100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

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.

Javaka Steptoe and Matthew Cordell: A Caldecott Conversation

Caldecott Conversation

Today we have something special. Our past two Caldecott Medal winners, Javaka Steptoe (Radiant Child) and Matthew Cordell (Wolf in the Snow) interviewing each other about their lives, work, and how the most prestigious award in picture books has changed their lives. Over the last couple months, Steptoe and Cordell traded questions and responses. Here […]

Review: Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi


Meet Yasmin! By Saadia Faruqi Illustrated by Hatem Aly Capstone ISBN: 9781684360222 $5.95 Grades K-2 Out Now Find it at: Schuler Books | Your Library Ah those well-crafted transitional books can be hard to pin down. Elusive, aren’t they? When you spot a good one, you hold onto it. You tell people about it. Meet Yasmin! […]

Boys Who Boo Books


Shannon Hale had a great piece about gender and books in the Washington Post, and it had me thinking about something happening in my K-4 school library this week . . . The Scholastic book fair is an annual event in my school. Every year they send an author video so kids can find out […]

Mark Pett’s Epic Twitter Thread about How He Illustrated The Very Last Castle


Earlier today Mark Pett took us behind the scenes of his illustration process for The Very Last Castle. As is typical for picture books, Mark and I weren’t in contact during the process, so a whole bunch of what he shared was completely new to me. If you’re a fan of illustration, you’ll be into […]

16 Randomly Random Facts About The Very Last Castle


The Very Last Castle, written by me and illustrated by the great Mark Pett arrives today. I hope you get a chance to read it. It received a starred review from Kirkus, and it was selected as a Best Book of the Month at Amazon. You can find it at these locations: McLean & Eakin | […]

Review: Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins


Stumpkin By Lucy Ruth Cummins Atheneum (Simon & Schuster) ISBN: 9781534413627 $17.99 Grades K-2 Out Now Find it at: Schuler Books | Your Library If you read to kids a lot then you know the power of the great season-specific book. For most of these sorts of titles, the main draw is that it’s about […]

Children’s Literature Gothic


On Thursday I interviewed Kate DiCamillo on stage for the opening session of the Heartland Fall Forum (which is a show for Midwest booksellers). It was a good time. Afterward, I asked for a picture, and Kate said we should do “American Gothic”. How’d we do?

I Just Planned Your Whole VERY LAST CASTLE Story Time

The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker and Mark Pett

Mark Pett and I made a picture book that comes out on Oct. 9th. It’s called The Very Last Castle and it’s about bravery. Nice things have been said about it. If you’d like to use it during story time, just follow my patented (pending) five step plan . . . STEP #1: GRAB THE […]

I Asked Shel Silverstein About the Meaning of Life . . .

Shel Brood

*Knock* *Knock* *Knock* Hello? Shel? (Door swings open) Hey, Shel. Sorry to bother you. I know you’re brooding right now, but I was hoping you could answer a question for me. Shel? If you come on the deck and listen to my question, I promise I won’t make you sit in a chair. Manspread to […]

Review: Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak

Do Not Lick This Book

Do Not Lick This Book By Idan Ben-Barak Illustrated by Julian Frost Photos by Linnea Rundgren Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781250175366 $16.99 Grades K-3 Out Now Find it at: Schuler Books | Your Library The phrase “mind-blowing” seems to have lost all meaning in these hyperbolic times we live in, but it’s appropriate to […]

One Star Review Guess Who? (#73)

One Star Review Guess Who

Can you guess the classic children’s book by its scathing one-star review on Goodreads or Amazon? To be completely honest, I did not enjoy this story. For the children that this book was meant for, it teaches them that it is acceptable to throw a fit if they do not have their favorite toy or […]

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Nikki Tesla and the Ferrett-Proof Death Ray by Jess Keating


Jess Keating has a new series starting up in 2019 called The Elements of Genius. Today I can share the cover for the first book, Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray. But before we get gawking, I had to ask Jess a few questions . . . Travis: What was the spark (that was […]

Exclusive Book Trailer Premiere: The Wall in the Middle of The Book by Jon Agee


Jon Agee’s been making great picture books for a long time and I’m pleased to be able to share the book trailer for his latest, The Wall in the Middle of the Book. It’s a bit of a meta departure for Agee, but he pulls it off with flying colors – the book will make […]

Predictions! New York Times Best Illustrated 2018


When it comes to predicting New York Times Best Illustrated winners, I’ve had my up years – who can forget 2014 when I went three for ten (wait, you forgot? Well, I remember)? I’ve also had my down years (let’s never speak of 2016 again). But what about this year? Time to get predicting. Related […]

What’s the Children’s Lit EGOT?


Recently, John Legend joined what might be the most exclusive club in show biz – people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award, also called an E.G.O.T. It made me wonder what the children’s book equivalent of an EGOT is, and of course, who is in the club. The awards would have […]