July 31, 2015

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The Top 10 Piles of Books at My House

Things have gotten out of hand. I’m sure you can relate. After looking at these pictures, you might ask yourself, “Why doesn’t he get some bookshelves?” I have some. They’re pretty big. But not as big as my problem. Here, then, are the Top 10 random piles of books that I found around my house […]

Children’s Lit Commish: All New Picture Books Must Be Illustrated With Spirograph

In an unexpected move, the Children’s Literature Commissioner has declared that all new picture books must be illustrated using a Spirograph. The packed press room sat in complete silence as the commissioner took out his childhood Spirograph – a drawing toy first sold in the 1960s – and made an elliptical pattern design. “Remember these? […]

The Wildest Children’s Books of 2015

For everyone out there who thinks that children’s literature is just a bunch of cute, harmless fluff, I disagree with you. Every year books arrive that seek to challenge young minds and the status quo. Like these books below. Click here for the Wildest Children’s Books of 2014 Click here for the Wildest Children’s Books […]

Pete Townshend: Rockstar Librarian

Click here for Mick Jagger: Rockstar Librarian
Click here for Bruce Springsteen: Rockstar Librarian

Kid Lit Quiz: Can You Pronounce These Author Names?

Milestone Alert! There are now 2000 audio recordings of authors and illustrators explaining how to pronounce their names at This website is the the definition of handy. Click here for the press release, which includes factoids about the most played recordings. To mark the occasion let’s play a round of… How to play: Read […]

11 Books I’m Bringing to the Beach (And Why)

Next week I’m heading to the golden shores of Lake Michigan with my family. There’s a fine science to the books you bring on vacation. Here are the books we’re taking along. It’s a mixed bag of picture books, middle grade, graphic novels, and books for grown-ups. I decided to talk about my reasons for bringing […]

Creepy & Spooky Tales for Teens | SLJ Spotlight


Five creepy titles for teen horror fans.

The Newbery Title Frankenstein

There’s a post right up my alley over at A Fuse #8 Production today. It’s about how certain book titles sound more Newbery-ish than others. Betsy puts forth a few Newbery-sounding titles and challenges readers to do the same. It made me wonder which words appear most often in the titles of Newbery Medal winning […]

Tales Of The Greatest Generation |SLJ Spotlight


Diverse new titles for young WWII buffs.

Hello, MRA

Today I have the honor of presenting at the Michigan Reading Association alongside the Picasso of Twitter, John Schumacher. I have prepared a statement: Hello and welcome, esteemed members of the Michigan Reading Association. It’s wonderful to be with you today. Thank you for attending our session. Below are links to our handouts. Book Promotion […]

Exclusive Cover Reveal: The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan

You know what’s fun? Sharing something new. Today is especially new – a cover reveal for a debut author. It’s a middle grade novel-in-verse about a group of kids on a Save Our School mission. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary arrives in spring of 2016. Travis: How did this book come about? Laura Shovan: […]

Visual Dispatches from Nerdcamp (Day 2)

Check back here throughout the day to see the sights from the first day of Nerdcamp 2015.
What is Nerdcamp?

Visual Dispatches from Nerdcamp (Day 1)

Check back here throughout the day to see the sights from the first day of Nerdcamp 2015.
What is Nerdcamp?

Crying Emoji: ALA Annual Recap (Part III)

Previously… Camera Tricks: ALA Annual 2015 Recap (Part I) Raising a Lone Eyebrow: ALA Annual 2015 Recap (Part II) SUNDAY 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 […]

Notes on June 2015

In June… …we learned which 2015 picture books have secrets. The art of the case cover is alive and well. …we got an update on the state of photography illustration. Who needs brushes? These books don’t – all use photography to get the story across. …you found out where you fell on the book critic/champion […]

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

Previously… Camera Tricks: ALA Annual Recap (Part I) SATURDAY I had a few minute at the beginning of the day, so I stopped in the exhibits: Here are a few books I saw: Departure much? Melanie Watt’s latest is a 96 page picture book about… the five stages of grief (conceived of before Scaredy Squirrel […]

Camera Tricks: ALA Annual 2015 Recap (Part I)

I just returned from the American Library Association Annual Conference and boy are my arms… No. Can’t do it. There shall be no corny jokes here, my friends¹. The conference was too wonderful. Too meaningful. Let’s start at the start… ¹Rule applies to the first sentence of this post only. THURSDAY It’s become a tradition […]

Off to ALA Annual 2015

Today I’m making my way to San Fransisco 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.

Gallery: These 2015 Picture Book Have Secrets

A picture book with a creative case cover is like a person who wears bold socks (note: my sock drawer is filled to the brim with a single color: dark gray. I am the Steve Jobs of socks), it’s a rarely seen detail, but delightful when discovered. Previously… Gallery: These 2013 Picture Books Have Secrets […]

Wherefore Art Thou Will? | SLJ Spotlight


Four titles modernize Shakespeare for the next generation.