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The Reading Culture

The One and Only John: Mr. Schu Turns His Heart Inside Out

The Reading Culture
The Reading Culture
"Books can be the perfect prescriptions to let us know that we're going to be okay.” - John Schu

John Schu’s entire life has been shaped by books. As a kid, he fell in love with Shel Silverstein; Emily Dickinson comforted him as he was battling an eating disorder, and “The One and Only Ivan,” well, that book changed his life. In fact, it nearly put him into debt (he tells that story in the episode!)

The powerful impact books have had on his life inspired him to dedicate his life to sharing this power with everyone he can. His career as an educator led him to the library, the library led him across America, and now he has started a new career as a writer of stories himself.

John made his debut with "This is a School," followed by "This is a Story" and "The Gift of Story." However, in his latest work, "Louder Than Hunger," he bravely delves into a new realm of vulnerability. This semi-autobiographical tale draws from the most challenging period in his life, navigating the depths of his battle with anorexia.

In this episode, Mr. Schu, as in Mr.SchuReads, tells us about the transformative reads that shaped his life and explains how some of those stories helped him and some actually harmed him. We’ll hear how he became an author, and about the emotional toll it took to write “Louder Than Hunger.”


Connect with Jordan and The Reading Culture @thereadingculturepod and subscribe to our newsletter at thereadingculturepod.com/newsletter.


In John’s reading challenge, Story Within a Story, he wants us to read the actual books found in the pages of his book, “This is a Story.”

You can find his list and all past reading challenges at thereadingculturepod.com.

Today's Beanstack Featured Librarian is Amanda Maslanka, a 26-year veteran in education and an elementary school librarian in South Houston. She offered valuable advice for parents and caregivers to get kids excited about reading.


Chapter 1 - Mr.SchuReads’ Grandma (2:13)

Chapter 2 - An Internal Struggle (5:37)

Chapter 3 - Recovery and Emily Dickinson (9:29)

Chapter 4 - Best Teacher Ever (11:00)

Chapter 5 - Becoming a Writer (15:24)

Chapter 6 - The One and Only Ivan (16:04)

Chapter 7 - Power to Heal, Power to Harm (23:30)

Chapter 8 - Ready to Share (28:27)

Chapter 9 - Story Within a Story (34:17)

Chapter 10 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (35:57)


Host: Jordan Lloyd Bookey

Producer: Jackie Lamport and Lower Street Media

Script Editors: Josia Lamberto-Egan, Jackie Lamport, Jordan Lloyd Bookey

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