where I'll post my FREE Summer Reading Suggestions Book Lists for all ages, PreK- ADULTS! Can't wait? Click here and see last year's lists. Print, post, share WIDELY!

Happy reading! See you soon with more to help you get Summer Reading READY.

#summerreading #bestbooks #newbooks #mrsyuskoreads #booktalks #teachers #librarians #elementary #middleschool #highschool #yalit #kidlit

Looking for the Best Books to add to your classroom, library, or even your personal #TBR list? The April Webinar is live! Filled with great new books celebrating WORDS, writing, poetry, authors, and more in honor of Poetry Month.

This month's webinar is for all grades, Kindergarten - 12th Grade.

If you are have a "Teacher/Librarian" subscription to the website, you have free access to the full-length video. Click here, choose the "Subscriber Webinar" page, and login.

If you are not yet a subscriber, you can view the sample webinar...see below! (If you like what you see, consider subscribing to get access to full-length, new webinars every month!)

Happy Reading!

#webinar #newbooks #yalit #kidlit #nonfiction #samplewebinar #bestbooks #mrsyuskoreads #booklists

I’m gearing up for my last round of #yalit seminars this school year. The end of April may possibly find me coming to a city near you.

As as I reflect on the year, I love looking at the feedback I receive from attendees. It is always an honor to spend the day with amazing educators, and I appreciate all the positive notes at the end of the day.

I thought I would pause on Fridays to highlight some of my Favorite (often humorous) Feedback...including this recent one:

I always say that we should just hold these seminars in a Barnes & Noble (or insert local bookstore of your choice). They would make a KILLING that day!

#takemymoney #booknerdproblems

#magicallibrariantour #yalit #feedbackfriday #seminar #bestbooks #teachers #librarians #booknerd

People always ask if they can buy extra copies of my #yalit seminar handbook. So, I’ve finally joined the TPT ranks and uploaded the handbooks from 2016, 2017, and 2018!

And since it is President’s Day weekend, and EVERYONE has a sale, I am too! Or at least as much of a sale as TPT will let me offer.

Until 2/28/19, you can get a PDF of one, two, or all three handbooks for 20% off! And honestly, if you buy 2017 & 2018, email me and I send you 2016 for free! (I couldn’t get TPT to let me do that kind of sale).

These handbooks are extensive... approximately 200 pages (which is why I don’t reprint them; trying to save trees and $$$). Each includes my suggestions for the best fiction and nonfiction books for grades 6-12 of that calendar year, plus some classroom/library connections.

If you've been to a seminar, THANK YOU for attending! If you couldn’t make it this year, or can only come every other year, this is an inexpensive way to get the handbook. Or if you have colleagues that want the bibliographies, pass along the sale info. Now is the time to get a copy!

Moving forward, I’ll upload a new handbook every January for the previous calendar year’s #yalit titles. Contact me If you're interested in my much abbreviated list for K-6...I can email a copy of that.

Happy reading!

#seminar #bestnewbook #bestbooks #seminarhandbook #teacherspayteachers #tpt #sale

I have long been a fan of your books.

When I worked in a junior high/middle school library, I purchased multiple copies of all of your books. I’d say that they took up at least two shelves, except the books were never on those shelves. (Well, maybe during summer break). All I had to do was booktalk one of the titles the first month of school, and presto! Word of mouth kept them checked out all year long.

When I present #bestbooks seminars around the country, I encourage teachers and librarians from 6th-12th grades to make sure to always have your books on hand for all types of readers.

I have had multiple students over the years tell me that reading one of your books turned them into readers.

Well, you’re at it again...turning students into readers!

This semester I’m teaching a high school (seniors) Contemporary Literature class. It started out 1/3 book nerd, and 2/3 ”why do I have to take an elective that says LITERATURE?!?!” While they can choose what they want to read, I’m asking them to read 6 books this semester. We discussed my desires as a teacher versus their desires as students during spring semester and decided this was a doable number of books for everyone in class.

Our first book project was due on Monday. One of the students (the only ESL student in class) read The Girl I Used to Be (and did this “movie poster” as her project). On Tuesday, when I asked students how they felt about their first book, she spoke about how much she LOVES your books (and she rarely speaks up in class). Since it was then time to pick their next book, three other students raised their hand and said, “can we read an April Henry book?” Luckily I happened to have just that many in my classroom library. (Moves across an ocean have vastly depleted my supply...thank goodness for Scholastic book orders!).

Today, one of those three students came into class and said, “Mrs. Yusko, I’ve already finished this book! I couldn’t stop reading! I’ve never done that before. These books make me want to read the next chapter, and the next chapter, and the next chapter. Is there a sequel?” (Luckily she was reading Girl, Stolen and there is! We have to order it ASAP).

So, THANK YOU, April Henry for making this literature teacher's Thursday a good one! And giving us your stories that spark a love of books (and reading) for so many students.

With gratitude,

Shauna Yusko

PS: Friday update: your latest book arrived last night and I just made someone’s day by bringing it to class so she could be the first to read it! The girl who did the movie poster and sparked the class interest in your books was SOOOOOO happy she will get to read this book over the weekend.

#yalit #author #letter #highschool #newbooks #favorites #studentchoice #whyiteach #bestbooks

In addition to teaching middle school, I travel all over the country presenting seminars to teachers, librarians, and administrators on the BEST NEW BOOKS for K-12 students, classrooms, and libraries. I LOVE talking with people who love talking about books...and adding to everyone's TBR pile. It is definitely a great way to spend my days when I'm away from the classroom. Sometimes I present for the Bureau of Education & Research (BER), sometimes I present directly for schools/districts/state associations that bring me in for the day. Last year, I presented over 80 day-long seminars on "Best New Books"...whew, that's a lot of travel (and also meant that I had to take a year off from the classroom/library). In order to get back into the classroom, I have cut my BER travel schedule in half, which sadly means that there are many cities that I won't be visiting this school year.

Cannot attend a seminar in person? Not one in your area? Here's what you can do: 1) I am still scheduling school/district/state library full-day or half-day seminars this school year upon request. Check out the options here and CONTACT ME!

2) Become a SUBSCRIBER! In order to accommodate all the people who cannot attend in person, I've started recording monthly webinars of BEST NEW BOOKS. I will post these 50-60 minute webinars every month this school year (through June), plus a back-to-school edition in August. I'm currently running a SALE on the Teacher-Librarian rate (now through 11/16/18). It is a budget-friendly PD option compared with attending the full-day BER seminar, and you can watch/listen from the comfort of your living room, at your leisure. There are two different levels...something for every budget.

To entice you to subscribe, I've made this week's Friday Five video a sample of the September/October webinar. It's the first 5:00ish minutes of the Best New Books for Grades K-12. (Because it covers two months, this first one is about 75 minutes long). If you like what you see in the sample, subscribe ASAP and you will get immediate access to the full-length webinar...and all webinars for the next 12 months. You also get access to book talk videos that I do periodically that can be shown to your students (or watched with your colleagues). HAPPY READING!

#yalit #kidlit #bestbooks #webinars #seminars #subscriber #newbooks #fridayfive


Guadelupe, Teacher, CA

The knowledge and passion for books for EVERY reader  has hooked me! She is in the classroom and just gets readers.

Dee, Teacher-Librarian, CA

Wowza! One of the best, packed workshops, filled with RELEVANT content, delivered in a well organized, engagingly paced seminar. HIGHLY RECOMMEND to librarians and lovers of literature.

Lindsey, English Teacher, TX

Excellent content, EXCEPTIONAL presenter! The entire presentation was engaging and meaningful. I am excited to have the opportunity to take all of these amazing titles and introduce my students to them.

Laurie, Librarian, IL

GREAT SEMINAR! Shauna was fantastic. My booklist is overflowing and I can't wait to share these books with students, and educate my teachers.

Julia, School Librarian, PA

I can't wait to get these books into the hands of my students!

Chad, LA Teacher, IL

Shauna reinforces the idea that there are two types of students: those who like to read and those who haven't found the right book yet. She offers a plethora of resources and titles for both!

Guadelupe, Teacher, CA

The knowledge and passion for books for EVERY reader  has hooked me! She is in the classroom and just gets readers.

Dee, Teacher-Librarian, CA

Wowza! One of the best, packed workshops, filled with RELEVANT content, delivered in a well organized, engagingly paced seminar. HIGHLY RECOMMEND to librarians and lovers of literature.

Lindsey, English Teacher, TX

Excellent content, EXCEPTIONAL presenter! The entire presentation was engaging and meaningful. I am excited to have the opportunity to take all of these amazing titles and introduce my students to them.

Guadelupe, Teacher, CA

The knowledge and passion for books for EVERY reader  has hooked me! She is in the classroom and just gets readers.

Dee, Teacher-Librarian, CA

Wowza! One of the best, packed workshops, filled with RELEVANT content, delivered in a well organized, engagingly paced seminar. HIGHLY RECOMMEND to librarians and lovers of literature.

Lindsey, English Teacher, TX

Excellent content, EXCEPTIONAL presenter! The entire presentation was engaging and meaningful. I am excited to have the opportunity to take all of these amazing titles and introduce my students to them.

Become a Subscriber!

Learn about the best new books from the comfort of your living room. Become a subscriber and get access to monthly webinars (watch yourself or show in your classroom), book reviews, curriculum connections, a newsletter, and more! 

Bring Shauna to Your Teachers!

No BER seminar in your area? Don't worry! Contact me if your building or district is interested in customized,
on-site seminars. Full-day and half-day seminars available.

Contact Me

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