100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

At Episode 100, Let’s Get Busy Looks Back

If the children’s literature podcast Let’s Get Busy were a person, it would be wizened and wise by now, with a flowing white beard and a twinkle in its eye.

That’s because the podcast, created by teacher-librarian Matthew Winner, has reached the impressive mark of 100 episodes. To note the occasion, I asked centenarian-by-association Winner to take a look back…

1. Matthew Winner! Is there an interview that didn’t go how you thought it would? Who and why?

I interviewed Matt Faulkner for his graphic novel, Gaijin: American Prisoner of War (Listen HERE).

The content of the story is challenging and it was one of my favorite graphic novels of 2014. Taking on such a dark and seldom discussed part of America’s history and doing it in such a way that we are affected by the reading experience was something special and lasting. But what I didn’t expect was to talk with Matt for nearly two hours over Skype about his family’s history, the events that inspired Gaijin, and where we go from here. I only used a portion of the recorded conversation for the podcast episode, but what I cut was nothing short of a genuine connection with this amazing and talented creator of stories for children. If you ever brush shoulders with Matt Faulkner, be sure to give yourself time to fall into a deep, introspective conversation with him, undoubtedly juxtaposed with an admiration for other luminaries in the kidlit field, including especially school librarians.

2. Do you have a blogging studio? Closet? Nook? Where do you do this thing, and can we see a photo?

I do most of my interviews after our 4-year-old son goes to bed. And because we live in an old house and I can’t seem to talk in a hushed tone when speaking with podcast guests (or so my wife pokes fun as she smiles at me), I tend to record in the room furthest from Jonah’s bedroom. That happens to be our family room on a couch facing some large windows looking out into our backyard. The wall behind me is covered in art Jonah has made at PreSchool or with me. I’ve always got a glass of water on the floor beside me and a heap or resources relating to the podcast guest on the cushion next to me. Earbuds and podcast journal for feverishly scribing notes are both a must.

3. What has been the most surprising thing to have happened as a result of Let’s Get Busy?

I’m actually surprised to find that people are listening.

You may recall, Travis, that way back at ALA 2013 in Chicago you and I were sharing drinks with a couple of our closest pals and you asked me, “What’s next?” I mentioned wanting to create a kidlit podcast that mirrored the casual format of The Nerdist and captured those conversations we librarian-types love having with author and illustrators where you hear them share a cool story or anecdote and you forever link them with and admire them for that story or experience. And then I thought, “Yeah, but who’s going to want to talk to me?”

A hundred episodes in and nearly a year and a half later it still surprises and flatters me to discover what ears the podcast is reaching. I love that so many authors, illustrators, cartoonists, and publishers are listening, along with all of our library tribe, because it feels to me like the conversations are helping to build a bridge between this mutual admiration society and creating new opportunities for us to engage with on another. The true strength of this podcast is the way that fanboys and fangirls of children’s literature, of which I consider myself as well, have helped give this podcast a life of its own and reach homes and studios and classrooms in so many corners of the globe.

4. Dream guest? Guests?

I shared dinner with Pete the Cat co-creator Eric Litwin last year before the Read Aloud Delaware conference.

It was an amazing conversation and I found myself asking him candid questions and, basically, falling into a podcast interview. The guy even sang to me, which I’m sure is not that uncommon given his passion for songwriting, but it was definitely a moment. I wish I had recorded the conversation. I’d definitely like to see if he’ll join me in the future, but the man is BUSY! (And this is coming from the guy who named his blog The Busy Librarian.)

It’s been fun to nerd out over different picture books and graphic novels and middle grade novels, and then tweet out my book love to their creators. A lot of times those interactions become future podcast guests and it’s hard to hide my enthusiasm when we finally get to have our chat for the podcast. I am very thankful and feel blessed to have the opportunity to speak to so many talented people creating so much wonder for our readers.

5. How has your approach to podcasting changed? Did you get into it with ideas of how it would go? How have those changed?

The only rule I’ve made for myself is NO EDITING. That said, I experienced my first explicit-tagged episode a couple months ago with Drew Daywalt (Listen HERE). It was kinda awesome, but maybe for an unexpected way. It just felt to me like Drew was letting his guard down and speaking without a filter, something I really value in these conversations.

My process of producing the podcast has become tighter with experience, but I still like the thrill of not really knowing where the conversation is going to go. I’ve also increased my publishing schedule from once a week to twice weekly in order to accommodate a greater number of guests and it’s worked out really great. There are things I would change, mainly improvements to the recording equipment to get a higher quality recording, but for now I think the earnestness and energy of the conversations goes a long way.

6. Does your intro music ever get stuck in your head? I get that a lot.

That song has been stuck in my head since the first time I heard it. I was browsing royalty free music and came upon this track called “Four, Floss, Five, Six” by Blue Ducks (More music HERE). I’ve even sung the music to friends when they’ve asked about the podcast. Pretty catchy and I’ve started using some of this other tracks under the sponsor promos.

7. Future talk. Where does the pod go from here?

I’m not sure, but I’m excited to see! I’ve got lots of names I’d love to see on the line-up for upcoming episodes and a good number of guests already lined up to support their book releases in 2015. But if the sky is the limit, but I’d love to organize an actual kickball game with some of these kidlit notables at an upcoming ALA or AASL or SCWBI conference, or the like. We could break into teams, put some major talent on the logo designs, and maybe even raise some funds to donate to a worthy literary cause.

That’s an event that should happen.

Thanks for taking my Qs, Matthew. Here’s to 100 more episodes!

Check out the rest of the Let’s Get Busy Podcast blog tour:

Wed. Nov. 19 – Picturebooking Podcast

Sat. Nov. 22 – The Library Fanatic

Sun. Nov. 23 – Laurie Ann Thompson

Mon. Nov. 24 – Here

Tue. Nov. 25 – LGBPodcast via McSpedden Elementary Library blog

Wed. Nov. 26 – Writer Side Up

Thu. Nov. 27 – Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Fri. Nov. 28 – Brain Burps About Books

Sat. Nov. 29 – LGBPodcast via Aimee Winner

Mon. Dec. 1 – A Fuse #8 Production

Tue. Dec 2. – LGBPodcast via Carter Higgins

Wed. Dec. 3 – GreenRow Books

Let’s Get Busy podcast – http://lgbpodcast.blogspot.com/
The Busy Librarian blog – http://www.busylibrarian.com
LIKE the Busy Librarian on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BusyLibrarian
Follow Matthew on Twitter – @MatthewWinner

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. You know, what I’m really loving about all these great blog tour interviews is the variety of questions and info. Everyone’s asking things I really want to know and am curious about, so YAY for all that! This is so much fun. Thanks, Travis and Matthew, for another great one :)