100 Scope Notes
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10 Years of Scope Notes: 6 Posts That Died In the Drafts Folder (And Why)

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November 9th marks the 10th anniversary of 100 Scope Notes. Seems like a good time to take a look back, a look forward, and reflect on how the heck this thing is still going.

Previously . . .

10 Years of Scope Notes: Reader Poll Results

10 Years of Scope Notes: Origin Story

Some blog post just never quite work out. This can happen for a bunch of reasons, but it always comes with a slight feeling of disappointment and “Maybe when I’m older and wiser I’ll crack it” thoughts. For kicks, I went into my drafts folder and pulled out five blog post ideas that I like, yet have languished.

I am officially giving you permission to use any and all of these.

What Your Favorite Children’s Book Says About You

This was going to be a post where I tried to assign personality traits to people based on their love of certain books. Somewhere in my internet wanderings I saw a post that tried something like this for grown-up books and thought it would be pretty funny to try it with books for children. But like a few never-saw-the-light-of-day posts over the history of this blog, it felt sort of mean as I started to write it (“Oh you like Where the Wild Things Are? You’re a hipster” and so on). There’s enough mean stuff on the internet. I saw recently that Bustle did a version of this type of post for YA if you’re curious.

Departure Time: When Famous Children’s Lit Authors Get Crazy

Sounds like fun, right? The oddball books that children’s lit heavies have produced (I’m thinking books like Return to Auggie Hobble by Lane Smith). Why didn’t I follow through? I didn’t feel like I had enough good examples to make it post-worthy. Post-worthy is a thing. To write a blog is to always have a mental threshold that a post must exceed in order to make it worth publishing. If you can’t come up with enough examples of a certain thing, it simply can’t go out in the world. Now, of course there are plenty of examples of children’s lit departures, but holding this sort of information in my head has never been a strong suit of mine. Hence, no post.

. . . and they did.

You’ve noticed that like a million picture books end with this phrase, right? This post was just going to be photos of every book that ends with “and they did”. That’s all. Sort of a pointless jab at a children’s lit trope. And pointless often leads to the demise of a post.

Working Titles of Famous Children’s Books

Wouldn’t this be a fun post to read? I want to read it. But I can’t make it. Too much research. Person reading this who is going to take this idea and turn it into a real post: here’s your start – the working title of Where the Wild Things Are was Where the Wild Horses Are.

Smoking, Drinking, and Not Wearing Your Helmet: You Can’t Do That in a Children’s Book

I think the controversy over The Scarecrow’s Wedding was the spark for this post idea about all the bad/dangerous stuff that used to be in children’s books (which occasionally still pops up now and then today). Similar to the last post idea, this one was just going to take too much leg work. Realizing this, I was impressed when A Fuse #8 Production recently posted about guns in children’s books, with all sorts of examples and great accompanying words about the topic.

Cheap Children’s Literature Knock-Offs

Okay this was going to be one of my “humorous” posts where my goal is to coax as many “heh”s as I could. The idea was to offer my services at creating a bunch of lame-sounding books that are kind of like real books that are popular. So a historical fiction series similar to I Survived called I Almost Died. And an interactive picture book like Press Here called Touch This. You know, stuff like that. But even I have comedy standards and it was just not really funny enough to warrant a post.

There we have it – six ideas that ended up on the cutting room floor.

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. Boy, I love this post. I have drafts and drafts of stuff that just dies on the vine, for many of the reasons you’ve listed here. The worst is when you’re halfway through a post and you realize that it just isn’t working. Do you bail or do you turn in a half-hearted effort? Ugh.