I love to read-aloud to kids. Honestly, it probably goes beyond love...I'm obsessed with it. I adore when I have to cover classes for coaches at the end of the day because it gives me a chance to share a great story with kids. When I find the right read-aloud, I could sit in front of a group of kids and read ALL DAY. So, what a treasure I found in Alan Sitomer's soon-to-be-released book Nerd Girls: Rise of the Dorkasaurus.
My copy of Nerd Girls was given to me by my good friend Linda (@linda704 on twitter-you should follow her. She's even a doctor.) She picked it up for me at the Michigan Reading Conference and had it signed by the author; I positively adore owning books signed by the author. It makes me feel so special. Anyway, soon after I arrived home from the conference, I read Nerd Girls. Oh. My. God. It is so funny. I knew immediately that this was a book I HAD to read aloud. To girls.
Luckily for me, our 6th grade has a split gender reading program. So I went into one of the all-girl classes and asked the teacher if I could use her class. That day, I began reading to the girls. They were enthralled for a couple of reasons. First of all, I showed them that the book was signed by the author. Many of the kids in my middle school have learned to get geeked out by that because I have shared so many of my signed books. Secondly, I explained to them that the book was and ARC, and advanced reader's copy. Once they understood that it didn't mean they had to be "academically gifted" (advanced) to read it, they realized it was pretty awesome that they were getting to experience this book before it ever hit the bookshelves. And thirdly, it is apparent very early on that this book is Funny. That's right, Funny with a capital "F."
It is the characters that make this story. The main character is a cynical, wry outcast. She bands together with two other outcasts to defeat the popular girls (The ThreePees) in the school talent show. It is a great story of friendship, courage, and character. It yields so many different topics to talk about with kids.
After reading the book to the girls, I showed them that many books will have short, often single sentence, reactions from readers and other popular authors. These mini-reviews help people decide if they want to read the book. Because Nerd Girls is not yet out in stores, the girls wrote their own mini-reviews. And because the girls know that I have been sharing their reactions to the book with Alan on twitter, they are pretty excited to know he'll be able to read their reactions here. So without further ado, I give you the girls!
Nerd Girls was awesome; I loved it. The book was funny and sad. Girls can relate their life with this funny spectacular book. ~Taylor M.
"Girls will laugh." ~Jade
A great book that tells the true meaning of friendship, something that not everybody really knows. GO NERD GIRLS!! ~Taylor J.
Nerd Girls is funny and the drama from the ThreePees keeps lots of readers on the edge. ~Lauren
I absolutely loved it! I can't wait to hear the others! I love it because I can relate to the Nerd Girls, I'm just glad I got to read something so interesting and funny! I hope people love this book as much as I do! Once I started reading it I couldn't wait for the next chapter to start. Outstanding! ~Serena
It was a very very good book. It kept me hanging on the edge of my seat. ~Breanna
I thought it was great. I hope to hear more and it was funny and I loved the name Nerd Girls. I loved the talent show. It was so interesting to hear what happened, so detailed and funny--that was the best part. ~Marissa
The book Nerd Girls is a very cool, funny good book. My favorite is the ending. ~Lauren
Nerd Girls was outstanding and wonderful! You will never want to stop reading it! ~Trisha
Wow! Nerd Girls was so amazing! ~Sadie
Nerd Girls rock. Girls can relate to this funny spectacular book. These girls are true dork-a-sauruses. ~Hannah
Girls will love Nerd Girls! ~Amber
Nerd Girls was really funny. I almost cried at the part....Also is was funny when the ThreePees lost....Nerd Girls put readers on their edge of their chairs because it is so funny. ~Andria (This entry edited to remove spoilers. :-D)
Nerd Girls was funny and exciting and they have a very fun adventure. ~Meagan
Nerd Girls is definitely a book I would consider reading again. It's the best book I have read in a long time and I would encourage people to read it because it was a good book and has so much understanding of girls. ~Emily
This book is brilliant. It may be by a guy but it is about girls and it is great. So when Nerd Girls is on the shelf, buy it. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat. ~Jamie
Nerd Girls was amazing and I absolutely loved how it always left you in suspense from one chapter to the next. ~Morgan
Awesome book. I loved it. It should be a series! ~Alyssa
Nerd Girls was a really great and inspiring book. I thought it was pretty funny because I've never heard a book where the main character had the same last name as me. My favorite thing about the book is that it shows "Good attitude will get you wherever you want to go." ~Kylie
Nerd Girls was a great book. It inspired me to never ever let anyone put me down and it taught me that it doesn't matter what you look like, it is what's inside that counts. ~Alexis
A funny, interesting, and disgusting story. ~Jasmine
Nerd Girls is a funny and awesome book and now I want to buy the book. Nerd Girls is the best book every. I like the part where the Nerd Girls get back at the ThreePees. ~Summer
Nerd Girls was cool. I can't wait for Nerd Girls number 2! ~Demona
I loved Nerd Girls. I can't wait for the second book to come out. I couldn't wait for Mrs. M to come back and read a chapter every day. It was the best. I want to read it again. ~Emily
Wonderful, funny, and creative. Urges readers to keep reading. ~Zoey
Aydan had two reviews to share:
Alan Sitomer has outdone himself with Nerd Girls. Once you pick it up, you won't want to put it back down. ~Aydan
Warning: This is a well-executed book with an awesome plot and hilarious characters. It also has dangerously strong powers that suck you in in the most amazing way. Be careful!! ~Aydan
And Maddie loved it so much she wrote four:
It was funny...hilarious...Nerd Girls rock. With friendship, determination, and a lot of laughs. ~Maddie
I'm gonna tell my children and grandchildren about this book for ages to come! ~Maddie
Funny. Probably the best book of all with funny characters everywhere. ~Maddie
Sitomer is a true genius, a mastermind. I can't wait for the rest of the series to come out! ~Maddie
So that is what the girls had to say. And really what can I add to that? Not a whole lot. However, if you need further proof that this was a great book, I have one more piece of evidence. I have read many books and stories aloud to students. Many that they have loved and that have caused them to want to read the book on their own. But one thing that had never happened before DID happen at the end of Nerd Girls. When I finished the last chapter, the last page, the last word, and then closed the book....the girls all began to clap. It was the first time one of my read-alouds garnered an ovation. It was so sweet and awesome that it almost made me cry. Thanks, Alan Sitomer, for a great, great book. For the opportunity to share a wonderful, relevant story with some fantastic girls. And thanks girls for being such great nerdy listeners!