Category Archives: Surprise Sunday

December 03

Empathy and Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus: An Interview with Dusti Bowling by Donna Gephart

One of the superpowers of books is helping readers grow their empathy skills. While all books invite you to walk in someone else’s shoes, certain ones accomplish that on a grand scale, like Dusti Bowling’s Insignifcant Events in the Life of a Cactus. I relished my time spent in the flowered ballet flats of Aven […]

November 26

Impact: Matching Books to Readers by Ona Feinberg

I got to help kindergartners pick books today. “Bring over your book bins, friends,” I told each group. “Today, I get to do some of my favorite things! I get to hear you read books, and I get to help you pick ‘just right’ books.”   I wasn’t exaggerating, these really are a few of […]

November 12

Cover Reveal: EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT YOU by Barbara Dee

The summer after my freshman year in college, I visited Spain, and  at the end of the trip found that I’d gained a few pounds. So, without telling anyone or seeing a doctor or getting any nutritional advice, I went on a diet, which basically consisted of limiting calories. Severely. The diet felt good. It […]

November 05

Top Ten Nerdy Book Places by Jennifer Ansbach

Like many Nerdy Book Clubbers, I have a reputation as a capital-R Reader, and in addition to being asked about how I could read so much, I often get asked how I find so many books to read. Sometimes people are seeking recommendations. Others are baffled how the books I want to read seem endless […]

October 29

The After: Educating in Charlottesville by Sarah FitzHenry

First, there was a before. Sunshine, music, blissful ignorance. And then, they marched. Screaming, burning, ravaging, leaving blood and hysteria in their wake. And when they were finished, they left. The news cameras hovered for another week or two, littering our parks, rubbing their salt. And then, they left too. The buzz faded, the world […]

October 22

Author Simon Van Booy has the keys to a time machine. Let’s see how he got them, and where he wants to go!

                My new fantasy adventure novel—my first book for young readers—is called Gertie Milk & the Keeper of Lost Things. It was inspired by my daughter, who said there weren’t enough tough girl characters in books.  Agreed. She also wanted an action book that was funny, and maybe just a little bit scary too. I […]

October 15

On the Level by Donalyn Miller

  While I was visiting an elementary school library in Chicago last spring, a group of third graders came into the library to return and check out books. The children wore index cards clipped to their shirts. On one side of the card was the child’s name. On the back, layers of sticky labels with […]

October 08

Setting the Table by Holly M McGhee

September 5, 2017, marked the publication of Come with Me, a picture-book collaboration I made with my close friend, Belgian artist Pascal Lemaitre.   We dedicated Come with Me to Pascal’s mother-in-law, Yvette Pierpaoli, who devoted her life to refugees—she was a humanitarian who died in the line of duty for Refugees International, in Kosovo, […]

October 01


I grew up in the 1980s and ‘90s as one of the handful of Indian-Americans in a small town in the Midwest. Each year when I was in elementary school, my aunt and uncle gave me the gift of a book of the month club membership to celebrate my birthday and several holidays like Raksha […]

September 17

Disaster and Discovery: True Stories of Survival That Inspired Five Nonfiction Authors by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

Imagine embarking for an unexplored world, relying on faulty maps based on guesswork and fake science. Your goal is a tropical oasis at the North Pole, inhabited by unknown species of animals and maybe a lost race of humans. It sounds like science fiction, but that was the prevailing belief in 1879 when the USS […]