June 25, 2017

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‘It’s Like Putting Together a Jigsaw Puzzle’ – Melissa Sweet Goes Behind the Scenes of SOME WRITER!

Travis: What are the challenges of writing an illustrated biography? I talked to Melissa Sweet about her book Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White.

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Off to ALA Annual 2017

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.

Books on Film: Youth Media Award Winners Reactions

I really never get tired of hearing Youth Media award winners talk about getting The Call. All credit to John Schumacher of Watch. Connect. Read. for reminding me via tweet that there are a whole bunch of new videos by ALA Youth Media Award winners (Newbery, Caldecott, etc.) up over at the I Love Libraries […]

A Photographic Tour of My Blogging Cave

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. […]

10 to Note: Summer Preview 2017

Here we go, folks. One season, Ten books that I’m excited about. Books that make me go . . . Let’s begin. Picture Books Monster’s New Undies by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Tad Carpenter Orchard Books | June 27 | Grades PreK-2 Decades from now we will look back at the twenty teens and remember […]

One Star Review Guess Who? (#54)

Can you guess the classic children’s book by its scathing one-star review on Goodreads or Amazon? This is an evil kid’s book, for sure. Pick it up and you’ll be condemned to a near eternity of grueling tongue twisters. And your kid will love it… Not because it’s one of Seuss’s masterpieces, but because he […]

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) […]

Books on Film: The New York Times Illustrator Video Motherlode

Over on Facebook, the New York Times is quietly amassing an astounding collection of children’s illustrator videos. You want names? Dav Pilkey, Rachel Reneé Russell, David Wiesner, Elise Gravel, R. Gregory Christie, Jon Klassen, Sophie Blackall, Floyd Cooper, Jessixa Bagley, Lane Smith and a lot more. Some of the best illustrators making books for kids, […]

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 […]

One Star Review Guess Who? (#53)

Can you guess the classic children’s book by its scathing one-star review on Goodreads or Amazon? Loved this book as a kid. Hated it as an adult. I despised the main character, whose obsession with his dogs is not cute. And the faux-mysticism of the dogs is annoying. Pretty much the only people I rooted […]

Who Will Be Our Guests for The Yarn LIVE at ALA Annual in Chicago?

Travis: Are you attending the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago later this month? We are recording two LIVE episodes at the Chapter 1 Stage (located in the exhibits hall). And I think you’re going to like the guests. First up, on Friday, June 23 from 5:45-6:35 pm . . . And second (but […]

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

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

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

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)

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

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 Chapter Books of 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 […]

Throwback Thursday: Playing Fact or Fiction with Jennifer and Matthew Holm

Travis: We had it all laid out. The first Season 1 of The Yarn was supposed to be eight episodes. I made four. Colby made four. We were all set. But as we were listening to the tape of Jennifer and Matthew Holm interviewing each other (for episode eight) an additional episode emerged – one […]