100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Instagramming ALA Annual 2013: Part I

How did we end up here, with me sticking my head out of a hole to pay tribute to Randolph Caldecott? Let’s start at the beginning.

This past weekend I aggressively underpacked, saddled up my trusty metal steed and lit out for the bustling metropolis of Chicago and the American Library Association Annual Conference. For me it was especially exciting because my Caldecott committee would be meeting and discussing books for the first time.

Rumor has it (oh, all right, fact has it) that 26,000 or so attendees descended upon the city. I’m calling Guinness to see if we can get the conference certified as the world’s largest ever collection of “cat people”.

Speaking of large groups of people, it just so happens that that (warning: rare sports reference ahead) the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup this year and their victory parade was on the Friday of the conference. Two million fans came out to watch. I arrived in the afternoon and missed the celebration, but there were telltale signs everywhere.

That is indeed a statue of a lion wearing a hockey helmet. It’s at the Art Institute. Made me wonder if they’ve ever tried to clothe/protect the skulls of New York Public Library lions Patience and Fortitude. That’s a Fuse #8 Production question, I suppose.

After arriving and checking into the first hotel to feature negative square footage, the first stop was a gathering to remember Peter D. Sieruta, the prolific writer, reviewer, fellow Michigander, and Collecting Children’s Books blogger who passed away last year. It was great to learn more about a guy so many of us looked up to.

Okay folks – this is where things get a bit crazy for a minute. Through some stroke of fate I managed to be invited to a dinner organized by Candlewick Press and featuring Kate DiCamillo. It was also my birthday. The quick wit that I am, I didn’t realize that I was sorta “having birthday dinner with Kate DiCamillo” (this is a stretch, but let’s go for it) until a friend pointed it out about 30 minutes beforehand. It was a great time. Afterward I asked for a picture with Ms. DiCamillo, which turned out like this:

Not included is my thought bubble that read, “Newbery winner using my knee as a chair. I shall remember this fondly.”

Hmm. Where to go from this last picture?


Break it into two parts?

Look for the second installment of ALA Instagramming coming soon.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Awesome start to ALA 2013! How can you top Kate DiCamillo sitting on your knee?! :)

  2. Now you’ve done an excellent job of making us all wish we were not only there, but also making us all wish we had traveled with you.

    Thank you for the pictures, Travis.

  3. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says:

    I buzzed around the exhibit hall, my binoculars fixed on (1) advanced review copies and (2) authors. Glad someone had some self-control and attended some meetings.

  4. I suspect Fuse 8 will tell you that Patience and Fortitude are considered too fragile even to wear holly wreathes. Chicago can exult in being tougher. (You should have seen the Bears jersey on the veloceraptor skeleton on the Field lawn…)

    • Travis Jonker says:

      I’m honored to receive a rare Fuse #8’s mom comment! Good point – I can see where the stone lions of the NYPL might not be up for the rigor of wearing a hockey helmet. File under: sentences I never thought I’d write. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Loved this post Travis! Can’t wait to read the next installment.

  6. Travis – What a great way to do your post. Love it and looking forward to part II.

  7. Travis Jonker says:

    Thanks, everyone!

  8. What a great time it was! It was good to see you, Travis! Looking forward to seeing what books you and the committee pick!

  9. Whoa. Beaten in the comment section by my own mom. That’s a first! She’s right, though. I once stumbled on the secret room where they keep the oversized hats. It’s fairly fantastic.

  10. Allison says:

    Hey Travis, I’m enjoying your posts on the ALA! SO cool about Kate DiCamillo (and even that feels like an understatement!). Happy Birthday. Between you and Jules I really wish I was there!