The Yarn

Travis Jonker and Colby Sharp

The Yarn takes listeners behind the scenes of children's literature. Each episode features an author or illustrator talking about how they create books for young readers.

All Episodes

In this episode, author Amy Timberlake takes us behind the scenes of her chapter book, EGG MARKS THE SPOT, illustrated by Jon Klassen.This episode is sponsored by TRUSTING READERS: POWERFUL PRACTICES FOR INDEPENDENT READING, written by Jennifer Scoggin and Hannah Schneewind and published by Heinemann.

Nov 25

35 min 47 sec

In this episode, author Betsy Bird takes us behind the scenes of her middle grade historical fiction novel, LONG ROAD TO THE CIRCUS, illustrated by David Small.This episode is sponsored by TRUSTING READERS: POWERFUL PRACTICES FOR INDEPENDENT READING, written by Jennifer Scoggin and Hannah Schneewind and published by Heinemann.

Nov 14

29 min 18 sec

In this episode, Colby talks with Wesley Adams, Gary Paulsen's editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, about the late author's life, work, and singular personality. This episode is sponsored by the Math by the Book series, published by Heinemann.

Oct 31

1 hr

In this episode, New York Times bestselling author R.J. Palacio (WONDER) takes us behind the scenes of her latest novel, PONY.This episode is sponsored by the Math by the Book series, published by Heinemann.

Oct 10

22 min 59 sec

In this episode, Erin and Philip Stead take us behind the scenes of AMOS MCGEE MISSES THE BUS, a companion to their 2011 Caldecott Medal-winning book, A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE. This is part two of a two-part series.This episode is sponsored by Breathing New Life Into Book Clubs, written by Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen and published by Heinemann.

Sep 26

29 min 31 sec

In this episode, Erin and Philip Stead take us behind the scenes of their Caldecott Medal Winning book, A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE. This is part one of a two-part series. This episode is sponsored by Breathing New Life Into Book Clubs, written by Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen and published by Heinemann.

Sep 14

29 min 49 sec

In this episode, author Sara Pennypacker takes us behind the scenes of her book PAX, JOURNEY HOMEThis episode is sponsored by SHARING BOOKS, TALKING SCIENCE: EXPLORING SCIENTIFIC CONCEPTS WITH CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, written by Valerie Bang-Jensen and Mark Lubkowitz and published by Heinemann.

Aug 29

21 min 30 sec

Teacher and author Pernille Ripp talks with Colby about the past, present, and future of The Global Read Aloud, the project she created in 2010.This episode is sponsored by SHARING BOOKS, TALKING SCIENCE: EXPLORING SCIENTIFIC CONCEPTS WITH CHILDREN'S LITERATURE, written by Valerie Bang-Jensen and Mark Lubkowitz and published by Heinemann.

Aug 13

40 min

In this episode, actress (THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR) turned author Karyn Parsons takes us behind the scenes of her middle grade historical fiction novel HOW HIGH THE MOON.This episode is sponsored by EVERY KID A WRITER, written by Kelly Boswell and published by Heinemann.

Jul 22

20 min 49 sec

In this special extended episode, award-winning author/illustrator Jon Klassen takes us behind the scenes of his latest picture book, THE ROCK FROM THE SKY.This episode is sponsored by EVERY KID A WRITER, written by Kelly Boswell and published by Heinemann.

Jul 14

43 min 1 sec

In this episode, author David LaRochelle and illustrator Mike Wohnoutka take us behind the scenes of their Geisel Award-winning book SEE THE CAT: THREE STORIES ABOUT A DOG.This episode is sponsored by TRUSTING READERS: POWERFUL PRACTICES FOR INDEPENDENT READING, written by Jennifer Scoggin and Hannah Schneewind and published by Heinemann. 

Jun 19

26 min 6 sec

In this episode, author Kate Messner talks about her picture book biography DR. FAUCI: HOW A BOY FROM BROOKLYN BECAME AMERICA'S DOCTOR, illustrated by Alexandra Bye. This episode is sponsored by TRUSTING READERS: POWERFUL PRACTICES FOR INDEPENDENT READING, written by Jennifer Scoggin and Hannah Schneewind and published by Heinemann.

Jun 6

19 min 56 sec

In this episode, Colby talks with writer, speaker, Nerdy Book Club co-founder, Book Whisperer, and former teacher Donalyn Miller about #bookaday, the personal challenge she created to encourage reading over the summer.This episode is sponsored by Leading Literate Lives by Stephanie Affinito, published by Heinemann.

May 29

24 min 46 sec

In this episode author Jordan Scott and illustrator Sydney Smith take us behind the scenes of their award-winning picture book, I TALK LIKE A RIVER.This episode is sponsored by Leading Literate Lives by Stephanie Affinito, published by Heinemann.

May 8

30 min 10 sec

In this episode, illustrator Jason Chin takes us behind the scenes of his book WATERCRESS, written by Andrea Wang.This episode is sponsored by Read the World: Rethinking Literacy for Empathy and Action in a Digital Age by Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris and published by Heinemann.

Apr 30

10 min 6 sec

In this episode, author Andrea Wang takes us behind the scenes of her picture book WATERCRESS, illustrated by Jason Chin.This episode is sponsored by Read the World: Rethinking Literacy for Empathy and Action in a Digital Age by Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris and published by Heinemann.

Apr 24

14 min 24 sec

Travis Jonker takes us behind the scenes of his second book BLUE FLOATS AWAY, illustrated by Grant Snider. This episode is sponsored by Risk. Fail. Rise. A Teacher's Guide to Learning from Mistakes, written by M. Colleen Cruz and published by Heinemann.

Mar 31

9 min 2 sec

In this episode, author (and doctor) Rajani LaRocca takes us behind the scenes of her middle grade novel-in-verse, RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE.This episode is sponsored by Risk. Fail. Rise. A Teacher's Guide to Learning from Mistakes, written by M. Colleen Cruz and published by Heinemann.

Mar 27

24 min 52 sec

In this episode Tae Keller takes us behind the scenes of her Newbery Medal winning book, WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER.This episode is sponsored by BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO BOOK CLUBS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR TEACHERS, written by Sonja Cherry-Paul and published by Heinemann.

Feb 27

29 min 31 sec

In this episode, author Gary Paulsen talks about his life and career, the impact of HATCHET, and his latest book, GONE TO THE WOODS.(FYI: This episode contains two instances of mature language.) This episode is sponsored by BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO BOOK CLUBS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR TEACHERS, written by Sonja Cherry-Paul and published by Heinemann.

Feb 13

36 min 15 sec

On Monday, January 25th, author Christina Soontornvat became only the second person in history to be awarded two Newbery Honors in the same year. In this episode, Christina takes us behind the scenes of one of those books - ALL THIRTEEN: THE INCREDIBLE CAVE RESCUE OF THE THAI BOYS' SOCCER TEAMThis episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book Reading to Make a Difference by Lester L. Laminack and Katie Kelly

Jan 26

30 min 3 sec

In this episode, Colby and Travis look ahead to the new year in children's books.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book Reading to Make a Difference by Lester L. Laminack and Katie Kelly

Jan 23

49 min 6 sec

In this special extended episode, Colby and Travis discuss the year that was in children's literature.

Dec 2020

1 hr 5 min

In this episode, author/illustrator Mike Curato takes us behind the scenes of his debut YA graphic novel, FLAMER.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book Read the World: Rethinking Literacy for Empathy and Action in a Digital Age by Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris.

Dec 2020

19 min 53 sec

In this episode, author Christopher Paul Curtis takes us behind the scenes of  his debut novel, THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM - 1963. The Newbery Honor-winning book turns 25 this year.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book A TEACHER'S GUIDE TO READING CONFERENCES by Jennifer Serravallo.

Nov 2020

25 min 12 sec

Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell takes us behind the scenes of his picture book biography of Mr. Rogers, HELLO, NEIGHBOR.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book A TEACHER'S GUIDE TO READING CONFERENCES by Jennifer Serravallo.

Nov 2020

30 min 39 sec

In this episode, Newbery Honor-winning author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley takes us behind the scenes of her novel FIGHTING WORDS.This episode is sponsored by BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO BOOK CLUBS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR TEACHERS, written by Sonja Cherry-Paul and published by Heinemann.

Oct 2020

13 min 53 sec

In this episode, author/illustrator Grace Lin takes us behind the scenes of her Caldecott Honor winning book, A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTLE STAR.This episode is sponsored by BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO BOOK CLUBS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR TEACHERS, written by Sonja Cherry-Paul and published by Heinemann.

Oct 2020

14 min 43 sec

In this episode, United States soccer legend Abby Wambach takes us behind the scenes of her book, WOLFPACK (Young Readers Edition).This episode is sponsored by It's All About the Books, written by Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan and published by Heinemann.

Sep 2020

20 min 12 sec

In this episode (part two of two), author/illustrator Oge Mora takes us behind the scenes of her Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, SATURDAY.This episode is sponsored by It's All About the Books, written by Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan and published by Heinemann.

Sep 2020

14 min 2 sec

The Yarn podcast is five years old! In this episode, Colby looks back on how it all began, and looks ahead to the coming school year, with wise words from a well-known author.This episode is sponsored by Reading to Make a Difference, written by Lester L. Laminack and Katie Kelly and published by Heinemann.

Aug 2020

6 min 30 sec

In this episode (part one of two), author/illustrator Oge Mora takes us behind the scenes of her Caldecott Honor-winning book, THANK YOU, OMU!This episode is sponsored by Reading to Make a Difference, written by Lester L. Laminack and Katie Kelly and published by Heinemann.

Aug 2020

15 min 22 sec

In this episode, author/illustrator/cartoonist Jeff Kinney takes us behind the scenes of his bestselling series, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and new Rowley Jefferson spinoff books. Jeff talks about his unorthodox creative process, his latest (social distanced) book tour, his favorite grade-school teacher, and shares some hopeful words to educators about the upcoming school year.This episode is sponsored by A Teacher's Guide to Reading Conferences, written by Jennifer Serravallo and published by Heinemann.

Jul 2020

20 min 43 sec

In this episode, Colby talks with Sarah High, partnerships manager for Bookshop, a startup that's taking on Amazon and supporting independent bookstores.This episode is sponsored by A Teacher's Guide to Reading Conferences, written by Jennifer Serravallo and published by Heinemann.

Jul 2020

12 min 43 sec

In this special extended episode, author Derrick Barnes and illustrator Gordon C. James discuss their picture books CROWN and the upcoming I AM EVERY GOOD THING.This episode is sponsored by penguinclassroom.com.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann, and their professional book The Artful Read Aloud by Rebecca Bellingham.

Jun 2020

28 min 48 sec

Author James Preller and illustrator Mary GrandPré take us behind the scenes of their haiku school story picture book, ALL WELCOME HERE.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann, and their professional book The Artful Read Aloud by Rebecca Bellingham.Additional music in this episode is by Butterfly Woke by Jeris (c) copyright 2020 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/VJ_Memes/61357 Ft: airtone

Jun 2020

13 min 1 sec

In this episode (originally released in December 2016), author Jason Reynolds takes us behind the scenes of his novel, GHOST.

Jun 2020

19 min 4 sec

In this episode, Colby talks with Joanna Parzakonis about her path to opening an independent bookstore in Kalamazoo, MI (This Is a Bookstore & Bookbug), and how the pandemic is affecting business.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann, and their professional book READ THE WORLD  by Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris. Use the code MAYEDU during the month of May to receive 40% off the list price and free shipping within the U.S.

May 2020

31 min 54 sec

Author Mitali Perkins takes us behind the scenes of her picture book, BETWEEN US AND ABUELA: A FAMILY STORY FROM THE BORDER, illustrated by Sara Palacios.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book A TEACHER'S GUIDE TO READING CONFERENCES by Jennifer Serravallo.

Apr 2020

13 min 46 sec

In this episode, host Colby Sharp talks with Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) about a topic close to both of their hearts - book access for kids.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book A TEACHER'S GUIDE TO READING CONFERENCES by Jennifer Serravallo

Apr 2020

29 min 46 sec

Author Eoin Colfer takes us behind the scenes of his wildly popular ARTMIS FOWL series.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book READ THE WORLD.

Mar 2020

11 min 47 sec

Author (and former ESPN anchor) Sandra Neil Wallace takes us behind the scenes of her Orbis Pictus award-winning nonfiction picture book, BETWEEN THE LINES: HOW ERNIE BARNES WENT FROM THE FOOTBALL FIELD TO THE ART GALLERY, illustrated by Bryan Collier.

Mar 2020

10 min 12 sec

Co-authors Shannon and Dean Hale take us behind the scenes of their beloved series THE PRINCESS IN BLACK, illustrated by LeUyen PhamThis episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book READING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Feb 2020

21 min 15 sec

Author A.S. King takes us behind the scenes of her YA novel, DIG, which recently won the 2020 Michael L. Printz Award.This episode is sponsored by Heinemann and their professional book READING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Feb 2020

22 min 45 sec

Colby calls author Kate DiCamillo to talk about the 20 year legacy of her book, BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE.

Jan 2020

10 min 56 sec

Colby and Travis discuss the year ahead in children's literature.

Jan 2020

31 min 39 sec

Colby and Travis discuss the year that was in children's literature.

Dec 2019

55 min 51 sec

Author Andrew Clements talks about his path from teacher to writer, and takes us behind the scenes of his books THE LOSERS CLUB and FRINDLE.

Dec 2019

16 min 19 sec

In 2015, we sent soon-to-be debut author Alicia D. Williams an audio recorder. We were hoping she would be willing to document her experience of publishing her first book, GENESIS BEGINS AGAIN. Over the course of a few episodes, Alicia will share her story.In this episode, Alicia talks about her struggle to find her true creative calling, and her struggles to overcome inadequacy and publish her debut novel.

Nov 2019

34 min 33 sec

Author Dave Eggers talks about writing for kids and takes us behind the scenes of his picture book ABNER & IAN GET RIGHT-SIDE UP.

Nov 2019

11 min 29 sec