Updated: Dec 12, 2019

On the 1st Day of #Bookmas, Mrs. Yusko gave to me... a great list of gift books for all ages (PreK- Adults).


Before we get to the list, if you are looking for great holiday-themed read alouds for your classroom (all ages!), your family, or for gift giving, check out last week's Friday Five: Holiday edition here for a list of the books mentioned, or watch below.



If you are interested in gift suggestions for the holidays or any time of year, check out the list below for great suggestions for all ages, PreK- adults! Check out my other Friday Five: Holiday edition videos this December to hear about some of my favorites from this list.


Happy Reading and Happy Holidays!


Check out the other videos: Hawaii Life edition

Kid Lit edition

YA Lit edition



#happyreading #booksmakegreatgifts #kidlit #yalit #adults #giftbooks #classroombookaday #fiction #nonfiction

Wednesday is September 11th.


Before I talk about books, I want to highlight an essay by one of my favorite authors, Meg Cabot. Every year she gets requests to re-post it, and every year she does. And every year I read it. I encourage you to do the same. I promise, it is well worth the read. Find it on her blog.


If you want to share books about 9/11 with students this week, this month, or any time of year, here are my #Top10 books about 9/11.



Top Row:

The Day The World Came to Town (Defede). Written for adults, but interested teens (7th - 12th grades) would appreciate this as well.


The Red Bandanna (Rinaldi). Grades 6-12. This is a young readers edition, but you might enjoy the original as well.


The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (Gerstein). Picture book biography for all ages or #classroombookaday.


Thunder Dog (Hingson). Adults, and grades 6-12.


Middle Row:

Nine, Ten (Baskin). Grades 5-8. Probably my favorite middle school fiction title about 9/11.


Fireboat (Kalman). Picture book “biography” for all ages and #classroombookaday.


Hope and Other Punchlines (Buxbaum). New in 2019, this #yalit title works for grades 7-12.


Bottom Row:

Towers Falling (Parker Rhodes). Another good fiction title for grades 5-8.


America is Under Attack (Brown). Grades 2-5 (and up!) Illustrated nonfiction.


14 Cows for America (Deedy). Picture book based on a true story. Grades 2-5 (and up!) and good for #classroombookaday.


Do you have a favorite on this list? Or one not on this list? What book or story do you always share with your students to honor the day?


#911 #fiction #nonfiction #tuesdaytop10 #kidlit #yalit #picturebook #classroombookaday #neverforget


It's the middle of summer and typically a time when people (myself included) hit a summer reading slump. Maybe you're still in the queue for the books you put on hold at the beginning of summer. Or you're on vacation and ON THE GO without a break to relax and read. Or, God forbid, you are reading but the books are just "meh."


So, I decided to offer up some of my FAVORITES of the summer to get you through that mid-summer reading slump. Many of the following are 5 STAR books for me so fingers crossed you will also find something amazing to get you through the rest of the summer.


25) This Beach is Loud! by Samantha Cotterill is a great book for kids with sensory issues (sensory processing disorder and/or autism), or who are anxious about new experiences. Great for classrooms and families also. I would pair it with There Might Be Lobsters by Carolyn Crimi. Grades PreK-2nd.



26) Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan. I REALLY enjoyed this one about a young woman stuck working the worst summer job at an amusement park. Perfect summer vibe, and a fun rom-com. Grades 8-12


27) Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. This one is written for adults, but I could also see interested high schoolers enjoying it also. Based on a frightening episode in American history.


28) War in the Ring by John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro. Highlighting Joe Louis, Max Schmeling and the lead-up to their fight. This includes quite a bit of history also. Grades 7-10, or even adults interested in this time period. Pair it with Berlin Boxing Club by Rob Sharenow (YA Lit), or A Nation's Hope by Matt de la Pena and Knockout! by George Sullivan (picture books).


29) NOPE! by Drew Sheneman. Pair this with Dude (Reynolds) for another story that is told basically using only one word. Good for inferring story from illustrations, and hilarious for parents to read as well. Grades K-2 for sharing.


30) The Line Tender by Kate Allen. I LOVED THIS BOOK! Could be because I read it during Shark Week, but this will likely be one of my top picks for Grades 4-7 this year. For fans of The Thing About Jellyfish (Benjamin).


31) Hum and Swish by Matt Myers. YES! What a great book for sharing, storytimes, or encouraging creativity. For anyone that loves to build on the beach. Grades K-3.


32) Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. There are just no words for how much I love this book. Will likely be one of my top picks for High School for 2019. SO. MUCH. GOODNESS here. A powerful book that will stay with you and give you plenty to talk about. Good for current event tie-ins also. Grades 8-12. All. The. Stars.


33) O Captain, My Captain by Robert Burleigh. I never thought I'd give 5 stars to a biography of Walt Whitman, but here you go. If you read Whitman in your ELA classes, or study the Civil War in your social studies/American History classes, then you need this. It discusses a period in Whitman's life when he volunteered at military hospitals during the Civil War, and why he was inspired to write his famous poem, O Captain, My Captain. Maybe only interesting to history and literature buffs, but very well written!


34) Ink Knows No Borders, various. This includes poems by several YA Lit authors among others. All poems about life as an immigrant or refugee.

Fresh Off the Boat: Six Words, various. These are part of the Six Word Memoir collection with a focus on immigrants. TERRIFIC!

Obvious tie-ins to current events as well as many current fiction titles. Grades 7-12 for both.


35) Sign Off by Stephen Savage. This wordless book creates a story from road signs. I thought it was unique and I love encouraging students to create the story on the pages. Grades K-5.


36) Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali. Loved the characters, loved the setting, loved the cover. A dual narrator story that will find many fans of romance and realistic fiction. Grades 8-12.


What are you reading this summer? Do you have a favorite so far?


#summerreading #yalit #fiction #kidlit #nonfiction #picturebook #biography #newbooks #curriculumconnections #classroombookaday

Updated: Sep 2, 2019


WOW! Time sure flies when it’s summer and you’re reading good books.


If you missed the first 12 books I recommended, click here.


Books #13-#24 include some FANTASTIC books and several 5 STAR titles!


Without further ado, the next round of #60daysofsummerreading.


13) On July 13th, I officiated a friend’s wedding. (Which was a BLAST... I may have quoted Albus Dumbledore. And I may have decided to make this my new side gig). In honor of this special occasion, I’m highlighting three of my favorite wedding-themed #yalit titles, all appropriate for grades 8-12 (and middle school readers who have already read all the Sarah Dessen books).

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

The Story of Us by Deb Caletti

Save the Date by Morgan Matson


14) There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

I ADORE this new one by Menon! 5 STARS for sure! This is a stand-alone companion to When Dimple Met Rishi. The perfect rom-com plus so much more! Grades 7 and up, fans of Dumplin’ will find much to love here. Each book by Menon I like a little bit more so now I can’t wait for whatever might come next.


15) Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord. This is just the latest in a line of great books by Lord. Animal lovers, readers who feel like they don't quite fit in, and classroom teachers looking for a new read-aloud will especially enjoy this one. Grades 3-6.


16) Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry & Vashti Harrison. One of the best picture books that I've read so far this year. I'm completely in love with Hair Love, and you will be too! Grades K-2 and a good one for #classroombookaday.


17) Undaunted by Anita Silvey. Another 5 star book! I love this one as much as I loved the author's Untamed (about Jane Goodall). And now I'm desperate for one about Dian Fossey to complete the set. So far, this is my favorite non-fiction book of the year.


18) Hope and Other Punch Lines by Julie Buxbaum. I'm always a fan of Buxbaum and this one did not disappoint. A book about loss, healing, and 9/11 for readers that weren't alive to remember. Sprinkle in summer and a "treasure hunt" of sorts and you'll find wide appeal for this one. Grades 7-12.


19) When Sue Found Sue by Toni Buzzeo and Diana Sudyka. For dinosaur lovers and anyone that dreams of science and making discoveries. A good introductory biography for grades 1-4.


20) Moon! Earth‘s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty and Stevie Lewis. I LOVE THESE BOOKS by McAnulty! (Sun! and Earth! complete the set). These are "autobiographies" filled with science vocabulary and kid-friendly facts, written with a humorous voice. Entertaining and inspiring for the next generation of scientists. Grades K-3 (and older).


21) You Are Home by Evan Turk. A 5 star book and gorgeous ode to many of our National Parks. For the youngest readers, this is really a book for anyone that appreciates nature and the beauty of our world. And I'm SO PROUD of myself for "discovering" this book in time to give it as a baby shower gift for my National Park trekking friends.


22) Where the Heart Is by Jo Knowles. A quiet gem that will find readers. A story of family, friendship, and unknown futures. Grades 4-7.




23) Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett. My view on this one might be tainted by love of the PNW and because I listened to it right after spending a month back home in Seattle. This book was great! A nod to Seattle, Bainbridge Island, riding the ferry, classic mystery/detectives, writers, and romance...it has something for everyone. Grades 8-12.


24) We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai. 5 stars! Absolutely. This has so many fiction and nonfiction book-pairing possibilities, as well as classroom/curriculum/current event tie-ins. The audiobook is good, and Malala narrates the introduction. Grades 6-12.


What are you reading this summer?


#yalit #kidlit #newbooks #summerrreading #fiction #nonfiction #teachers #librarians

If you're already missing World Cup action, build your stack this week with great soccer books for kids, tweens, and teens... including some US National Team stars (past and present)! #playlikeagirl

Top Row: Forward (Young Readers Edition) by Abby Wambauch. Grades 7-10

Rising Above: Inspiring Women in Sports by Gregory Zuckerman (featuring a profile on Carli Lloyd). Grades 6-12

Breakaway by Alex Morgan. Grades 7-10

Epic Athletes: Alex Morgan by Dan Wetzel. Grades 4-6

Middle Row: Kabul Girls Soccer Club (also published as However Tall the Mountain) by Awista Ayub. Grades 6-12

Outcasts United (Young Readers Edition) by Warren St. John. Grades 6-12

Women in Sports by Rachel Ignotofsky. Grades 4-8


Bottom Row: The Field by Baptiste Paul. Grades K-3

Winners Never Quit by Mia Hamm. Grades K-3

Beautiful Broken Hearts by Kami Garcia. Grades 8-12

Shutout by Brendan Halpin. Grades 7-10



#kidlit #yalit #top10 #tuesdaytop10 #soccer #sports #fiction #nonfiction



If you follow me on social media, or here on the blog, you know that I'm currently teaching a Contemporary Lit class of high school seniors. And I love every minute of it.


This is a class that started out with 3 avid readers, and the rest of the students were shocked to find out that their schedule included a "literature" class on it. Many failed a semester of Literature at some point in their high school career, and were proud of the fact that they didn't read.


One girl remarked at the start of the semester, "Mrs. Yusko, I haven't read a book since 4th grade." (Please don't even get me started on that one).


But I am happy to report that they are READING! And as we wrap up April, here are the most popular books with this group:


1) ANYTHING by April Henry! I haven't seen any of my classroom library copies of her books in months, and I even purchased a few more for those that were patiently waiting. Ms. Henry has done so much for growing readers in this class.


2) We are currently having a classroom "discussion" about which is the best John Green book: Looking for Alaska is taking on An Abundance of Katherines. It has been a little heated, but most of us agree that if you say TFIOS, then you aren't a true John Green fan :) (FYI: Mrs. Yusko falls strongly in the Abundance of Katherines camp).


3) The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang is making the rounds in class. Girls AND boys are reading this one. And it has led to several great discussions, including "don't judge a book by it's cover." This book is one of my Top 10 picks of 2018 and I ADORE everything about it. I'm so glad my students are enjoying it as much as I did!

4) The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Several students have read this one and have created fantastic response projects. The audio of this one is great (read by the author), and we are currently looking forward to her new book which comes out next week!


Have you read any of these? What are your students reading?

#whatimreading #wednesdayreads #yalit #contemporarylit #highschool #favoriteauthor #fiction


Welcome to the first episode of FRIDAY FIVE!

This will be a quick video segment every week where I highlight...well, anything that fits with the theme of 5. (alliteration for the win). My 5 favorite books of the week; 5 books on a theme; or 5 minutes where I fangirl about one particular book. Perhaps a combination of all of the above.

So, without further ado, here is this week's Friday Five video! As I did this in the 5 minutes I had before leaving for school, I think it's not too shabby for one take. I have already learned some things for next week. (Yes, video-editing friends, I will orient the camera the correct way next time). Also, I love those great teacher/principal videos that you guys film from your car, but it's HOT where I live 365 days/year so that's just not possible. Backyard view it is!

See below for a list of the books I mentioned. Happy Reading and HAPPY FRIDAY of a LOOOOOONG WEEKEND!





The Day War Came by Nicola Davis, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb. Candlewick Press (all ages) Stormy Seas by Mary Beth Leatherdale & Eleanor Shakespeare. Annick Press (grades 6-10)


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Philomel Books (grades 7- adult)


Refugee by Alan Gratz. Scholastic, Inc. (grades 6- adult) Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson. Nancy Paulsen Books (grades 4-8) We Are All That's Left by Carrie Arcos. Philomel Books (grades 8-adult) Illegal by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (grades 5-10)

#fridayfive #shoutouts #kidlit #yalit #nonfiction #newbooks #refugees #immigration #fiction #bookrecommendations

WHAT YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE SAYING:

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.

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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.

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