Michael's Musings

Teacher Tuesday #5: Mr. Sharp

(Teacher Tuesday is a weekly feature in which I recognize someone who contributed to my education as a writer and human being.)

It’s a new year, and I’m back after a one-week hiatus for the holidays. I’m going to start things up with a profile I’ve been eager to write since I came up with this feature. I met this teacher online, through Goodreads and Twitter, when I was first beginning to promote my debut novel, Latasha and the Little Red Tornado. His name is Mr. Colby Sharp, and I am lucky to count him as a friend.

Me and Mr. Sharp

I remember, back in August of 2011, reading reviews on Goodreads of a book that had been compared favorably to mine — this fun novel by Erica S. Perl called When Life Gives You O.J. (which might end up as a FridayReads post down the line). I spotted Colby’s five-star rating, remembered that I’d also seen him review it on his blog, Sharpread, and decided to reach out.

Mr. Sharp ended up giving Latasha a really nice review on Sharpread — one of the kindest I’ve ever received, actually. Later, on October 14, 2011, I paid a visit to his school (documented here). In March 2012, I visited again over Skype for World Read Aloud day — fitting, since Colby also introduced me to the very idea of doing a Skype visit, back in our very first conversation on Goodreads.

Mr. Sharp has been a significant booster for my work. However, while I’m forever appreciative of that, it’s not the main reason I’m driven to write about him today. I want to write about Colby for all the things he does for folks besides myself.

For what he does for students — namely, instilling a lifelong passion for reading. Take Exhibit A, my favorite teaching video ever made:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aiu6ujRmal0?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

(If you’re reading this from Goodreads and the embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

I admire Mr. Sharp for the work he does building a reading community online. Take Exhibit B:

Nerdy Book Club

He co-founded the Nerdy Book Club, which is populated daily by member posts about all sorts of booky things. (I’ve had the pleasure of posting there twice, about reading aloud and Dear Mr. Henshaw. It’s an extremely valuable resource for book lovers; if you are a book nerd like me, subscribe — and maybe offer to share something.

Mr. Sharp is very active on Twitter as well (@colbysharp), where he book-talks like mad and also co-hosts #titletalk, which is held on the last Sunday of each month. (Exception: you can tune in this Sunday evening, 1/6.)

So, for this and more, I’d like to thank Mr. Sharp. Thanks for making me feel like what I do is not just entertaining but important, and thanks for inspiring me to think about how I can go further in helping kids. He is one of those people who just can’t help but lift up those around him.

(Oh, and double-thanks for introducing me to the Origami Yoda books! My cousins who’ve received the Angleberger catalog for various special occasions thank you, too!)

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