Category Archives: Surprise Sunday

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 […]

September 10

Cover Reveal: The King of Bees by Lester Laminack

Waiting on a new book is something like waiting for a baby to arrive.  There is much excitement and great anticipation.  Though you know both parents, you are eagerly waiting to see that new little face in the world.  Getting that first glimpse of the cover (and all the illustrations on the interior) for The […]

September 03

How Parental Guilt Syndrome Led to The Adventures of Caveboy by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

I know that I’m often a disappointment to my family. They’ll tell you something different – they’re good people who love me and don’t want me to feel badly. But I know in my heart that I fail them from time to time. Sometimes, when I’ve had to work, I didn’t make it to every […]

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 […]