The First Annual Nerdies

Last week, we invited nerdy readers everywhere to nominate their favorite children’s and young adult books of 2011 for the first annual Nerdy Book Club Awards, or Nerdies. Over 350 individual titles received nominations in the following categories: picture books, graphic novels, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Working with an expert team of nerdy readers like John Schumacher, Mindi Rench, Katherine Sokolowski, and Cindy Minnich, we winnowed and sorted the books into a final list of titles receiving the most nominations.

We e-mailed, sent texts and direct messages, and talked on the phone as we debated each category and sifted through the nominations to compile the final list.

It was Heaven.

Looking through the nomination spreadsheet, I spent a blissful Saturday afternoon revisiting the wonderful books I have read and shared with my students and colleagues this year. When I saw personal favorites like Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls and Linda Urban’s Hound Dog True show up on the list, I felt a little emotional. Is there anything better than loving a book and discovering that other readers loved it, too? I wanted to track down the readers who nominated these books and have a long book chat.

I don’t think there is anything nerdier than paging through the nominations with browser tabs open to goodreads and Indie Bound while I added and ordered the nominated books I haven’t read, too. After all, you are trusted readers to me and if you think a book is good, I should probably read it.

I hope you enjoy revisiting shelf friends and discover new books to read while looking through the final list of the top 97 books nominated by Nerdy Book Club members this year.

Here comes the painful part. We have to decide among these outstanding books and select our final award winners. The voting ballot is open. I know it’s hard to choose your favorite books, but you can do it. Grab a cup of coffee or a snack and make your nerdy voice heard. Have you ever dreamed of being on a book award committee? Did you know that you are already on one? If you read, you are a voting member of the Nerdy Book Club. It doesn’t matter if you participated in the nominations or not, you can still vote in the Nerdies.

The Survey Monkey ballot will be open until December 17th. The top five books in every category will be announced in special Nerdies blog posts beginning December 18th.

But wait, there’s more.

Believing that every reader has value and a voice in this community is the core tenet of the Nerdy Book Club. You love books and reading. You love sharing your impressions of the books you read. You have insights and opinions about what makes a great book special.

We invite you to submit your reviews of the books nominated for the Nerdy Book Club awards. In 100 words or less, submit your comments via email to: thebookwhisperer (at) gmail (dot) com (add Nerdies in the subject line). Tell us why you loved these books, why children love them, and anything else you want to share about the importance of these books to your reading life and your reading communities. You can write as many reviews as you wish. We will select highlights from the reviews and include them in upcoming blog posts. Include your full name with your reviews, so we can credit you.

Let the voting begin!

** A special thanks to John, Mindi, Katherine, and Cindy for participating in the nominations panel. I know that it cut into your reading time.

**Due to popular demand, I have uploaded the entire list, organized alphabetically, into Google Docs. I have also created a goodreads shelf for the nominees if you want to add them to your shelves.


Donalyn Miller is a 6th grade language arts teacher at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School in Keller, TX. She currently writes a blog, The Book Whisperer, for Education Week Teacher. Donalyn lives atop a dragon’s hoard of unread books and spends her spare time traveling, visiting old friends, and daydreaming in the pages.