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Dear April Henry,

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.


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