it's okay to be different March 28

Top Ten Picture Books Celebrating Diversity by Jennifer McLaughlin

Culture refers to the “traditions, rituals, beliefs, and values that are shared amongst a group of people.”  The classroom is the first place many children encounter cultures other than their own.  Educators have a responsibility to assist children with recognizing differences, as well as similarities, among all cultures.  Allowing children to explore varying cultures through […]

and then it's spring March 27

The Rite of Spring: Top Ten Books for the Season by Jill Bryan

Winter has been fairly brutal this year. While Minnesota hasn’t seen our usual snowfall, (we stand in solidarity with the Northeast as they thaw out) it has been brutally cold over the last months. During the fleeting days of seeming warmth you can almost feel the ground trying to breathe. If you listen carefully you […]

Let’s Talk One-on-One, Peer, and Small Group Writing Conferences March 26


All this talk about Harper Lee’s newly discovered novel slated to come out this summer has me thinking about my grandmother, my first reading mentor.   My mother would drive my brother Scott, my Grandma Hattie, and me to the library every Wednesday right after dinner. Scott and I would head downstairs to the children’s […]

all the bright places March 25

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – Book Review by Sarah Perlmutter

Theodore Finch fears living life “asleep.”   Violet Markey blames herself for her older sister’s death.   The two meet on the ledge of the bell tower at their school while Finch uses the thrill to feel alive and Violet contemplates jumping. When students see them in the tower, Finch helps Violet from the ledge, […]

9780399171703_Written_in_the_Stars-1 (3) March 24

How To Make A Dream Come True by Aisha Saeed

I’ve always loved writing. I was the kid who got in trouble for not paying attention to double-digit division because I was busy outlining a story idea in the margins of my math book. I loved the characters that spoke to me and I loved putting down what they had to say. As with most […]

bookmobile March 23

The Traveling Bookmobile by Kathy Pardell

Recently during our monthly book club, a friend had mentioned that she was reading The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, about the queen’s visits to her local Bookmobile. This instantly triggered one of my own memories from my childhood; the recollection of Saturdays spent as a young teenager. While other girls my age were hanging […]

war  hats March 22

Hazardous Tales on YouTube by Nathan Hale

Hello, Nathan Hale here. I’m trying out something completely new today and I’m debuting it here on the Nerdy Book Club blog. This is my first Hazardous Tales YouTube video!   Since starting the Hazardous Tales books, I’ve done a lot of school visiting and public speaking. When I started, I had a PowerPoint slideshow […]

encyclopedia of an ordinary life March 21

Ten Texts That Will Get Teachers Writing by Shawna Coppola

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: the best teachers of writing are also writers themselves.   What I don’t mean by this: Any ol’ writer can teach students to write. By “writers,” I mean professional, published authors. If you don’t write, you can’t teach students to write.   What I do mean […]

214233_sch_Bessie_Jkt_0.tif March 20

We should always play in the classroom by Kevin D. Cordi

I had forgotten the value of play during the first years of teaching.   I focused more on the discipline of creating final products rather than playing with the process.  I only evaluated the end result until I rediscovered the value of play and story making. I should have taken more time to play with the […]

the hundred dresses March 19

A Timeless Tale of Bullies and Bystanders: The Hundred Dresses By ELEANOR ESTES – Review by Jennifer McLaughlin

Bullies and bystanders have existed since the beginning of time.  The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, written in 1944, portrays the story of the schoolyard bully, bystander and victim before the internet and social media.   The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is a beautifully written and timelessly classic book.  In this story Maddie sees […]