Following up on last week’s post …I made it to nErDcamp Michigan! It was everything I’d hoped for-and more. There were basically 3 parts to the conference.
Day 1 were the featured speakers and presenters. We started with an incredible panel called “Feminism for All” that really resonated with me. I created a sketchnote to capture some of my big takeaways.
I was especially intrigued by the concept of Intersectionality; the idea that that people are often disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression and that when we focus on one at a time (gender, race, sexual orientation) we are fighting small battles separately rather than trying to lift all and elevate all voices.
We then heard 3 great nErDtalks by authors Minh Lê, Cece Bell, and Laurie Halse Anderson. They were inspiring advocates for the power of kidlit and for teachers to make a difference in the lives of their students. Minh spoke so beautifully about our need to counteract dehumanization through story and books. Cece shared how she looked for books with characters like her, and how important it is for our students to be able to find themselves in books. Laurie gave a brutally honest talk about the critical need for information on healthy sexuality and TALK BEFORE TOUCH. If you haven’t read her book SHOUT, I beg you to check it out. Such an important text.
Then The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller fired up the crowd with the charge to “Make good trouble when you leave here”. Her message is that teachers need to be more engaged to advocate for the lives of our students. I love her quote, “Every exchange of book to kid contains hope.”
We then broke out into sessions from featured presenters. I was lucky enough to be one of those presenters and shared my passion for writing and my desire to expand our definition of writing so that all learners have a place at the table. You can see my full presentation on THINKING THROUGH OUR FINGERS here.
The day finished with author signings and lots of free books. I was in kidlit heaven. Getting a chance to meet and talk with authors about their work was inspiring. Here are some of the authors I met at nErDcamp, there were so many others I didn’t photograph! AUTHOR PHOTO ALBUM
Day 2 We built our idea board. People lined up to propose session ideas and thenErDcamp team created a Google Doc menu of each session. There were so many to choose from, but the great thing is if you can’t be in two places at once you can read the notes attached to the Google Doc for all sessions!
I offered a session on sketchnotes that filled a classroom with eager teachers. It was so gratifying to have several share their first attempts at sketchnoting later in the day and post to Twitter with the hashtag #nErDysketchnoter!
Day 2 ended with nErDcampJr. THIS WAS INCREDIBLE. 1500 kids in grades 1-12 signed up for mini-workshops with kidlit authors. Each child got to work with 3 different authors, have a pizza dinner, and watch a ‘Draw Off’ with kidlit illustrators. I was a group volunteer who took “Team Ibis” to meet and work with Matt Tavares, Jon Sciezka, and Jennifer Torres. All of this was FREE for these students. Thanks to the work of the nErDcamp team organizing an army of volunteers and truckload of donations!
This was definitely two days I’ll never forget. If you get a chance to attend a nErDcamp, don’t pass it up. There will be one in Maine Sept. 28th. Look for registration to nErDcampNNE soon!
One More Off My TBR Stack
THE PARIS PROJECT by Donna Gephart
I was so fortunate to get an ARC of this book at nErDcamp. Donna Gephart is such an ally to kids whose stories need to be told, who need to see themselves in the stories they read, and a gift to the kidlit world. In this novel we meet Cleveland Rosebud Potts whose greatest desire is to attend the American School of Paris and live a life of culture. She’s created a checklist of six tasks that she thinks will help her attain her goal, but nothing seems to be going right. Her sister is trying to get into college far away in Vermont, her mom is working extra jobs, her best friend from elementary school has turned on her, and her closest friend Declan has a crush on someone Cleveland is angry with…but worst of all her Dad has done something that has made life almost unbearable for the Potts family. Donna Gephart has a way of breaking your heart and putting it back together so compassionately by touching on so many challenging issues our children are dealing with. Set to be released October 8, 2019-If you are curating a collection of ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) stories you just might want to pre-order this one!