100 Scope Notes
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Instagramming an Author Visit: Aaron Zenz


Last week author/illustrator Aaron Zenz visited our school. Let this web log post serve as the photographic evidence.

ZENZ Board

Librarians/teachers out there: now that I’ve hosted a few visits, I can say with confidence that student prep is the make or break factor when an author comes to town. Should I chart it out? Okay, I’ll chart it out:

Author Visit Success

(I don’t think this is how you actually make this sort of graph, but you get the picture)

Knowing this, it’s good to let your celebration flag fly. First of all, we read Aaron Zenz’s books (and watched videos from his YouTube channel) like crazy. We did bulletin boards and window displays:

ZENZ Window

I also made some bootleg coloring pages that students colored. We hung those around the school:

ZENZ Coloring Pages 1

ZENZ Coloring Pages 2

By the time AZ set foot in our school, students felt like they knew the guy.

ZENZ Orders

Then it was time to start the show:


Aaron did a great job – funny, engaging, informative. It scored high in the three main Kid Fun Food Groups: humor, drawing, a puppet.

ZENZ Hippo

Aaron has made a lot of books:


Here’s Aaron with the dummy and finished copy of his first book, The Hiccupotamus:

ZENZ Hippo Hippo

Presentations complete, books signed and passed out, why not record a podcast in a messy office?

Look for Aaron in a future episode of The Yarn that focuses on the author visit experience.


It was a great day. Thanks for visiting, Aaron.

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.