100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Crying Emoji: ALA Annual Recap (Part III)


Camera Tricks: ALA Annual 2015 Recap (Part I)

Raising a Lone Eyebrow: ALA Annual 2015 Recap (Part II)


My first stop was at the Park something or other Hotel to see some of the upcoming books from Scholastic. They had authors do some reader’s theater. It was a lot of fun. Here we have (left to right) Dav Pilkey, Craig Thompson, Jennifer Holm, and Jon J. Muth. acting out a scene from Holm’s upcoming graphic novel Sunny Side Up.

Pilkey is on sound effects, as Pilkey should.


It wasn’t the last I saw of the Pilk-man. A bit later in the day he was signing books with some guy who won an award this year (more on him later).

I try to keep my spy shots to a minimum – I prefer to think of authors and illustrators as people rather than zoo spectacles – but sometimes, I just have to.


And the award for Best-Dressed, Male goes to Il Sung Na, who spoke about his new book, Welcome Home, Bear.


Okay, things are about to get crazy, because Sunday was the day of the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet. This is when the folks who won Newbery or Caldecott awards back in February accept them.

You know who did a great job recapping this night? John Schumacher. Don’t miss his post, Speeches, Vines, and Photographs from the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet.

Before the festivities there was a gathering to celebrate El Deafo’s Newbery honor. Since I summoned all my skills with the english language to blurb the El Deafo ARC…


R.J. Palacio: Help me

…they took pity on me and invited me to a little toast for Cece Bell.

It was a great gathering, featuring the most incredible cake I’ve ever seen:

Photo Credit: John Schumacher

Photo Credit: John Schumacher

The problem with having a cake that represents your childhood alter ego is that eventually you will have to slice your childhood alter ego to pieces with a huge knife. As you can see from Ms. Bell, this was as difficult as you might think:


And all that remained was the fondant Phonic Ear:


It was time to head over to the banquet. Folks were handy with the typo tape:


Every year, the banquet program reflects the Caldecott winner. These Beekle-inspired booklets were perfect. Bonus points for the fact that you can separate Beekle from the program and turn him into a standee. This will be in my library in the fall.


I had to get a couple shots of where the guests of honor would be sitting:

IMG_7999.JPG IMG_8001.JPG

First up, Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat. They played a Serial inspired video of when he got “The Call” from the Caldecott committee, including the tears that followed:


Here’s the video:

…and Kwame Alexander’s video of receiving the call:


Dan Santat’s Caldecott acceptance speech was incredibly honest and heartfelt. The guy’s work ethic is famous, and it was fascinating to hear what that has been like for him personally (see: not easy). It made the medal all the more meaningful.


And there was humor as well:

And then Mr. Santat started thanking people. He thanked people talking about books online (Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, John Schumacher, Colby Sharp, Minh Le, Jennifer Reed, The Nerdy Book Club). And then he thanked me too.

My reaction could best be summed up as:


I love children’s books and the children’s book community, and for the Caldecott Medal winner to mention me by name in his speech was about as touching a professional moment as I’ve had.

Thank you, Dan.

Click below to read the entire speech:Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 5.31.30 PM

Next up was Newbery. The honor winners received their honors, and then Kwame Alexander took the podium.

Newbery Medalists: good with words.


Beginning with a quote from Oprah, and concluding with a call to action, Mr. Alexander knows how to move a room. It was a beautiful speech.

Click below to read the entire thing:

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 5.41.01 PM

Closing the evening was picture book legend Donald Crews, who talked brilliantly about his life and career. You couldn’t help but find the advice in his words:


It was great to be there.

Did I mention all this happened on my birthday? Yep, June 28. After the banquet, some pals did this for me:


It was a great day.


It’s difficult to admit this. But in the interest of packing transparency, I had to break down and bring an extra bag home. There were a few books that I just had to take.


But I’m not going to make a habit of it.

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. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this series of blog entries. It looks like an amazing time and place and group of people to spend time with.

    I’m amazed that you only came home with one extra bag of books. How did you keep from bringing home a suitcase full?

    — Tom

    • Travis Jonker says

      Thanks, Tom – I appreciate the kind words! I don’t really have a method for bringing home not many books – the small bag just sort of forces me to do it.

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