Sunday, July 17, 2016

#nErDCampMi 2016

Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.

A little red-faced after Nerdrun

This week was the famous and fabulous nErDcampMI. I was happy to be able to attend again. I was at the first two, but missed out last year. I got there a little before the start of the 5K race so I could register and pick up my bag to fill with goodies. 

Before the race, I spotted Erica Perl and she was wearing a race number. She introduced me to Minh Lê. I also met two ducklings. They were from Make Way for Ducklings. Later I learned that they were the presenters Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan.  Erica, the ducklings and I ended up running all together - at least for half of the 5K. Erica and Clare were speedy. I can't wait to tell my students I got to run with authors.

We had a yummy pancake breakfast and I met some Michigan teachers and chatted. We ran into each other during both days and it was nice to see friendly faces. I had been looking forward to meeting Tracy Baptiste. She was sitting at the next table with a fellow Algonquin author Adam Shaughnessy and I introduced myself. This is the magic of Nerdcamp - having time to talk with teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators and a variety of other people who are passionate about kidlit.

The main event started in the gym with some awesome people sharing different Nerdy types of speeches. A young girl from Colby's school thanked people for sending books when her house burned down then Kathy Burnett shared about how books are powerful and saved her life. We heard from Tere Lesesne about censorship, Pernillie Ripp about inspiring readers, Donalyn Miller about reading and equity, Raina Tegemeier shared a personal story about a character from one of her books and then we had a surprise speaker. Kate DiCamillo just happened to stop by. What a treat. I think there are videos of the speeches floating around on the Internet, so if you're interested enough you may be able to track them down.

Next were the scheduled presentations. There were so many excellent sessions to choose from, but I had my own presentation right away - Building Your Classroom or School Library with Inclusive Lit. Here are the slides. I was super nervous since I hadn't presented there before, but the people who came were friendly and it seemed to go well. Afterwards, I slipped into an author jeopardy panel being hosted by Erica Perl. Hearing them talk about their work is always fun.

I popped in and out of a few sessions because I couldn't decide, but loved listening to picture book promoter Pernille Ripp. She even read one while I was in the room. 

I bought a few books and got some signed too. It was great having BookBug right there with plenty of books for us to purchase.
Josh Funk
Minh Lê
Kate Beasley

Tracey Baptiste
The next big event was the dinner off site. Again, this provided time for chatting and making connections. I appreciated sharing a table with a friend, but also several teachers and two authors, Gae Polisner and Nora Baskin. Later, I was able to meet Kelly Barnhill and chat again with Tracey and Adam.

It was super late by the time I got home so I slept in a little and only arrived in time for the first session to start on Tuesday. These were the "un"conference sessions.  I loved the first session I went to with Donalyn Miller and Tere Lesesne. They basically book talked a ton of awesome new titles. The next session I attended was about how to get staff excited about books. There were plenty of good ideas to try.

I went to the author panels in the afternoon, but also popped out to chat with a few people. That was when I got to meet Lauren Castillo and Deborah Freedman two author/illustrators. Both of them create books that speak so well to children.

Right before the day ended I also got to contribute a Nerdybookclub post for possible use in a future podcast.

In the midst of all this, Cardboard Schu was having a great time too. See Travis Jonker's great post or check out Cardboard Schu's Twitter account.

Mr. Schu and I
Mr. Schu playing dress up
Finally it was time for NerdCampJr. That is a phenomenal part of the event. We had around 700 children come to meet authors and illustrators. I was with a group of fifth grade students. The program began with a draw-off competition among some of the illustrators. 

After the fun in the auditorium, we were able to go to three author/illustrator sessions with dinner in the middle. We met with Adam Shaughnessy, Victoria J. Coe and Deborah Hopkinson. Each activity was unique and the students seemed to soak it up. It was a long day, but it was full of wonderfulness.

In the final session, we experienced a mighty loud storm, but that meant when we left, we had the gift of a rainbow. It was a fitting end to a fantastic time of learning, sharing, and connecting.

Here are a few more random pictures:
Aaron Zenz
Kelly Barnhill
Raina Telgemeier
I bought this on it's book birthday! Debbie Ridpath Ohi was at Nerdcamp
Debbie Ridpath Ohi has a very thorough post about NerdCampMi and it includes a roundup of posts so if you want to read more, visit her website and check out what others had to say.


  1. Thanks for Debbie's link, too, Crystal. What a fabulous time. I was happy to see so many FB pics about nERdcamp, and it's wonderful that you got to go again. It really packs so much into the time. Love seeing all your pictures!

  2. This looks like great fun. Tammy and Clare told me that they were leaving #ILA16 to go to NerdCamp. I know that must be a fabulous conference. What a great experience you had. Thanks for the slides, Crystal.

    1. Yes, it's definitely fabulous. You're welcome.

  3. Crystal, thank you for buying a copy of MITZI TULANE! Did you want me to send you a signed bookplate and stickers? So sorry we didn't get a chance to hang out. I love your Nerdrun costume!!! I had hoped to make it for the beginning of the Nerd Run/Walk but couldn't find a ride in time. Anyway, thank you for a great recap; I've added it to my list. :-)

    1. I did get stickers. If you want to send a bookplate, that would be great, but I know you're super busy getting stuff to people. You are awesome! Maybe next year you will get to do the run. Thanks for adding me to the list. :)

  4. Crystal, I so appreciate your recap and your spreading your love of literature. I've gone to more local #nerdcamps but hope to one day make it to Michigan.

    1. I hope you get to come to NerdcampMI someday. It's a wonderful experience.

  5. I'm STILL tired from that run! But it was great to run it with you.