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100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Instagramming an Author Visit: Arnie the Doughnut Creator Laurie Keller

This week author-illustrator Laurie Keller (she of Arnie the Doughnut fame) paid a visit to my school. I have the photos to prove it.

Usually I put a visiting author’s name up on the marquee outside. But with knee-deep (nay, waist-deep) snow, that was a no-go. So, as a show of goodwill toward Ms. Keller, here are the giant plastic letters I would have used arranged to look like a heart.

Alright. Let’s talk prep.

Morning doughnuts for the staff? Check.

(note: this is a complete and utter doughnut re-creation – the actual doughnuts were not photographed)

(Doughnut photo: A Dozen Doughnuts from Krispy Kreme by sameold2012 via Flickr

Bulletin board? Check.

We had students create their own Arnie the Doughnuts.

I whipped up a few giant book covers to display.

Easel ready.

Backup easel ready.

Backup projector ready.

Books to be signed ready.

Window chalk welcome ready.

It’s showtime. Laurie did a great job, starting things off with the tooth pledge from Open Wide: Tooth School Inside.

Laurie talked about her life leading up to becoming an author. Note to those doing author visits – pictures of your drawings from 1st grade are a plus.

Here she is talking about how she thought up The Scrambled States of America as she was falling asleep.

After talking about the process of writing, it was time to draw.

Laurie walked students through Arnie and an otter (from her book Do Unto Otters). I joined in. I realized in this process that otters would make the world’s worst soccer players.

Possibly the best part of the drawing segment was when Laurie showed students the secret behind cartoon expressions. A couple slight changes to eyebrows, eyelids, and mouths can create the range of emotions.

Students had a chance to share their work.

A great day. Now we get to decide how to divvy up the drawings.

Many thanks to Laurie Keller for visiting and my school district for making it happen.

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, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. My son loves this book and enjoyed your post. He’s in 3rd grade.

  2. I love Laurie!!! What a great document of what looks like a fabulous visit.

  3. Love how interactive this visit was with all of the kids drawing! Looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

  4. This was very informative and super fun to see. Lots of prep and it looks like it turned out great. I’m inspired!

  5. What a fun – and awesomely prepared – day! Jake and I want to come to Mr. Jonker’s class! Best, Janet Tashjian

  6. Christina Cucci says:

    Such a great preview- we will have Laurie Keller visit NJ in April, so excited to meet her!