Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Nerd Camp

Nerd Camp

Elissa Brent Weissman
For ages 9 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2011   ISBN: 144241703X

Gabe is a nerd, and he is quite happy with this status. A few kids at school are unkind to him and his kind, but he has friends and supportive grownups in his life, so he doesn’t let it bother him much. Then Gabe meets his soon-to-be stepbrother. Zack is a super cool California dude who doesn’t read books, and who makes fun of nerds when Gabe meets him for the first time. Gabe cannot help worrying about what Zack will think when he finds out that Gabe is a geek, a nerd of the highest order.

Gabe is thrilled when he is accepted into the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. What could be better than going to a camp that is full of nerds who are like him! He will not only go to classes, but he will be able to try many other activities as well.

When Gabe gets to the camp, he soon makes friends with his bunkmates, and the camp lives up to all his expectations. Everything should be perfect, but a cloud persists in hanging over Gabe. What would Zack think of this camp with its geeky campers and its Logical Reasoning and Poetry Writing classes? Try as he might not to be a nerd, Gabe cannot help enjoying being around people who are like him and who think that it is “cool” to learn all the numbers in Pi. Will Zack be able to accept Gabe for who and what he is?

In this delightfully enjoyable and thoughtful book, Elissa Brent Weissman explores what it means to be true to oneself. All too often, children feel compelled to be someone else. They are convinced that they are not cool enough, not hip enough, not popular enough. As they read this book, readers they will see how important it is to accept who you really are, and celebrate it.