nErDcamp rEcap

Brace yourself: this post is gonna be long. If you’re like me, you might want to just look at the pictures.

I spent last Monday and Tuesday at nErDcamp in Michigan. What is nErDcamp? It’s a conference for educators focused on reading and literacy founded by members of the Nerdy Book Club (if you don’t know what that is, stop reading this and go here now). Over 900 educators from all over the U.S. and Canada attended the two day conference.

So let me tell you what happened with pictures.

Sunday morning I flew from Boston to Detroit.

Boarding Flight from Boston to Detroit
Early Morning jetBlue flight

After chilling at the airport for a bit, I hitched a ride with educators Lesley Burnap, Jason Lewis, and Debbie Ridpath Ohi (author/illustrator of Where Are My Books?, illustrator of I’m Bored and Naked – two separate books). We stopped at Bob’s Big Boy for a snack on the way from Detroit to the Hampton Inn in Jackson.

Josh Funk at Bob's Big Boy
Jason, Big Boy, Lesley, & me

[Photo by Debbie Ridpath Ohi]

Debbie did one of her found art doodles (see more of her found art doodles here).

debbie ridpath ohi's found art doodle of josh funk on the way to nerdcamp
Red Pepper Boat to #nErDcamp

[Photo by Debbie Ridpath Ohi]

After checking in at the hotel, we met up with my good friend Jess Keating (author of How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied, How to Outswim a Shark without a Snorkel, this October’s How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don’t Have a Clue, and next February’s Pink Is for Blobfish, AND member of #TeamKrush) and her husband who shall henceforth be referred to as #NerdyPhotographer. Along with Debbie, we headed over to the high school where nErDcamp would take place starting the next day. We stopped by the rock for this photo:

nErDcamp Rock with Josh Funk
Debbie, me, & Jess

Then we headed into the school

Welcome to nErDcamp 2015
the steps into the school

where I dropped off some swag,

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast Activity Kits
Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast Activity Kits

and a little more swag,

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast Bookmarks
Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast Bookmarks

and offered (Jess and Debie) to help.

Jess Keating and Debbie Ohi breaking down boxes
Jess and Debbie breaking down boxes

We met nErDcamp co-creators/founders/planners/chairs Colby Sharp, his wife Alaina Sharp, and Suzanne Gibbs.

Jess Keating, Debbie Ohi, Colby Sharp and Josh Funk meet
Jess, Debbie, Colby, and me

[Photo by Debbie Ridpath Ohi]

We met other conference volunteers (also twitter friends) including Jen Vincent, Niki Ohs Barnes, & Ryan Hanna, before heading to the infamous Olive Garden for dinner to meet up with even more educators (also also twitter friends) Kacie Rodgers, Kurt Stroh, Sara RalphMichele Knott, Kathy Burnette, Amy RalphMichelle Simpson, Melissa GuerretteCarrie Davies, Ann King DiBella, and more!

Josh Funk at nErDcamp pre-dinner at the Olive Garden
Mingling after my eggplant parm.

[Photo by Debbie Ridpath Ohi]

While hanging out in the Hampton Inn ‘bar’ for the evening, I shared Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast with several new friends who hadn’t seen it before. I also took the opportunity to share Dear Dragon and Pirasaurs! sketches, and it was a blast to see these readers’ reactions. And then I went to bed…

only to be woken up at 6:30 by the fire alarm which quickly shut off. When it came back on for the second time three minutes later, I headed to the lobby to check it out and it (apparently it was a malfunction), but I stayed to eat breakfast, only to receive this at 7:17:

Followed by the #joshdidit hashtag starting to trend (for the record, I didn’t do it). While the alarms continued to blare on and off (until about 8:30), I split a waffle with Debbie,

Sharing a waffle with Debbie Ohi
Sharing a waffle with Debbie

and I had a nice chat with debut author Cassie Beasley (Circus Mirandus).

Cassie Beasley eating breakfast and drawing an elephant's butt
Cassie Beasley drawing an elephant’s butt

We arrived at nErDcamp and headed to the ‘Green Room’ for presenters where everyone had a fantastic gift bag filled with homemade boutonnieres that Mrs. Sharp made out of an old Robinson Crusoe text, along with a bunch of other great stuff. I met several awesome authors over the next few hours including authors Edith Cohn (Spirit’s Key), Kristen Kittscher (The Wig in the Window), Tracy Holzer (The Secret Hum of a Daisy), Erin Soderberg (The QuirksPuppy Pirates), Aaron Zenz (Chuckling Ducklings), Ruth McNally Barshaw (Ellie McDoodle Diaries), Louise Borden (Baseball Is …), Leisl Shurtliff (Rump, Jack), Laurie Keller (Arnie the Doughnut), Tricia Springstubb (Cody and the Fountain of Happiness),  Jerzy Drozd (Warren Commission Report), Lisa Graff (A Tangle of Knots), Lauren Castillo (Nana in the City), Philip C. Stead (Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat), Erin E. Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee), Matthew Cordell (Wish).

Josh Funk, Lisa Graff, Lauren Castillo, Philip C. Stead, Erin E. Stead, and Matthew Cordell at nErDcamp
me with Lisa Graff, Lauren Castillo, Philip C. Stead, Erin E. Stead, and Matthew Cordell

[Photo by Lauren Castillo]

Yeah, I managed to sneak into a picture with a few of these all-stars! Nearly 1,000 people filled the auditorium

nerdcamp auditorium
Filled to Capacity

for Nerd Talks by Ruth Ayres, Sue HaneyDonalyn Miller, Lisa Graff,

Colby Sharp Live Streaming Lisa Graff's Nerd Talk
Colby Sharp Live Streaming Lisa Graff’s Nerd Talk

and this awesome 8 minutes from Pernille Ripp,

I wasn’t scheduled until session 2, so I grabbed a quick bite to eat in the teacher’s lounge and hung out with Donalyn Miller’s awesome family. And then I led the “Picture Book Panel” featuring NINE Picture Book Pros: Miriam Busch (Lion, Lion), Larry Day (Nanook & Pryce), Matthew Cordell, Philip C. Stead, Erin Stead, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Lauren Castillo, Deb Pilutti (Ten Rules of Being a Superhero), and Matt Faulkner (A Taste of Colored Water).

#nErDcampMI Picture Book Panel
Busch, Day, Cordell, P. Stead, E. Stead, Ohi, Castillo, Pilutti, Faulkner

[Photo by Aliza Werner]
And there I am standing at the edge of Debbie’s view from between the pair of Team Caldecott:

What a thrill it was to lead this panel with such a stellar cast! And it went very well! Everyone got a chance to speak, and we even had a few laughs (I think it was with me, not at me…).

After session 2, I went to see Mr. Schu talk about his favorite books of the year so far. He started with picture books, and had so many on his list, he got as far as … some of the picture books (sorry Non-Fiction, Middle Grade, Graphic Novels).

So this post is taking forever to write, and I’ll bet almost nobody is actually reading this far, and it’s Saturday night, and my wife wants to spend some time with me (yay! she loves me!), so I think I’ll just post some pictures with captions for the rest of the way.

Donalyn Miller Mr. Schu John Schumacher
Donalyn Miller & Mr. Schu

Picture by Debbie Ohi
Jess Keating Troublemaker Jess Keating as Lauren Castillo’s Troublemaker

Photo by Debbie Ohi

colby sharp, lauren castillo, mr schu john schumacher, travis jonker, team81
#Team81 (Colby, Lauren, Schu, & Travis Jonker)
Publishing Panel
Publishing Panel Closer Up (I’m drinking water)
Nerd Camp Publishing Panel
Ruth McNally Barshaw’s amazing sketch of everyone on the publishing panel! We got #Barshawed!
Josh Funk Jennifer L. Holm
Jennifer L. Holm, bunny ears, and me

Nerds in a Car Josh Funk Lauren Castillo Debbie Ohi
Nerds in a Car (me, Lauren Castillo, Debbie Ohi, Jason Lewis, Melissa Guerrette, Lesley Burnap)
Melissa Guerrette & Jillian Heise being suspicious
Everyone at Dinner After Day 2

So, all in all, nErDcamp was amazing. I met so many awesome educators and authors and friends.

I’ll end with this tweet (you may recognize one of the images):

See you next summer!

13 thoughts on “nErDcamp rEcap

  1. Thanks for sharing, Josh! Thank you for taking the time to be at nErD Camp and sharing with all of us! It was an amazing two days. Nerd Camp Junior with the kids was magical! By the way, I read the entire post!

    Liked by 1 person

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