Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Review of Nerd Camp

Author:  Elissa Brent Weissman

A Maine Student Book Award Selection 2012-13

Ages 8 and up (from the publisher)

Ten year old Gabe has always dreamed of having a sibling. Now that his father is getting remarried, he is certain that he and his new step-brother Zack will become great friends.  

Gage is an exceptionally intelligent boy who loves school and learning. He loves learning so much that he applied to a summer enrichment camp for "gifted" students.  When Gabe meets Zack he thinks he is just about the coolest kid he has ever met.   He oozes coolness with his middle school attitude and cool clothes. So when Gage discovers that Zack makes fun of brainy "nerds", he decides to try to conceal any of his "geeky" tendencies.  These scenes are very funny.  

When Gabe shares that he is going to sleep-away summer camp, Zack is very impressed and even envious.  Gabe, however, does not share that at this camp the campers will write poetry, do science experiments and memorize digits of pi just for fun.  

Gabe has an absolute blast at camp.  He is in his element with his fellow nerds and makes some great friends. He has promised to write letters to Zack telling him everything. But, in his letters he gives Zack the impression that the camp is a typical summer camp with swimming, arts and crafts, and campfires each night.  Zack writes back with such messy handwriting and atrocious spelling that Gabe is embarrassed to show his friends. 

This is a wonderful story of self-acceptance.  Throughout the book Gabe starts to look at himself through Zack's eyes.  The reader will wonder if Gabe is going to learn to accept his nerdy self and show Zack who he really is.

You don't have to be a nerd to enjoy reading Nerd Camp.  Although there is a bit of a summer romance subplot, I would recommend it for grades 3-6.  It would also make a great read aloud. 

So pack your sleeping bags, grab your pocket protectors and head to Nerd Camp!

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