Friday, July 29, 2016

Our New Obsession: HILO

I was the kid who hated stuffed animals. I also was the kid who wouldn't touch a graphic novel (or "comic book" with a ten foot pole). I only read big books. Now I am obsessed with character plush and graphic novels.

Yesterday, after noticing that she was very crabby, I asked Charlotte if she had stayed up late reading again. She admitted that she had stayed up reading both HILO books over again. I knew she had to help me review the second book in the HILO series, Saving the Whole Wide World. Charlotte's words are in blue and mine are in red. If you haven't read the first book, beware of spoilers.

So Charlotte, do you know how I found out about HILO?

Mr. Schu. He is my idol; I want to be just like him when I grow up.

I loved books before I met him and now I love them even more. Catch us up on what is happening at the beginning of the second HILO story.

The boy that found HILO, DJ reminds us he is good at nothing. The only part of HILO that is there is his big toe. Then a portal opens, and his head gets thrown through. 

Do they still have to fight Razorwark? 

HILO trapped Razorwark in a portal, but he is sending other monsters to Earth to weaken the portal.

Who is your favorite character?

Beamer, the robot that helps HILO and his gang.

My favorite character was Pollandra Pack Wallace Brimdale Korimako, a cat from the "furback clan" that gets comes to Earth from a portal and joins HILO's band.

What is the saddest part of the book?

Blah blah blah (Charlotte's answer was a major spoiler). Comment if you want me to tell you what she said.

The book ends on a cliffhanger and the 3rd book doesn't come out until February 2017!

Charlotte is ten years old and starting fifth grade in a month. She is a Nerdy Sister in training. She is an aspiring author and dentist. She spends her nights reading and her days playing video games and swimming. She attended her first Nerd Camp this summer and had the time of her life.

Picture credit: Melanie Golding

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Picture Book Wednesday: Blue Chicken

If you've read our last few posts, you'll know that Amy and I attended Nerd Camp in Parma Michigan a few weeks ago. I cannot stress enough how wonderful this PD is for educators. It is superior to anything I have ever attended.  And it's FREE!

I volunteered to be a group leader for Nerd Camp Jr. I had done this two years prior when my eldest daughter came to Nerd Camp, and assumed I would be paired with Charlotte. After seeing Charlotte be Miss Independent, I was thrilled to be paired with 2nd graders. One of our authors/illustrators? Deborah Freedman. I was extremely lucky to talk with Deborah, Lauren Castillo and John Schu earlier in the afternoon. Her book, Scribble, was a favorite among my former students and I have her book by mouse and frog. A downside (for your bank account) of attending Nerd Camp is buying/ordering books. I ordered Blue Chicken, The Story of Fish and Snail and her two forthcoming books, Shy and This House, Once.

In her session with the children, Ms. Freedman first read aloud Blue Chicken.  In this meta-fiction book, a picture is almost complete. A chicken tries to help, but she ruins the whole picture by spilling blue paint everywhere. Freedman does a great job of expressing the anger of the animals in this illustration. This book is funny upon the first read and one of those books that I know I will find new things within the illustrations as I read it again and again.

What could be more awesome than hearing a story, having the author demonstrate their process and then trying it yourself? Nothing.

Thank you to Deborah Freedman and all the other authors and illustrators who have come to NErDCamp over the years for free to work with educators and children.

Shy will be released on September 27, 2016.

This House, Once will be released on February 28, 2017.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Two Nerdy Sisters Go To Michigan Our Nerd Camp Journey Part 2

After the beginning session we went our first session of the day. We went to see Lauren Castillo, Greg Pizzoli, and Deborah Freedman. They talked about their process for writing or doing illustrations. It was very informative for those of us who may want to write a book in the future.

Then the Two nervous Nerdy Sisters headed to our own session. We entered a packed room. We had technology issues but we were able to present on some of our books and give all of our books away.

People standing out the door at our packed session. We found out later that 72 people attended. 

We decided to spend our last session of the day with Mr. Schu, Kate DiCamillo, and Kate Beasley. It was awesome. We got to read parts of books, see people smell books, and listen to both Kates talk about their writing. 

The author signing was really great. We were able to get books signed and talk briefly with some of our favorite authors. Charlotte had her picture taken with Raina and Mr. Schu. 

Day 2: 
Day two was also awesome! Sara and I spend the first session with Donalyn Miller and Teri Lesesne as they talked about books.

Charlotte spend her first session with Victoria Cole. She picked that session out and went to it alone. She loved that session and got to spend more time with Victoria at Nerd Camp Jr. 

Then we joined Pernille Ripp for a conversation about Middle Grade students and reading. 

During lunch we had to take our balloons picture. We also got to spend more time talking to authors and other educators. 

For the third session we went to see the authors talk about writing with students and helping them learn from their mistakes. The authors gave suggestions on how to help children who have difficulty writing. 

For the 4th session, Sara and I led a session on collaboration between librarians and classroom teachers. We had a great talk with some fellow librarians. Then we all went to the final session. It was great to see how inspired and happy everyone was. Charlotte made me cry when she said that Nerd Camp was her place. 

Nerd Camp is my place too. So much so that I soon found myself having difficulty leaving. Being pregnant, I was too exhausted to volunteer for Nerd Camp Jr. but I did not want to leave. I just kept sitting there until I eventually forced myself to go. To be honest I shed a few tears as I left the school. I shed tears because I knew I would have to wait another year to feel so inspired. I would also have to wait another year to see some of my friends in the literary world. 

Nerd camp is really a very special place where you feel loved, respected, and appreciated. It is one of the few places where authors, librarians, teachers, and principals come together like a huge family. It is also one of the few places where you feel inspired the entire time and the sessions actually relate to what you are trying to do for your students. Please do yourself a favor and attend Nerd Camp. It has changed my life so much over the past two years and it will change your life too. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Two Nerdy Sisters Go to Michigan: Our Nerd Camp Journey Part 1

Sara, Charlotte, and I left NC on Saturday, July 9th to start our 2 day drive to Nerd Camp. Excitement filled our blue Hyundai  Elantra. Sara and I were excited to see all of our Nerdy friends and our friend Melanie from Canada. We were also nervous about our first ever Nerd Camp presentation.

Charlotte's two main goals for attending Nerd Camp were to meet Raina Telgemeier and Mr. Schu. We were so excited that the 10 hour drive seemed to take forever. I told Charlotte that I wish we could teleport to Nerd Camp. Of course she has never seen Star Trek so she did not understand the reference. 

Monday finally arrived. We arrived at Nerd Camp before 8 so we could get our Nerd Camp swag and hangout prior to the opening session.

After getting our swag we took some pictures with @cardboardschu. 

This is our friend Melanie who drove all the way from Alberta, Canada for her first Nerd Camp. 

At 9:00 Sara and Charly left for the Nerd Run leaving Melanie and I to hang out with awesome authors: Jess Keating, Debbie Ohi, and Ruth Spiro. 

We headed in for the opening session and Charlotte got really excited because she saw Raina sitting on the front row. I had to make her go but we went to speak with Raina.

I look super preggo in these. 

Soon it was time for the opening Nerd talks to begin.  We heard from 5 wonderful speakers. All of their talks were inspiring and made me cry.

Kathy Barnette

Teri Lesesne

Raina Telgemeier

Pernille Ripp

Donalyn Miller

Everyone was super excited to see Kate DiCamillo at Nerd Camp. It was an awesome surprise. 

Due to the high volume of pictures this is part one. Look for part 2 on Monday.