March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

New on SLJ: 100 Scope Notes sports a new feature: 100 Scope Notes. The popular blog by Travis Jonker on all things kid lit debuted today as part of SLJ’s blog network.

Travis Jonker penned SLJ’s September 2012 cover story

Having recently marked its fifth anniversary, 100 Scope Notes began as a way to keep track of the many books he was reading, says Jonker, an elementary school librarian at Wayland Union Schools in Michigan. Since then, it’s ventured into broader terrain. Along with reviews, content ranges from Jonker’s pointed musings on book art and industry news to an ongoing series documenting his library’s ereader program.

Other regular features include “Morning Notes,” with links to breaking news, such as the recent announcement of the Random House/Penguin merger, to more offbeat items (one example: images of Harriet the Spy and Ramona Quimby tattoos posted on Twitter).

Then there’s “Unfortunate Covers.” As a school librarian, “I see first-hand how book covers affect student choices [for reading],” says Jonker, about his inspiration for the series of posts highlighting lackluster jacket design and illustration of otherwise great books. For these entries—featuring such classics as Judy Blume’s Superfudge (Dutton, 1980)—Jonker proposes his own redesigns.

Similarly, in “Covering the Newbery,” Jonker re-conceives the covers of beloved award winners, such as Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Shiloh (S&S/Atheneum, 1991) or Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia (Crowell, 1977) using Flickr images.

The “Holdshelf Gallery” features images of books placed on hold by his students and brief comments on why they’re popular. The idea is that Jonker is looking at books that his students love, rather than titles parents or teachers want them to read.

In the “2012 Book Spine Poem Gallery”, posted to coincide with National Poetry Month in April, Jonker created images showing piles of books, whose stacked spines formed short, humorous poems.

Technology is a key topic as well. “The ebook revolution is making this pretty much the craziest time in the history of librarianship,” says Jonker. He’s already chronicled his journey from digital reader novice to an expert, paving the way for other librarians. In a cover story for SLJ’s September issue, “Travis’s Excellent Adventure,” Jonker described how his library implemented ereaders with the aid of a grant and provided tips for readers looking to do the same. In the future, he’ll share news about his district’s 1-to-1 iPad initiative at the middle and high school levels.

SLJ is the perfect home for 100 Scope Notes and will benefit tremendously from its wit, whimsy, and copious comic strips,” says Betsy Bird, who writes the SLJ blog  A Fuse #8 Production. “Between my blog and his, we’ve covered two very essential numbers, 8 and 100. Only 98 more to go!”

Future topics to look for in 100 Scope Notes? “Book series that have fallen out of favor, children’s lit infographics, and a mock expose on the secret plot by authors to increase their shelf real estate are all in the works” are just a few items on the docket, says Jonker.

The full roster of SLJ blogs:

A Chair, a Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

A Fuse #8 Production

Adult Books 4 Teens

Connect the Pop

Good Comics for Kids

Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog

Neverending Search

100 Scope Notes

Someday My Printz Will Come


Mahnaz Dar About Mahnaz Dar

Mahnaz Dar ( is Assistant Managing Editor for Library Journal and School Library Journal and can be found on Twitter @DibblyFresh.