100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Our 2019 Mock Caldecott Program

Mock Caldecott 2019

Once November hits I feel the need. The need for Mock Caldecott. I’m just hoping my new prop arrives in time. I’ve talked about it in the past, but it seems like every year we’re tweaking things. Here’s how we’re doing things this year at my K-4 elementary school. Week 1 I introduce the Caldecott. […]

Gallery: NYT Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2018


or How Did Travis Do with His Predictions? I correctly predicted two of the Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2018 (The Visitor and Dreamers). I was this close to adding Funeral (but I didn’t) and The Forest (that one really should have been on my list). But those are just the sad whinings of a […]

Notes on October 2018


In October . . . . . . our last two Caldecott medalists talked about Caldecott-y stuff. Matthew Cordell and Javaka Steptoe had a Caldecott Conversation. . . . some boys booed some books. Say it with me: whatever you like to read is okay. . . . Shel Silverstein shared the meaning of life. Weirdly, it’s my […]

5 Things That’ve Happened with The Very Last Castle (And a Special Giveaway)

Kid Note

The Very Last Castle was published on October 9. All kinds of completely cool and unexpected and heart-wrenchingly kind things have happened since then. Thank you. Thank you. I mean it. It means a lot. Here’s what I’m going to do: put all that stuff in this post and then if you want to check […]

Hi, M.A.M.E.


‘Tis an honor to present some of my favorite books of 2018 at the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) annual conference. Click here for the handout. Click here for the slides.

Name That LEGO Book Cover! (#9)

LEGO 9-1

I used this website to (virtually) create 3 LEGO book covers. They’re listed from least challenging to most challenging – see how many you can name. #1: Answer #2: Answer #3: Answer How’d you do? Previously . . . Name That LEGO Book Cover! (#1) Name That LEGO Book Cover! (#2) Name That LEGO Book Cover! (#3) […]

Will There Ever Be Another Repeat Caldecott Medalist?


Here’s the list of people who have won more than one Caldecott Medal (just talking Medals here, not Honors): Chris Raschka: 2012, 2006 David Wiesner: 2007, 2002, 1992 Chris Van Allsburg: 1986, 1982 Marcia Brown: 1983, 1962, 1955 Barbara Cooney: 1980, 1959 Leo & Diane Dillon: 1977, 1976 Nonny Hogrogian: 1972, 1966 Robert McCloskey: 1958, […]

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 […]

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 | […]

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 […]

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 […]