Monthly Archives: January 2012

Ya Really Just Never Know

I’m a voracious reader. That makes me a nerd. I’m also a finicky reader. That makes me like zillions of other guys who sometimes look at a book and go, “Um, is there anything on TV?” Oh sure, once upon a time I was force-fed books in school which I “fake read” (if I even […]

Mr. Browne’s Precepts

In my novel Wonder, a teacher named Mr. Browne begins his first day of teaching English to his 5th grade class with a lesson on precepts. “Does anyone know what a precept is?” he asks the class, and after some discussion, he informs the kids that precepts are “rules about really important things.”  In a nutshell, […]

Top Ten Invented Words by My Students That Could Be Used to Describe the Nerdy Book Community (as interpreted by me)

Each year, as we study the origins of the English Language, my students invent their own words and we use a wiki to add to an ever-growing CrazyCollaborativeDictionaryProject. It is an online dictionary — with some podcasts by student word inventors – that grows by about 80 words every year, and allows for collaboration across […]

Top Ten Books I Would Grab If My Classroom Was On Fire

Now I’m sure you are all thinking the same thing so let me answer your question. Yes, if my classroom was on fire the first thing I would do is make sure the kids were out the door safely. But then I would most likely go flying back into the classroom to grab these 10 […]

How I Help My Kids Have Reading Lives (and Join the Nerdy Book Club)

I love my job!!  On a daily basis, I have the opportunity to model for my students how I am personally part of a much bigger reading community than just the four walls of our classroom.  I frequently talk to them about my reading life, their reading lives, and how I want them to live […]

“We’re Still Listening, Nathaniel”

Retro Review: “We’re Still Listening, Nathaniel” 2012: Eloise Greenfield’s THE GREAT MIGRATION: JOURNEY TO THE NORTH is recognized as a Coretta Scott King honor title. The illustrator of this book is Jan Spivey Gilchrist. The author is honored with this particular award, but the illustrations are so much a part of what makes this book […]

Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger

In a sentence or so: Smugwick Manor is a kooky place with quirky people and mysterious happenings. Events get an extra helping of crazy when M’Lady Luggertuck decides to not have her corset laced quite so tight, and The Loosening begins.Horton Halfpott is a kitchen boy at Smugwick Manor. His job, sad as it is, is to […]

ALA Awards

For the Nerdy Book Club, there is a sense of anticipation that comes along with a January Monday where the book lovers and librarians and teachers and students offer their predictions about the best books from the year before. Mock awards are presented in classrooms and at libraries, but we all watch and wait for […]

Blueprint in a Book

As a child, I don’t recall ever seeing either of my parents read a book. Neither of them shared a favorite title or took me to the bookstore. The only books in our home were the ones I supplied myself, my temporary treasures from libraries carted home with pleasure in hands that could barely carry […]

The Alexander Award

We’re all excited about the upcoming Newbery, Caldecott and Printz awards. So why aren’t we excited about the Alexander? Because it doesn’t exist of course … but it needs to. The Alexander is given to a SERIES of worthy books. It is bestowed only when the last book of the series has been written. It […]