December 28


The 2018 Nerdies: Early Readers and Early Chapter Books, Announced by Alyson Beecher


It’s time for the Nerdies! Wednesday, John Schu kicked us off by announcing the 2018 Fiction Picture Book Winners and yesterday, Donalyn Miller shared the 2018 Nonfiction Picture Book Winners. Today, the fun continues. As I was packing up books to float onto teachers a few weeks ago, I held back certain titles in case they won a Nerdy for the Early Readers and Chapter Books Category. This is my seventh year writing up the post for Early Readers and Chapter Books. Every year, I look back at my previous posts. I am curious to see if there is a pattern to the winners and to see how we have grown as readers. This year we have fourteen titles that are being recognized.


Our first five titles are sequels or continuations in series of books that were winners last year. Just like young readers in this category love sequels and series, so do our adult Nerdy Book Club Members.


dory head in the clouds


Dory Fantasmagory: Head in the Clouds

by Abby Hanlon (Penguin/Dial Books)


Dory is back in her fourth book and this time she has lost of tooth and must save the Tooth Fairy’s job from Mrs. Gobble Gracker as only Dory can. Recently, I was returning from a trip and sitting next to a mom of a six year old. We started talking books, I gave her a list of recommendations for her daughter. Of course, Dory made my list of recommendations.


bat and the waiting game


Bat and the Waiting Game

by Elana K. Arnold, Illustrated by Charles Santoso (Walden Pond Press)


Bat is a definite favorite book character and book one is on my list of favorite read alouds for 2nd to 4th grade. In book two, Bat must deal with a quickly growing Thor (baby skunk) and changes in his schedule because of his sister’s rehearsal schedule. Life can be a challenge at times but readers will learn new lessons on coping and change.




Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker: Incognito

by Shelley Johannes (Disney-Hyperion)


Beatrice Zinker is becoming a well loved character. As educators and librarians, we can all recognize that student in the class who has a unique way of doing things and has a huge heart.  Beatrice Zinker is just that student and young readers will relate with this lovable upside down thinker.


king and kayla case of the lost tooth.jpg


King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth

by Dori Hillestad Butler, Illustrated by Nancy Meyers (Peachtree Publishers)


Kayla has lost her tooth, quite literally, and with the help of King sets out to find the missing tooth. This transitional book is perfect for students making the change from early readers to beginning chapter books.
jasmine toguchi drummer girl


Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl

by Debbi Michiko Florence, Illustrated by Elizabeth Vukovic (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


I am excited about the Jasmine Toguchi series and wished these books existed back when my friend’s girls were this age. The story also introduces readers to Taiko, a traditional Japanese drum. Though reading about taiko drums may not be as powerful as seeing the drums in concert, readers will learn about this traditional Japanese instrument.


fergus and zeke at the science fair


Fergus and Zeke At the Science Fair

by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Heather Ross (Candlewick Press)


Fergus and Zeke are back and determined to help with a science experiment and not be the science experiment. This series will be popular with young readers who are learning about chapters but not quite ready for a full-size chapter book.


The next two winners are both series/authors that are favorites in the Early Reader category.


the itchy book


The Itchy Book! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading)

by LeUyen Pham (Disney-Hyperion)


When Mo Willem’s decided that he would not be writing further Elephant & Piggie stories, I think I could hear the sigh around the country. The change in the series allowed other authors and illustrators to pick up the mantle to create new characters and stories. In the latest book, LeUyen Pham presents readers with a tricky dilemma. Have you ever had an itch and tried really hard not to scratch? A group of dinosaurs certainly know how much of a challenge this is. Warning: Itching is contagious.


i lost my tooth unlimited squirrels


I Lost My Tooth! (Unlimited Squirrels)

by Mo Willems (Disney-Hyperion)


Mo Willems has frequently been honored with a Nerdy Book Award, and it is fun to see his latest book on this list. Also, it seems we have a theme of lost teeth in this year’s winners. Just as much fun as ELEPHANT & PIGGIE, Zoom Squirrel and his friends have a lot of fun with mispronounced words, and a play on words. Longer in length for readers who are ready for a bit of a challenge.


And let’s celebrate new authors and new series to our Nerdy Book Awards.


fox and chick the party and other stories


Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories

by Sergio Ruzzier (Chronicle Books)


Certain themes are prevalent in books for young readers. Odd couple friendships is one of my favorite themes and Ruzzier has created the perfect blend of personalities and features them in three short stories that blend humor, text and illustrations to make for memorable stories.


ugly cat and pablo and the missing brother


Ugly Cat & Pablo and the Missing Brother

by Isabel Quintero, Illustrated by Tom Knight (Scholastic Press)


Ugly Cat and his well dressed friend, Pablo are back and this time they are in search for Tamarindo. Hilarity, adventure, friendship, and food are strongly featured in this chapter book.


meet yasmin


Meet Yasmin

by Saadia Faruqi, Illustrated by Hatem Aly (Picture Window Books)


Only a couple of years ago, there was very little diversity present in Early Readers and Chapter books. I am loving the growth in titles representing diverse stories. In Meet Yasmin, readers get to know this new character and her multi-generational Pakistani Family, over a series of 4 short stories.
rosie revere and the raucous riveters


Rosie Revere And the Raucous Riveters (The Questioneers)

by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts


This new series is a spin-off of the Rosie Revere, Engineer picture book. Rosie and her classmates combine imagination, teamwork, and perseverance to solve a problem. The end includes some activities and information to think about.


two dogs in a trench coat go to school


Two Dogs in a Trench Coat: Go to School

by Julie Falatko, Illustrated by Colin Jack (Scholastic Press)


A hilarious new series featuring two dogs. In the first book, Sassy and Waldo plan on rescuing their human, Stewart, from that evil placed called school. Let the fun begin.


magnificient mya tibbs mya in the middle


The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Mya in the Middle  

by Crystal Allen (Balzer & Bray)


The Magnificent Mya Tibbs will appeal to the upper age range of this category. Mya is struggling to gain her parents’ attention as she is stuck between a talented older brother and a new baby sister. She takes on the challenge of starting a newspaper at school while navigating her family and repairing broken friendships.


Congratulations to all of the winners of the 2018 Nerdy Book Awards for Early Readers and Chapter Books.


Alyson Beecher is an educator in Southern California.  She has a serious book addiction and hosts the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge on Wednesdays and #Road2Reading Challenge with Michele Knott on Thursdays. She celebrates books as part of the Nerdy Book Club.   You can find her on Twitter as @alysonbeecher and on her blog: Kid Lit Frenzy