February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Travis Jonker, Colby Sharp Launch Book-themed Podcast, à la Serial: The Yarn

A unique, episodic podcast about the making of a single book—the upcoming middle grade graphic novel by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm, Sunny Side Up—launches today. Created by school librarian Travis Jonker and teacher Colby Sharp, “The Yarn” examines the highly anticipated book from multiple perspectives in this, Season 1 of a new podcast series.

The Yarn logo 500In a nod to the runaway hit “Serial,” a 2014 spinoff of the radio show “This American Life” widely credited with the recent resurgence of the podcast format, “The Yarn” will “air” in a tight time frame to enable binge listening—with eight episodes released daily beginning today, August 17.

“The goal of Season 1 is a look at one book from all angles,” says Jonker. “Often you just hear from the author, but we wanted to hear from everyone involved: the editor, art director, publisher, etc.” As a subject, Jonker and Sharp sought a much-anticipated title and Sunny Side Up fit the bill. The book represented a compelling departure in subject matter for the author and illustrator, sister and brother team Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm, creators of Babymouse. Due out from Scholastic August 25, Sunny Side Up is largely fictional, but contains elements from the Holms’ childhood. (See SLJ’s review.)

Schedule for Season 1 of “The Yarn”:

  • Aug. 17: Introduction/”This Season on The Yarn”
  • Aug. 18: Raina Telgemeier (graphic novel expert)
  • Aug. 19: David Levithan (editor/author)
  • Aug. 20: Phil Falco (cover designer)
  • Aug. 21: David Saylor (founder/publisher of the Graphix imprint)
  • Aug. 22: Lark Pien (cartoonist/colorist)
  • Aug. 23: Matthew Holm (illustrator)
  • Aug. 24: Jennifer Holm (author)

The show is available for subscription on iTunes and on the first season’s landing page: 100scopenotes.com/the-yarn. Expect Jonker to blog about “The Yarn” on his SLJ blog, “100 Scope Notes,” as well.

The inspiration for Jonker and Sharp? Netflix and Beyoncé. “Netflix, because we wanted a season of our show to be released in a short amount of time, so people could listen to all the episodes if they wanted. Beyoncé because she released her last album unexpectedly—we like that surprise element,” says Jonker.

“The Yarn” goes beyond simple interviews. “You’ll hear clips of real-world stuff, like Colby and I getting lost in New York and our thoughts during the process of recording,” says Jonker. “We love “The Mystery Show” and “Serial,” so we wanted to add a bit of a documentary feel to the podcast.”


Raina Telgemeier, Travis Jonker, and Colby Sharp  recording Season 1 of "The Yarn."

Raina Telgemeier, Travis Jonker, and Colby Sharp recording Season 1 of “The Yarn.”

Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka (kishizuka@mediasourceinc.com@kishizuka on Twitter) is the Executive Editor of  School Library Journal.