About Ms. Yukari


Congratulations -- you've found the secret page with useless information about your library media specialist!

Name: Yukari Matsuyama -- the students call me Ms. Yukari

Birthday: July 5, 1976 -- I was *almost* a bicentennial baby

Hometown: Manhattan Beach -- I attended Meadows Elementary, Manhattan Beach Intermediate (before MBMS was built), and Mira Costa High School. The library at Meadows was my favorite place at school. I can still picture how the library was set up and where some of the favorite books were shelved. After elementary school my favorite place became the Manhattan Heights branch of the public library, across the street from Polliwog Park (it has since closed, unfortunately).

Family: My husband, Jordan (who I went to Mira Costa with); my son Ian (seventh grader at Crossroads School); my daughter Maya (second grader at our neighborhood public school)

Stuff I do in my free time: Not surprisingly, I try to read as much as possible. But I have to admit I watch a fair amount of television and surf the web obsessively. My other hobbies are eating, sleeping, and crafting. I spend some of my free time in other libraries: I, of course, frequent the public library to find books to read (I'm very lucky: my local branch is a 1-minute walk from my house) and I used to volunteer there doing read alouds for preschool story time. I've volunteered at my son's elementary school library, and now I'm a shelf reader once a month at his middle school library. I also try to visit libraries when I'm on the road; my absolute favorite public library (so far) is the Seattle Public Library main branch.

History at Robinson: I am thrilled to be back at Robinson after three years away (as of December 2008). I first came to Robinson in the fall of 2002 as Ms. Carlin's assistant in first grade; the kids in that class are now juniors in high school (including Ms. Hamilton's oldest son, Jake)! The following year I taught in the computer lab; that's when Ms. Barbara and I became friends. (Ms. Barbara is now the library media specialist at Pennekamp.) In October of 2004 I became a substitute teacher (I even subbed for my first grade teacher at Meadows). I took a few years off to be with my children and I was thrilled when Ms. Barbara asked me if I was interested in the library position at Robinson.
 corn + reading  
Random fact #1: During the summer I like to eat corn while I read. I twist each individual kernel off the cob and pop it into my mouth; it's a technique I learned from my grandmother.

Some Favorite Childhood Books: Anno's Counting Book by Anno MitsumasaThe Boxcar Children #1 by Gertrude Chandler; From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Some Favorite Middle School Books: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley; The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Some Favorite High School Books: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel; Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The London Eye Mystery Cover
Random fact #2:
When I read books that take place in England, I read to myself in a (very bad) British accent. I've done this with (among others):
  • all the Harry Potter books
  • The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
  • Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher
  • the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley
  • Raiders' Ransom by Emily Diamand
  • The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Random fact #3:
I often pride myself on my good memory, but I have an uncanny ability to forget the endings of books I read. Not always a good trait, but at least I can I enjoy reading the same book over and over again. Go ahead -- ask me the ending to any book I've read. Not to brag, but I probably won't remember it!

Random fact #4:
The old adage says "Don't judge a book by its cover," but I often do. I enjoy good, well-illustrated and -designed covers. In another life I might have pursued a career in graphic design and gone into the children's book design business. No wonder I find Chad Beckerman's job fascinating; he's the Creative Director at Abrams Books for Young Readers, Amulet, and Abrams ComicsArts. He oversees the design of books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, NERDS by Michael Buckley, and Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk. Check out his blog to see the progression of the cover design for Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beatty or the printing of The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney. Also, Book By Its Cover is a nice website featuring book cover designs.

Random fact #5:
The picture book that brought me back to children's literature is The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka. It was a birthday gift from a friend when I turned 17. From middle school until I turned 17 I mostly read books geared toward an adult audience. I'd forgotten the joys of children's literature; honestly, it probably made me feel more grown-up to only read adult fiction. But The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales made me laugh and it was so clever I had to rethink my ideas about children's literature. The chapter book that caught me hook, line, and sinker, so to speak, was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which I read in 1999. I remember distinctly purchasing it at Best Buy, of all places (I still have that copy too). Ever since, my interest in children's literature -- be it picture books or chapter books -- has grown. Not surprisingly, the birth of my son also contributed to my growing interest. Now you can't stop me from reading children's literature!
[ That's the actual copy of The Stinky Cheese Man my friend gave me in 1993. It sits on one of my bookshelves at home dedicated to children's literature. (And mind you, those picture books and chapter books are mine, not my children's!) -->]

Contact Ms. Yukari:
(310) 318-5120 ext. 4211