Thursday, September 22, 2016


I am so excited to announce that I have been chosen as a Round 1 CYBILS Judge for Juvenile/Elementary Nonfiction. I can't wait to read lots of nonfiction picture books! You can see the rest of the categories and find out information about nominating books by visiting this website:

Nominations run from October 1-15.

Winners will be announced on February 14, 2017.

Thank you to my co-blogger, Amy Ralph, and to all who read/support/promote us as bloggers, educators and readers. We definitely wouldn't be here with out The Nerdy Book Club and Nerd Camp MI!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Revisiting Harry Potter

WARNING: If you have not read the first 7 Harry Potter novels, do not read this post. There are no spoilers for book number 8.

Unless you are completely clueless (someone I live with - not a child, mind you - said, "What? There is an 8th book?"), you probably know that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released on July 31st. As with every other previous HP book, I wanted to read all the books in the series over again. I succumbed to anticipation and impatience and read the new book after rereading only the first three. Then, I began the last four, and am about to finish #7.

The last time I read these books was in 2007. I was 29 years old, had a 4 year old, a one year old and was pregnant with my third child. I had been a children's librarian for 4 years. I was very much a solitary reader. Now I am 38. My children are 13, 10 and 8. I have had some not so great life experiences (open heart surgery and breaking up with my first and extremely beloved school librarian job). However, now my reading life is enriched by the Nerdy Book Club, nErDcampMI and tons of #nerdy friends. No longer am I a solitary reader in the world; I have nerdy companions, and it has made all the difference.

What has changed? What hasn't?

SPOILERS!!! If you haven't read the first 7 books:

1) I always liked The Order of the Phoenix least because Harry was so teenage angsty and annoying. Now after living through some harder life experiences and having a teenage daughter (and some experience working in middle school), I can appreciate that angst. As one of my best nerdy friends said, it is a relief that he is so normal. After all, Cedric's death could have crushed his soul, but he pushes bravely forward, even though everyone at worst, claims he is a liar (all living in denial that Voldemort was indeed back) or at best, needs a long stay at St. Mungo's.

2) In The Half-Blood Prince, I felt more pity for Lord Voldemort, or more accurately, for Tom Riddle. I think his abandonment by his parents destroyed him utterly. Unlike Harry, he doesn't have the character strength to rebound from a miserable childhood. He isn't a one-dimensional villain; he is the consequence of a loveless life.

3) Dobby. He annoys a lot of readers, many of the ones in my family.  I loathed him in Book 2, and the whole S.P.E.W. movement is my least favorite part of Book 4. When he died the first time I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I didn't feel joy; I felt nothing. This time, I cried, and was mocked by family members for my emotion. Why the change? I've lost a few more loved ones in my life. Also, I mourned Dobby because Harry mourns and loves Dobby, and I love Harry.

4) Snape. The first time, I cried like a baby when it is revealed that he has loved Harry's mother, and then Harry all along. He remains loyal to The Order of the Phoenix, and dies a heroic death. We realize that his killing of Dumbledore is a sign of reluctant mercy, and that his presence as the headmaster at Hogwarts ensures the safety of the students, at least until the battle begins. Now, I am psychologically dreading reading those parts again. I have slowed down my reading progress of the last book to a crawl because I know my heart is going to shatter in a million pieces at that chapter. I already cried while reading "The Silver Doe," knowing it was Snape that sent Harry Godric Gryffendor's sword.

Spoiler-free thoughts on Book 8.

I was extremely excited about this book, proclaimed that it was awesome, and openly defied others on social media to disagree. Of course, one of my nerdy friends found it very flawed, and after some long, painful chatting, I had to concede a few things:

1) The format is jarring. The stage directions are there making it weird. The writing itself is nowhere near the quality of the novels.

2) The timeline. Excuse me, was there a rip in the fabric of the space-time continuum of which I was unaware (extra points if you recognize the origin of that phrase)? I was 19 when Harry was 11 and now he is older than me?

3) The plot device chosen catches even the most expert of writers, and JKR and her co-authors do not survive unscathed. What do I mean?

Copyright: Disney/Pixar Animation (lazy sighting; Bad Librarian!)

But, but,'s Harry and I LOVE Harry, so being back in his world, even despite the flaws, was a joy. Would I rate the 8th book 5 stars again? Never say never (btw, that's a Brandy reference and perfect for 1997). Reading it again is not going to happen anytime soon so my rating stands, at least for now. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Book Tuesday 9/20

I'm excited about these books, especially Dory! I also got some exciting blog-related news this week that I will share when I'm allowed to do so. Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016

Maxi's Secrets

Maxi's Secrets by Lynn Plourde was an absolute gem, not just in the eyes of a middle school dog lover, but for all ages. The story is about a 5th grade boy named Timminy, who is faced with the challenge of a new school and new students to poke fun at his height. Fortunately for Timminy, not long after the boxes are all unpacked a great white pyrenees named Maxi bounds her way into his life. However, there's much more to Maxi than meets the eye. Only after a few close calls does Timminy and his family realize how special Maxi really is. Their big ball of fuzz is deaf. Maxi's secrets is a book that has surprising depth and likable characters. 

Readers beware, this book might make you tear up, but aren't the best books the ones that cause you to really feel? Those that make you experience genuine emotions as you flip the pages? Maxi's secrets also teaches valuable lessons about self perseverance and to not judge a book by it's cover. I highly recommend this book for those who seek a good book that'll eat up their free time. Maxi's secrets is a novel I won't be forgetting anytime soon.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

YA Friday: Be Light Like A Bird

Have you lost a parent? I have! I lost my father in 2002 and it was difficult for me. When he died I was an adult and more equipped to deal with the situation than I would have been if I was a child. Can you imagine a child losing their parent?  
Be Light Like a Bird takes you into the world of Wren. Wren is a girl who losses her father in a plane crash. On top of that her mother is acting very strange. She refuses to cry for her husband and she gets annoyed with Wren every time she speaks about him. She also keeps moving Wren from place to place. Wren can only find peace from her loss by bird watching and remembering fun times with her father. 

When Wren and her mother move to Pyramid, Michigan things start to change. Find out how Wren's life changes and why her mother will not discuss her her father by reading Be Light Like a 
Bird. This book would be an excellent addition to any middle school or high school. It would also be a great book to recommend to any student who loses a loved one. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New Book Tuesday 9/6

Well, I thought today was Monday until lunchtime so this #newbooktuesday is a bit late. The plus side was I didn't have to go to Google to get my book covers.