Happy 4th Anniversary, Nerdy Book Club! by Donalyn Miller

Today is the 4th anniversary of the first Nerdy Book Club post. Every year, I write a post describing how the blog began. I’m the keeper of our origin story, but Nerdy has far exceeded our original vision for it. Nerdy Book Club began as a crowd-sourced book award blog. Now, it’s a communal reading space for many people. I wonder how Nerdy will change in the next year. Who will write for it? What new voices and books will emerge? How will our discussions of reading best practices develop?

Nerdy is an egalitarian effort written and published by volunteers—the four of us who run it (Cindy, Katherine, Colby, and me) and all of you who write for the blog. Since Nerdy started, over 800 individual writers have shared their reading lives, their favorite books, and their commitment to engaging young people with reading. For many of us, Nerdy offers a home for our book love and our ongoing conversations about children’s literature and the authentic reading lives of children.

I have found dear friends on Nerdy and learned a lot about literacy and life from our posters. I have read every Nerdy post over the years, and I am a better person for it—certainly a better teacher and parent.

Colby and I took a dare. We had no idea what we were doing. We started Nerdy because we could. Our cavalier attitude when launching Nerdy probably makes the blog work. We have two goals with Nerdy: celebrate children’s literature and the artists who write and illustrate for children, and share ideas for engaging children with lifelong reading. We remain committed to these two aims. We will keep Nerdy running as long as we are having fun and offering something useful to the world.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and writing posts. Nerdy Book Club is your blog, too. Whether you’re a professor, an editor, a teacher, a librarian, a first grade class, a parent, a debut author or a legendary one—your voice matters. We stand behind our creed; “Every reader has value and a voice in our community.” We believe it for the children in our care and we believe it for ourselves. Like many of you, I am grateful for the reading community we have built here—and spread to our classrooms, our libraries, our homes, and our neighborhoods.

Thank you for celebrating another year of great books. Thank you for dedicating your professional lives to children. In a tiny corner of the Internet, Nerdy is part of the wonderful children’s literature and reading community that cares about children’s reading lives. All of us know the ability reading has to change our lives and our communities. We want our children to love reading, not just learn to read. It’s a noble effort. Important.

As for where the blog is going, we have no idea. If you have suggestions, please share them. We filter every decision through our two goals. Nerdy evolves on its own. I look forward to our next year—learning and sharing together.


In the beginning, Nerdy was a community-driven book award blog, and we still hold the Nerdy Book Club Awards each winter. Each year’s list provides an overview of our readers’ most popular recommendations. The winners each year look like a handpicked children’s bookshelf—a current mix of genres, formats, and styles; books with high literary merit and kid appeal; parent, librarian, teacher, and kid-tested; books you want to own and share.

2015 Nerdy Book Club Award Ballot Opens!

It is time for the fifth annual Nerdy Book Club Awards, the Nerdies. In a sea of end-of-year book lists and awards, our little award seeks to honor the children’s and young adults’ titles that teachers, librarians, authors, booksellers, parents, and most of all, young people, have loved reading this year.

Have you ever dreamed of serving on a book award committee? Did you know you were already on one?

Here is how the Nerdies work:

The Nomination Ballot is open until December 20th at midnight Eastern Time. Nominate up to 5 books in each of the following categories:

Picture Books: Fiction

Picture Books: Nonfiction

Early Readers/ Chapter Books

Graphic Novels

Poetry and Novels in Verse

MG/YA Nonfiction

Middle Grade Fiction

Young Adult Fiction

You do not need to nominate books in every category or nominate a full slate of 5 nominees. All nominees must have been published in 2015 and written for children or young adults. In order to prevent ballot box stuffing for beloved titles, we have restricted the surveys to one response per computer.


After tallying the ballots, we will announce the 2015 Nerdies winners in daily category posts beginning December 26th.

Join us in honoring the books that matter to all of us and the children we encourage to read. No matter what wins, the ongoing conversations about these books will benefit every member of our community. Thank you for participating.

Let the Nerdies begin!


**If you are shopping for holiday gifts, don’t forget to give the gift of Nerdy this year. Proceeds from the Nerdy Book Club Cafe Press store benefit Reading Is Fundamental, and help provide books for needy children

Donalyn Miller has taught fourth, fifth, and sixth grade English and Social Studies in Northeast Texas. She is the author of two books about encouraging students to read, The Book Whisperer (Jossey-Bass, 2009) and Reading in the Wild (Jossey-Bass, 2013). Donalyn co-hosts the monthly Twitter chat, #titletalk (with Nerdy Book Club co-founder, Colby Sharp) and the Best Practices Roots (#bproots) chat with Teri Lesesne. Donalyn launched the annual Twitter summer and holiday reading initiative, #bookaday. You can find her on Twitter at @donalynbooks or under a pile of books somewhere, happily reading.