100 Scope Notes
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Instagramming ALA Annual 2018: Friday and Saturday

I’m back from the 2018 American Library Association Annual Conference and boy are my sweat glands tired. It was a warm and wonderful four days, so I figured it deserves the recap treatment.

But whatever you do, don’t go to the ALA recap over at A Fuse #8 Production, read it, realize she’s a far superior recapper, and then forget to come back here and finish my inferior recap.

Speaking of . . .

First up, why not discuss my packing? That’s exciting/interesting to a wide group of people, right???


I try to pack light. I’m into it. Here’s the list of stuff I planned to bring with me to the conference:


My goal is to bring it all in one backpack. The backpack on the left below has been by my side (I wear backpacks weird) for every conference I’ve attended, dating back some eight or nine years.

But there was a problem.

The lining was beginning to rub off on everything I put in it. So it was time for an update. See the bag on the right below:


But the new one didn’t quite expand as much as the old one, so I had to employ an overflow bag. I am dedicating the rest of my days to living down this public embarrassment.


Bags of shame in tow, I went to the Grand Rapids airport for the first leg of the trip to New Orleans. I’ve shared this before, but I always get excited when I see the airport branch of the Kent District Library:


Snack shot:


This following photo is one of my proudest recap moments. Because this flight attendant was a complete Clinton Kelly doppelgänger.





On the plane I finally finished this book for grownups called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. It’s great. It just talks about what different writers and painters and composers did each day. Here’s one for Max the Wolf creator (oh, and a bunch of other great books) Maira Kalman:


I really wanted to get to the opening session of ALA with Michelle Obama. There were other people who also were interested in this:


The session opened up with music from Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and students:


Soon, the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden took the stage . . .


. . . to interview Michelle Obama:


She talked about her family, experiences in the Whitehouse, and the importance of books and reading. She also gave some hints about her memoir coming out in the fall and generally made everyone wish that special exceptions to term limits were possible in certain situations. She also dropped this tidbit:

So glad I made it.

One the way to the hotel, I snapped a New Orleans shot (on Canal Street):


The next morning I was up early on a podcasting mission. I went down to the convention center to get things set up in The Yarn HQ:


First interview of the weekend: Kate DiCamillo. We talked about her upcoming book (and first ever companion novel) Louisiana’s Way Home – coming soon to a Yarn episode near you. She then requested I stand on a step-stool for this shot:


Then it was time to take off my podcasting hat and put on one that says “writer”. It’s important to me that it has the quotes¹.

First up, a Facebook Live Q&A with John Schumacher:

Find someone who looks at you the way Mr. Schu looks at you on Facebook Live²

Next, ABRAMS had a lunch where author Camille Andros and I had a chance to talk about the fall books we wrote. Here’s Camille talking about The Dress and the Girl (illustrated by Julie Morstad):

¹This hat doesn’t exist.

²Joke credit: John Schumacher


Then I had the chance to blab about The Very Last Castle (illustrated by Mark Pett).

Caption this photo in the comments and I’ll randomly send a free copy of the book to someone.

Okay – writer hat off, podcaster hat back on. LeUyen Pham was up next and I forgot to take a picture with her because she was forget-to-take-a-picture level fantastic. We ended up talking quite a bit about the challenges of working in a wide variety of formats. Here’s  a picture of the book our conversation focused on:


Let the podcast times roll! Ekua Holmes! The Caldecott and CSK awarded illustrator’s third book comes out in September and it’s already grabbing a lot of attention.


Saturday ended with a publisher dinner where I was able to reconnect with an old friend³ who lives in Australia.

³Well, friend might be pushing it on my end, but he did visit my school, so that’s something, right?


It was a fun couple of days, but there is much more to come . . . TOMORROW IN PART 2.

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 Travis for this pictorial re-cap of ALA 2018 in New Orleans. To caption this picture, perhaps you were chatting about the process of acquiring an illustrator. “From the smallest glimmer of hope, greatness can happen.”