Category Archives: Surprise Sunday

August 27

Rituals by Donalyn Miller

This weekend, we moved our youngest daughter, Sarah, into her college dorm room. Moving someone’s belongings 170 miles carries built-in challenges, but the physical transition was relatively smooth. The past few weeks of planning, shopping, cleaning, and packing paid off. Sarah had almost everything she needed for her classes and her living space. We unpacked […]

August 20

Why I Wrote The Real Us by Tommy Greenwald

WE ALL HAVE BLEMISHES   A beautiful girl with a giant pimple in the middle of her nose.   That’s the first thing that popped into my head — no pun intended, I swear! — when I embarked on the story that became THE REAL US.   This was a few years ago, and up […]

August 13

Happy Birthday to Donalyn Miller!

  There are many of us who have been lucky enough to be impacted by Donalyn Miller, and so we couldn’t let her birthday pass this year without a chance to celebrate what she means to us. While this entire post is a giant birthday card to her, we also hope that you, dear Nerdy […]

August 06

Make Me a Match! Ten Love Connections Between YA Novels and Nonfiction Books by Oona Marie Abrams

One of many takeaways from #NerdCampNJ was the “love connections” teachers and administrators were making between texts. For example, several teachers and administrators shared that they’re now designing units that include Tom Rinaldi’s The Red Bandanna, Gae Polisner’s The Memory of Things, or Nora Raleigh Baskin’s Nine, Ten. This got me thinking about other “love […]

July 30

Grandmothers Are Magical by James Nicol

In my novel The Apprentice Witch, Arianwyn has an incredibly close relationship with her grandmother. She’s a witch, an ex-member of the council of elders, and the owner of Stronelli’s book store, a specialist magic book shop where Arianwyn has been raised since her mother died and her father re-joined the army to escape his […]

July 16

The Science of a Fiction Picture Book (#STEAM) by Leslie Helakoski

Even a fictional picture book can engage young minds in scientific thought. Comparing and contrasting are great tools for learning and what better way to explore this concept than a fun story?   HOOT & HONK Just Can’t Sleep began as an exploration of a nocturnal owlet, sleeping during the day and active at night, […]

July 09

How Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton Came to Be by Kate Olson

An incredibly powerful YA book with an amazing creation story – read on to learn about how Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton came to be…..   Several months ago, I was sent a box of books from a publisher, mostly advance reader copies. When I get these books, I always put them on my ARC […]

July 02

My Reading Journey by A.F. Harrold

Jorge Luis Borges said, “I think of myself as being essentially a reader. As you are aware, I have ventured into writing; but I think that what I have read is far more important than what I have written. For one reads what one likes – yet one writes not what one would like to […]

June 25

Talking about THE ENEMY with Sara Holbrook by Gary Anderson

Many Nerdy Book Clubbers are already familiar with Sara Holbrook through her books of poetry for young readers, including I Never Said I Wasn’t Difficult and The Dog Ate My Homework. We also know Sara through her work with “partner-in-rhyme” Michael Salinger that helps students and teachers from around the world understand how writing poetry […]

June 18

An Open Thank You Letter to Kwame Alexander

Dear Kwame Alexander,   Thank you for making us openly weep last year at the ILA conference when you said, “The mind of an adult begins with the imagination of a child,” and “all kids are the good kids”  When we heard you say those words and the room burst into thunderous applause, we knew […]