Just One Flake by Travis Jonker

Happy, happy Tuesday! I'm SO, SO, SO thrilled my wonderful friend Travis Jonker stopped by Watch. Connect. Read. to share Just One Flake's cover and to finish my sentences. We discussed his author-illustrator picture book debut, snowflakes, Liam, Michigan, and more. I wrote the words in purple, and Travis wrote the words in black. Congratulations, Travis! 

Design Credit: Heather Kelly

Just One Flake tells the story of a boy named Liam who has one goal: to catch a snowflake on his tongue. His attempts get increasingly ridiculous, with no success. In the end, Liam doesn't get exactly what he wants - he gets something even better. The whole story came out of a spontaneous drawing I made on February 6, 2021:

Just One Flake’s illustrations were made with a brush pen on watercolor paper, scanned, and then painted digitally. This is my author/illustrator debut, and before I began, I made a list of things I wanted the book to have: a unique case cover, a playful use of the barcode, lots of hand-lettering, etc. I also carved a snowflake stamp to use on the dedication page. I wanted the book to feel hand-made.

Liam is unabashedly obsessed with catching a snowflake on his tongue. Also, he's basically me when I was a kid.

Snowflakes are something I'm very familiar with living in Michigan. It is literally snowing as I write this. It took some trial and error to figure out how I wanted the snowflakes to look in the book.

The Very Last Castle and Blue Floats Away are two books that I shamelessly will display face out in my K-3 elementary school library. I still can't believe I got a chance to make them and that Mark Pett and Grant Snider illustrated them.

John Schu, you should have asked me about my Just One Flake cover inspiration and early cover sketches. I've always loved the cover for Pete's a Pizza by William Steig, so that was probably in the back of my mind while making the cover for Just One Flake

I know this isn't usually the case, but the final cover ended up being almost identical to the first sketch I made. But I still tried out a bunch of other ideas along the way. 

Thank you, Travis! Congratulations!

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian and the creator of 100 Scope Notes, a kidlit blog hosted by School Library Journal. Jonker is the author of the picture books Blue Floats Away and The Very Last Castle. Just One Flake is his author-illustrated debut. He lives with his wife and two children in Zeeland, Michigan.

Look for Just One Flake on October 10, 2023. Pre-order a copy from your favorite bookshop. 


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