Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My visit to Naperville

One of the reasons I was excited about #nErDcampMI was meeting Twitter friends, and Twitter celebrities. @MrSchuReads falls into the latter category for me. He is a school librarian from Naperville, IL. He was on the 2014 Newbery Committee that helped select Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo as the winner of the greatest prize in children's literature. He blogs at Watch.Connect.Read, featuring interviews with author/illustrators, author visits, book trailers and more. My biggest obsession is the #nerdbery challenge he started with @colbysharp, a 3rd grade teacher from Parma, Michigan and organizer of #nErDcampMI. Colby is a Twitter celebrity too, and another person I was also excited to meet. He and Colby read every Newbery winner from 1922-present. They are currently working on a Newbery Honor challenge where they each choose one Honor book to read, starting with 2014 and going backwards. The videos are posted every Saturday, and watching them is a part of my weekend routine. I created a post here with all the videos.

I'm not sure if anyone else ever feels this way, but I kind of felt like a creepy stalker on Twitter, following Mr. Schu's every Tweet, favoring and retweeting most of what he posted. My opinion of him as a celebrity made me nervous to meet him.  I should not have been nervous.  He knew who I was immediately, and after talking to him for just 20 minutes, I could tell that he was a kind and wonderful person, definitely living up to his persona online. He even signed my copy of The One and Only Ivan. I found out about this wonderful book from Mr. Schu and he is definitely an ambassador for the book. Read his Nerdy Book Club post today where he introduces the trailer for the nonfiction companion, Ivan: the remarkable true story of the shopping mall gorilla.

After leaving Michigan, we planned to travel to Wisconsin for a wedding, stopping by Chicago for one day on the way. What a perfect opportunity to visit Mr. Schu's hometown, Naperville, IL.  The weather when we got there was perfect, especially for a North Carolina girl used to 90+ degrees and extreme humidity.

Anderson's Bookshop is the store where Mr. Schu buys all his books. I can't tell you how excited I was to see this sign.

Children's book display on pirates.

I decided to bring everyone back books as souvenirs. I wanted to find Squish #6: Fear the Amoeba for Charlotte. Sadly, they didn't have a copy.  Of course being at Anderson's made me wonder about Mr. Schu. I did tweet very excitedly that we were there.  I was going back to the children's section and who did I see? Mr. Schu.  And he gave me a copy of the Squish book I had just asked for in the store!  Of course, everyone knew Mr. Schu, and I found out he even gets mail at Anderson's! 

Carolyn and I both read Squish on the way home. I knew my 8-year old would LOVE it and we wouldn't get to read it once she had it. When we got home and I gave it to her, Charlotte jumped up and down yelling, "It's Squish."

I am very lucky because Mr. Schu is scheduled to present at the North Carolina School Library Media Association conference in October. The conference will be held in Winston-Salem, NC, where I was born and grew up. I know Mr. Schu will be busy, but I hope to treat him to lunch or dinner, and spend some more time talking with him. He is definitely still a Twitter celebrity, but he is also a friend.


  1. I know just how you feel -- one of the primary reasons I wanted to go to nErDcampMI was to hang out with all those people whose blogs and tweets I read obsessively. I can't wait until next year.

    1. Me too Paige! I was glad for the chance to chat with you. See you at NCSLMA in October.