Friday, March 17, 2017

Michigan KidLit Advocate Interview: Colby Sharp

If you've spent any amount of time in the KidLitosphere, you've likely noticed certain bloggers popping up time and again. They're passionate about bringing quality literature to kids and deeply involved in the overlapping communities of writers and illustrators, teachers and librarians. And maybe, like me, you're curious to know more about their lives beyond their blogs, especially the ones that live in Michigan. So, today we have the first of our Michigan KidLit Advocate Interviews. Introducing Colby Sharp!

Tell us a little about yourself and describe a typical day or week.
I teach third grade in Parma, Michigan. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I go straight from school to my daughters' gymnastics class. On those days we get home around 9:45. I coach a fourth grade Destination Imagination team that meats Thursday after school. I am blessed to have days filled with things I love to do. 

My wife and I had our fifth kid in February, so right now we are just trying to survive.

Yes, dear readers, I've already apologized to Colby for unknowingly asking for an interview as he was expecting his fifth child! He was very gracious. Onward. You're involved in some special projects that have grown and attracted a passionate following. Tell us more about the Nerdy Book Club and Nerd Camp.
The Nerdy Book Club is a blog that I co-founded with Donalyn Miller. We started it because we were hoping to create a list of book awards filled with books that our students would love. People seemed excited, so we decided to keep it going. We asked our community what they wanted on the site, and we developed a weekly schedule around their feedback.

Nerd Camp is an extension of Nerdy Book Club. It is sort of like our annual meeting. Last year we had people from more than 35 states come to Parma for camp.

Authors and illustrators can contribute by writing a post for Nerdy Book Club (You can find a link on the site to sign up). Everyone is welcome to come to Nerd Camp, and we'd love to have anyone that cares about reading and books to join us. 

You also manage your own blog, Sharpread. What are your time management secrets?  How do you keep up with all of this wonderful work on top of full-time teaching?
I try to only do things I enjoy doing. Lately, I've been following the work of The Minimalists. They've helped me see the importance of only having things in your life that bring you joy. Life is too short to do things that don't make you smile. 

What are you looking forward to?
I'm really looking forward to publishing my first book: The Creativity Project (Little Brown, 2018). It is almost done, and I can't wait to hold it in my arms, and share it with kids. 

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for us, Colby, and congrats on your two new babies - your first book baby and your fifth child. :)

Coming up on the Mitten Blog: Join us next Friday for another Michigan KidLit Advocate Interview. Who will it be? And then we'll wrap up the month with another dose of inspiration from our quarterly Hugs and Hurrahs. We want to trumpet your success! Please send your writing/illustrating/publishing good news to Patti Richards by March 28th.

Kristin Lenz


  1. I love this kid advocate series already! Thank you Mr. Sharp and thank you Kristin. We are proud to say Nerd Camp started here in Michigan and it's spreading like wildfire!

    SCBWI-Michigan co RA

  2. Great interview. Colby, your camp sounds fantastic. And I signed up for the Minimalists. Just what I need. Congrats on your new book!

  3. Great to meet [meat] Colby Sharp and learn about his passion for literacy he shares with his students. The blessing of a child is special. Thank you for finding some time for an interview on The Mitten.

    ~Suzy Leopold

  4. Great post! Nice to learn more about Colby and Nerd Camp!

  5. Thanks, Colby & Kristin! Nice to hear that he has a book coming out, as well as a passel of kids. Love it!