100 Scope Notes
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Instagramming an Author Visit (Part 1): Linda Urban


It’s been a busy week around here.

By a fortuitous stroke of luck, this week our school hosted two authors in two days.

Linda Urban came Tuesday. She’s on a tour for her brand-new book, Milo Speck, Accidental Agent:

Milo Speck

It goes without saying (yet I’m saying it, what’s my problem?) that author visits go best when students are as familiar as possible with the author’s work.

This was a bit tricky, since we only had two weeks to prep (Michigan Factoid: Public school always starts the day after labor Day), but I managed to read the first chapter of Milo to all 4th graders, sent out Milo copies to classrooms, and check out all of Linda Urban’s other books to students.

Also, we made posters.

Urban Poster

I also got handy with the library windows. I’m trying out a new product this year: Crayola Window Mega Markers:

Window Markers

Here are the results:

Urban Window

We decided to try something a bit different for this visit.

Since I’ve met Linda and know how well she does with kids, I asked if she might visit our 4th grade classrooms, talk about her life as a reader and writer, and then have students put pencil to paper.

That’s exactly what happened. She talked about writing as a kid, read an excerpt from Milo Speck, and then worked with students on their writing. She had students put themselves in Milo’s shoes, describing what it would be like to shrink down to tiny size.

It was a wonderful afternoon. Two words that come to mind? Word #1: Inspiring. Word #2 Educational. *BONUS* Word #3: Fun.

Thanks for stopping by, Linda.

Oh! And I’m excited to get reading Linda’s next book (coming in April 2016) Weekends with Max and His Dad. It’s an early chapter book (the first of three) about a third grade boy navigating life with a family in transition.

Weekends with Max

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. Jim Randolph says:

    okay but how easy is it to wash of the marker stuff? thanks!

    • Travis Jonker says:

      It takes a bit of elbow grease, but I wouldn’t say it’s a big pain or anything. Last year I was using something called window chalk, and that was more difficult to take off.