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Connect Your Students to the World with The Expert Expedition

A Classroom Companion

In 2021, Grayson McKinney and Zach Rondot released a book for educators called The Expert Effect, dedicated to providing students with deep and meaningful learning experiences. Since then, teachers around the world have found inspiration and ideas to help engage learners in an unforgettable way.

This picture book—a “classroom companion” as we like to call it—continues that mission by providing an onramp to help bring the "Expert Effect" system directly to the people who make it all worthwhile: the learners!

Empowering Students

There once was a time when the classroom teacher had to be the expert in everything they taught, but times have changed. We like to think of the modern teacher as an information agent—making connections between you and all the right people at the right time to inspire you to learn and become anything you want. That could mean taking you on field trips in real life, video chatting with experts in the field, or collaborating with other classrooms around the world. We’ve got the technology to connect people anywhere at any time so we might as well use it!

We hope students use their learning to improve their life, improve the lives of others, and improve the world around them. After all, knowledge is power, and we want our students to use their power for good. To get started, students can ask themselves these three questions:

  • Who will you learn from? Your favorite author? A sports star? A real-life scientist?

  • What will you create? A podcast? A useful app? A work of art?

  • Who will you teach? Your classmates? Your family? Your city council?

When they have a driving question and an inquiry plan in mind, that’s when the fun begins. The Expert Expedition will encourage them to take their natural curiosities and change the world through taking action!

Imaginative Illustrations

Our imaginative story of learning adventure combines beautifully articulated verse with bright, vibrant, and whimsical illustrations. In the words of our ingenious illustrator, Suria Ali-Ahmed, “Art is a part of me—a gift that I cherish. I was inspired by different artists—Lewis Carroll’s illustrations in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Cathie Shuttleworth’s illustrations in The Children’s Treasure of Classic Poetry, and even Tim Burton’s drawings of his imaginative characters. My art took on its own style, which is what you see today in the illustrations in The Expert Expedition.”

For this book, she used watercolor and gouache paints, Prisma colored pencils, and ink pens on mixed medium paper to create the pictures. The Expert Expedition is bound to capture the hearts of educators everywhere and the imaginations of learners of all ages.

Critical Reviews

"This would be a fantastic book to share with young scholars at the beginning of a research project to get them thinking and discussing topics and strategies for their work. I can see a group of students getting very excited about a project that opens up with this book."

-Toni Isaac, School Librarian

"What a wonderful, modern message for learners of any age! The illustrations are rich, diverse, and whimsical in a way that is sure to engage readers and inspire a whole new generation of ideas and creativity. This is a lovely book whose illustrations are full of diversity and whimsy, all designed to inspire and motivate. The message is appropriate for learners of ANY age. Children can see people like themselves throughout these pages, and that makes the message so much more impactful. The rhyming of the text is fun, and the images are bringing those lines to life."

-Sheri Parks, Secondary Teacher

"This inclusive book sheds positive light on the wonderful world of learning! This book allows students to see themselves as well as see their own teachers' passions present throughout. Not only does this book amplify the need to seek out new learning, but also provides multicultural representation with one driving theme: being innovative can help change the world."

-Laura Ferriss, Elementary Teacher

"The Expert Expedition will take you on an exciting adventure encouraging you to step outside of your comfort zone, overcome failures, and embrace who you are and who you want to be.”

-Amanda Oliver, Elementary Teacher

"The Expert Expedition will inspire your learners to pursue their curiosities and wonderings, so they can become experts too." -Lu Gerlach, Educational Consultant

"The book makes its case for students to engage with the experts! Kids will really enjoy the whimsy of the verse alongside illustrations of community and a diverse sharing of ideas. This includes the reader, and encourages them to find their own provocative spark of engagement." -Matthew Dennis, Educational Consultant

"The Expert Expedition: A Classroom Companion to The Expert Effect is a fantastic read! It will inspire young learners and help them realize they can make a difference in this world, and they don't have to wait to grow up to do it! The illustrations are beautiful and inviting. It's a good read for an individual or class. Teachers and parents, you'll want this for your classroom and personal libraries, and you can use it to spark great conversation with the learners in your life. Well done, Grayson, Zach, and Suria!” -Melody McAllister, Educator / Consultant

Where to Buy

The Expert Expedition will be released worldwide on May 17, 2022. It will be available through Amazon, Barnes &, and directly through the publisher’s online store for discounted bulk orders of 10 copies or more. Click the buttons below to read more reviews and pre-order today!

If you haven’t yet read our professional pedagogy book, The Expert Effect, you might want to check that out, too!

About the “Experts”

Grayson McKinney, Co-Author

Twitter: @GMcKinney2

Grayson is first and foremost a teacher, but he could really get used to calling himself a writer. He mostly co-authored his first book for grownups, The Expert Effect, in a chair next to a fireplace at his local Starbucks, but wrote this, his first book for kids, from his house in Michigan, where he lives with his family. You can find his wife, three children, and their dog pictured in this book!

Zach Rondot, Co-Author

Twitter: @MrRondot

Zach is a 4th-grade teacher in Michigan. He has taught elementary school since 2013. When he started his journey as a teacher, he never would have imagined he would be a published author. Writing and sharing messages with teachers and students has become a true passion and he hopes you’re ready to take your learning to the next level as you set off on your Expert Expedition.

Suria Ali-Ahmed, Illustrator

Suria Ali-Ahmed is a high school English teacher who has a passion for art. This is her debut picture book. She lives in Michigan with her husband and children.


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