December 21

8 Awesome Things From 2016 

2016 was a difficult one for many people. Some of us lost loved ones, some of us were disappointed in the presidential election, and most of us are feeling sad to be living in such a divided world.

When I looked back at 2016 I was able find a handful of pretty awesome things. Here are 8 things that I loved in 2016.

1. Nerd Camp

Nerd Camp was born in Battle Creek, Michigan back in 2013. Nearly 200 educators spent the day learning together. Nerd Camps are now taking place all over the country. In July of 2016, Nerd Camp Michigan welcomed over 1,000 educators and more than 700 students. We are doing good work, friends. Magical things happen when you put kids first.


P.S. Nerd Camp is free. How cool is that?


2. Debut Authors

I love watching the dreams of new authors come true with the publication of their first book. 2016 welcomed many amazing authors that will be writing for our students for years to come. I can’t wait to see what 2017 debut novels touch the hearts of readers.

3. A Picture Book won the Newbery Medal

Last Stop on Market Street winning the Newbery Medal was a gift to kids everywhere. I could go on and on about how happy this made me, but instead of listening to me go on and on about it, you should instead watch Matt’s Newbery speech.

4. My Students Became Friends with Sophie Blackall

This video stole my heart. Thank you, Sophie!

5. Peter Brown Writes a Middle Grade Novel

The only negative that I see in Peter Brown writing a middle grade novel, is that it didn’t come out 25 years ago. I wish someone would have handed me this book when I finished Hatchet back in fourth grade.


6. Cardboard Schu

My good buddy Mr. Schu got a cardboard cutout. The cardboard cutout joined Twitter. What is better than that?


Cardboard Schu and Kate DiCamillo at Nerd Camp


Cardboard Schu and Dan Santat

7. Gene Yang Named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Gene Yang’s Reading Without Walls Challenge is an important one. I loved teaching a unit around it with my students.


8. Orphan Island is Coming

Laurel Snyder’s Orphan Island comes out next May. It is brilliant. One of the best things about 2016 coming to an end, is that we are getting closer to Orphan Island coming into the world.


And I hope you’ll all love this book, my Orphan Island. But if you don’t, that’s all right. You don’t have to love it. I wrote this one for myself. Because sometimes, a girl needs to go it alone. Sometimes, a girl ju.jpg


I hope that all of you have a lovely end to 2016, and that 2017 brings you great joy.

Stay Nerdy!

Colby Sharp is a third grade teacher in Parma, Michigan. He loves his family, books, teaching, and string cheese. He is the co-founder of the Nerdy Book Club and Nerd Camp. Colby is very excited about making The Creativity Project (2018) with a bunch of his friends.