A WORK IN PROGRESS on the Kids’ Indie Next List!

In case you missed me shouting about it on social media, I figured I’d share the news here…

A Work in Progress was picked for the May/June 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List!

What IS the Kids’ Indie Next List?

It’s a list (I’m guessing you’d worked that much out) compiled every two months by the independent booksellers of the country and published by the American Booksellers Association. The list contains 31 books — the ten kids’ books in each of three categories (Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult) that those independent booksellers of the country are MOST excited about (plus one “#1 Pick,” which received the greatest number of votes from the booksellers). This is obviously an enormous honor, and also bodes very well for the book’s performance in the independent booksellers of the country. As a longtime lover and avid supporter of independent bookstores and the hardworking, devoted booksellers who run them, this honor is especially meaningful to me.

You can see a preview of the May/June 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List HERE, and in a matter of days, you’ll be able to find beautifully designed and printed copies of the list at any independent bookstores near you. Below are quotes about the book from a few of the booksellers who voiced their support for A Work in Progress being on the list.

“One of the most relatable middle grade novels ever! Almost all of us have been called names, ones that hurt, ones that we internalize. Names that we beat ourselves up over, body shaming names. The incredible graphics in this book and notebook format illustrate brilliantly the power of words meant to hurt and those words we use against ourselves. We are all works in progress. To root for Will Chambers is to cheer for ourselves!” – Becky Anderson, Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville, IL)

“Jarrett Lerner has put all of himself into this middle grade, novel in verse, graphic memoir, and the results are stunning… It is a harrowing look at what can go through the mind of a young person, and hopefully will serve as a cautionary tale that it’s important for all of us (not just kids) to remember to love who we are. This outstanding and accessible book figures to be on bookshelves for a very long time.” – Paul Swydan, The Silver Unicorn Bookstore (Acton, MA)

“Will’s journey from self-hate to learning that he is – that everyone is – a work in progress is one that will break your heart and stitch it back together with threads of hope. Every human –age 8 to 108– needs to read this book, because every human has felt less than in their lives.” – Lorie Barber, Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville, IL)


~ Jarrett

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