Search on ....
Subscribe to SLJ
100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Off to ALA Annual 2017

Gone to ALA

I’m making my way to Chicago for the American Library Association Annual Conference. I’m planning to post a recap when I get back, but until then, I’ll be sharing the trip via Instagram and Twitter, if you want to check in there.

A Photographic Tour of My Blogging Cave

cave 1

Here’s where I do most of the work for this blog and The Yarn. Let’s have a look around. 1. This is a memento from my year on the Caldecott committee: A drawing by Brian Floca of one of the characters from Locomotive. 2. A Little Golden Book birdhouse that a co-worker gifted me. 3. […]

Ye Olde Scope Notes: Are We Sure It’s a Good Idea to Have The Cat in the Hat Teaching Nonfiction???


*Waving a rickety old cane in the air* Does it strike anyone as odd that The Cat in the Hat is now one of the most recognizable sources of factual information for children? I love the Cat in the Hat, but to put a creation of Dr. Seuss (the king of whimsically making stuff up) […]

Announcing The Yarn LIVE at ALA Annual 2017!


Last summer we tried our first LIVE episode of The Yarn. Colby and I talked to Kate DiCamillo in Orlando. We had some laughs, some awkward moments (*Note* Those were all due to me – why did we kick things off with Colby reading an entry from my diary – WHY???) Click here for Pt. 1 of […]

Exclusive Book Trailer Premiere: THE WOLF, THE DUCK, & THE MOUSE by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen


Given the critical and creative success of Extra Yarn, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, and Triangle, a new book by the team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen is reason to take notice. The Wolf, The Duck, & The Mouse is “a story about a duck and mouse who get swallowed by a wolf, and […]

The 5 Most Popular Books Featuring Diverse Characters in Our K-4 School Library

PicMonkey Collage

We’ve (okay, I’ve) been talking a lot in lately about the most popular books in our library for the 2016-17 school year. You know, picture books, chapter books, nonfiction. But then I had another idea: what about a list with just the most popular 2016-17 books that feature diverse characters? Well? Let’s see them! 5. […]

My Billboard


Occasionally when I’m feeling all lifehack-y¹ I’ll listen to the Tim Ferriss podcast. The host often asks guests what words they would put on a billboard if given the chance. This is a fun question to consider. So I thought about it. Here’s what mine would be: (I’m reaching new levels of preaching to the choir on […]

Top 10 Circulated Nonfiction of 2017

Nonfiction 2017

I messed with things again. Similar to how I tweaked our picture book list (sorry Pete), I excluded Pokemon and Minecraft from this list of the most popular nonfiction in our library this school year. The reasons are: They would crowd out just about every other book. You already know they are super popular. So […]

Notes on May 2017

Hugo Smiling

In May . . . . . . Hugo Cabret stole my smartphone. He tried FaceApp and the results were something to see. . . . a children’s book predicted the future. The Good For Nothing Button basically foretold the fidget craze. . . . I talked to Shel Silverstein. It was a pretty one-sided […]

Dan Santat Should Be in Charge of Starbucks (Among Other Things)

Rodzilla Cover

On the occasion of his latest book, Rodzilla (written by Rob Sanders) coming out earlier this month, Dan Santat kindly took a few of my questions about unicorn fraps, cardboard humans, the Caldecott Medal, and bad picture book ideas. As rare as… a unicorn. The color-changing, flavor-changing #UnicornFrappuccino—here for a limited time at participating stores.?? […]

Top 10 Circulated Chapter Books of 2017

Top 10 Chapter 2017

Last week we reviewed the 10 most popular picture books in our school library this year. But that was last week! Which chapter books are tops? T8. The BFG by Roald Dahl I’m going to go ahead and call this the Feature Film Effect. The movie released last summer generated interest, and I could feel […]

Top 10 Circulated Picture Books of 2017


The school year is ending soon – a good time to take a look at the most popular books in our K-4 school library. Today – picture books. I did something with this list – I excluded all series books (there is one sequel on here, though). Why? Because if I didn’t, the thing would be […]

Exclusive Cover Reveal: THE WORD COLLECTOR by Peter H. Reynolds

Word Collector Cover

Peter H. Reynolds always manages to walk a delicate line with his books – make that a couple lines: weighty but not weighed down. Universal yet kid-centric. No easy feat. I was happy to share the cover for Peter’s upcoming book, The Word Collector, but first – I wanted to talk to him about it. […]

100 Scope Notes Original: The Plant Who Wanted to Play the Guitar


Trying something new here – an original story. Well, not exactly original. It’s inspired by the above short film Leaf From Orange Tree Learns Guitar by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, which I first learned about while reading this. If you would like a PDF of this story, you can download it here.

The Unexpecteds: 5 Sneakily Popular Books in Our K-4 School Library This Year


Pull up a chair and enjoy a close-to-the-end-of-the-school-year staff lounge snack: Go ahead and finish off those cinnamon ones. Let’s talk about the books that got a lot of checkouts this year in my K-4 school library that you might not expect. Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur This book just keeps on circulating quietly, as […]