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Sherri Winston at NerdCamp

Humbling, inspiring, motivating and invigorating—that’s Nerd Camp, baby.


Picture hundreds and hundreds of book-starved educators prowling the grounds in search of storytellers and picture makers. Splash that thought with an array of neon colors and literary lust to rival Grateful Dead fandom, and that pretty much describes the two-and-a-half days I spent in Michigan for the literary feast known as Nerd Camp.


Day One felt a lot like the first day of school. I didn’t know anyone. Everybody appeared paired off. And I felt out of place. But I gave her the best presentation I knew how to give.


Day Two went better. Over a potluck in a small teacher’s lounge, I had the chance to talk about my insecurities as a burgeoning illustrator with presenters from the previous morning. Anne and Jerzy Drozd, author-illustrators of Science Comets Rockets, shared tips from their amazing collaboration. So did Judd Winnick, (Hilo).


And just like that, I wasn’t an outsider anymore. I was sitting with the cool kids, sharing ideas and information. The campus of the Michigan high school where we were located was taken over by over a thousand students. I had fourth graders. They’re the best, in case you’re wondering.

Sigh! Before we knew it, the experience came to an end. Emails were exchanged. Hugs, too. Next time …I’ll be brave.


Sherri Winston, author, President of the Whole Sixth Grade—Girl Code, author-illustrator of Jada Sly/Artist + Spy (Spring 2019)




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