Slice of Life #10 – Nerdy Book Get Together

Saturday afternoon, my family and I headed to Grand Rapids for some family time, dinner with a dear family friend, and so that I could go to the first (of many) Nerdy Book Club get together.

We met on the second floor of the BOB. We stood for a while by the fireplace. Then we sat in huge, comfortable leather chairs all the time talking teaching, children’s & YA lit and drinking beer/water/diet coke.

It was fun. It was inspiring. It was invigorating. It was enlightening. It was amazing.

When we introduced ourselves, we had to include our twitter handle because that is how many of us met and interact on a regular basis. There were a number of nerdy members who were there in spirit via twitter, I think this is everyone that was there in person, in no particular order:

@kmcilhagga (that’s me)

(if you were there and I missed your handle here, please let me know!!!)

My head has been swimming every since. When i talked to people about my choice to come back to school and work pre-service teachers to read and discuss and connect to literature so that they can pass it on to their students. These people got it, that doesn’t happen very often. I talk to a lot of people who don’t understand why I’m doing what I am – to be able to spend the evening with people who were encouraging and curious was one of the most exciting, validating evenings I’ve had in my professional career. Listening to all of the teachers and librarians share their thoughts about books and the ways that they are creating reading cultures for their own students inspired me.

Long live the Nerdy Book Club!!!

If you aren’t already, follow us on twitter at #nerdybookclub and check out the blog at


Nerdy Book Girl…

As if being a ph.d. student wasn’t enough to cement the title of “Nerdy Girl”, today I’m blogging over at Nerdy Book Club about the book Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood. Come on over and check it out!

Valentine to Books…

Thanks to @CBethM over at Nerdy Book Club for this lovely Valentine to Books. Nerdy Book Club members* were invited to email photos of the TBR piles/stacks/shelves (to be read) and this is the outcome:

* If you are reading this, chances are you are a member of the Nerdy Book Club! Head on over and sign up to be a Nerdy Blogger – or just follow along!

So many books! (Reading and, now, writing reviews)

Last semester I piloted an assignment (along with a colleague and good friend) that asked our children’s literature students to follow a children’s literature blog or blogs throughout the semester. (I’ll be doing something similar this semester, but that’s another post.)

One of the things that I find most helpful about reading blogs and book reviews is that it is an accessible and time-sensitive way to stay current with the field of children’s literature. I think this is important for teachers (and others) who are in a position to share books with children. I added the assignment for my students as a way to help them broaden their knowledge base of literature as well as think about how they will stay current when they are in their own classrooms.

Personally, I read lots of blogs and I am a huge fan of The Horn Book Magazine – it’s like getting a gift in the mailbox every two months. The writing, not only of the reviews but of the articles as well, is always thought-provoking and inspiring. In addition to my addiction to literature, reading reviews has served other purposes as well:

  • it helps me stay current in the field in regards to books that I may want to share with my chidren’s literature students, teacher friends, and children
  • it helps me decide what I want to read
  • it allows me to have conversations with other children’s literature professionals, fans and addicts like myself.

These experiences as an instructor and reader have made me think about how I will make decisions about what to review and post about on this blog.I was inspired by a post a few days ago over at the Nerdy Book Club. This coming year, they will be having reviews of both new and retro books, so I’m going to follow along and do a combination of both. My goal will be to post two reviews a week, we’ll see how it goes. I suspect it will vary as the semester progresses and depending on what sorts of books I decide to read. I’m also over on Goodreads and have decided that I will be doing much shorter reviews there, while reviews on this blog will be more in depth. I hope this will provide another opportunity to engage across disciplines, professions and interests.

Teachers: What do you find helpful and useful? What resources do you wish were available? What is interesting and inspiring when it comes to your own reading and sharing books with your students?

Current bloggers, reviewers, and fellow children’s-literature-geeks: what advice or suggestions do you have?