THE HUNGER HEROES: SNACK CABINET SABOTAGE Cover Reveal!

It’s been a busy week for a certain group of superheroic ingredients…

I’m talking about the Hunger Heroes, of course!

Not only did their first book, Missed Meal Mayhem, come out, but I also revealed the cover of their second adventure, Snack Cabinet Sabotage. In case you missed it, here it is!

Snack Cabinet Sabotage will soar onto shelves next summer — on August 23rd, 2022, to be specific — but is available for preorder now wherever books are sold.

Thanks to everyone who has celebrated the (long-awaited, I know…) launch of this new series of mine. It’s been amazing to see reviews coming in, and to start receiving fan art of Mr. Toots, Chip Ninja, Tammy, and Leonard from kids. I’m so glad these characters and stories that have been cooped up in my imagination for so long are now out there in the world, filling the imaginations of my readers.

~ Jarrett

THE HUNGER HEROES: MISSED MEAL MAYHEM is here!!!

Today’s the day!

At long last, The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem, the first book in my new graphic novel chapter book series, is OUT! If you preordered the book and have yet to get your copies, they should be arriving soon. And you can now found the book everywhere and anywhere books are sold! (And as always, if you don’t see it on the shelf at your local independent bookstore or library, ask a bookseller or librarian to get a copy for you!)

I can’t wait for kids to FINALLY get to meet Mr. Toots, Chip Ninja, Tammy, and Leonard. I hope they enjoy the crew’s first adventure, and that they’re left wanting more! And if that’s the case, they won’t have to wait too long. I just wrapped up work on the second book in the The Hunger Heroes series. That book, The Hunger Heroes: Snack Cabinet Sabotage, will be released on August 23rd, 2022 — but I’ll actually be revealing the cover for it soon!

And just in case you haven’t checked it out yet, make sure to head over to the page here at my website that is dedicated to all things The Hunger Heroes. (Click HERE to get there now, or find it in the Menu bar up top!) There you can find lots more information about the Hunger Heroes, their books, and a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff about the creation of their world and Missed Meal Mayhem, their first adventure. I hope the insights and information shared there are interesting and encouraging for all the kids out there who love making characters and comics of their own.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has already supported this book/series of mine. I’m grateful — and glad that it’s finally out in the world!

~ Jarrett

Get to Know… Katherine Battersby!

My name is… Katherine Battersby. If you put my first and last name over the top of each other you’ll notice that four of the letters are exactly the same. Which can make signing books tricky as sometimes I forget which name I’m writing and end up signing ‘Kathersby’. It’s extremely embarrassing to misspell your own name.

I am a… mischief maker, a wanderer, a carefully planned adventurer, a lover of travel and tea and stories in all their forms. I am also an author and illustrator. I’ve always loved books and honestly I feel like the luckiest person in the world that I now get to make them for a living.

As a kid, I was… small. Yes, I was physically small, but I also felt small. I recall vividly what it was like to feel small in a big world. Writing and drawing has always been my way of trying to make sense of this. Even as an adult, I still feel small sometimes – all of my books explore this experience in some way or another. Cranky Chicken, for all her crankiness, ultimately feels a bit lost and alone. Luckily she has a cheerful worm to help balance things out (I would recommend everyone find a cheerful worm).

Writing is… joy. Not always — sometimes it’s just hard work. But it’s the joy that keeps me coming back. Creating something from nothing makes me feel a bit like a magician and when you get it just right it really is magic. Writing has always been my little sanctuary — a place to hide out when the world gets too much.

Drawing is… harder than writing. For me, anyway! As an illustrator I wear a lot of different hats. Some days I’m a costume designer, creating entire wardrobes for my characters to wear. Some days I’m a counsellor, figuring out what all my characters are feeling (and why). Some days I’m a set designer, creating furniture and rugs and living spaces. I even have to be an architect, designing homes and cities and entire worlds. I don’t always feel clever enough to do what I do, but I love to learn and this job is all about learning.

Reading is… escape. I love visiting other worlds and getting to experience lives and characters and events that I never could have otherwise. But when I say escape, I don’t mean an escape from the big things that happen in life. When I read I want to be moved. I want to be challenged. I tend to seek out books that ask something of me.

Books are… a mirror. Anyone can pick up the right book and feel seen and heard and understood. Or at least they should be able to. This is why it’s so important to have diverse books from diverse creators. Every child (and person) deserves the chance to see themselves in a book.

Did you know… that chickens are terrifying? It’s true. They have sharp beaks and beady little eyes and they’re unpredictable. I was chased by many chickens in my childhood. This is where the idea for Cranky Chicken came from. Although as I was making the book I realised I can relate to the cranky worldview more than I care to admit…

You can find me… anywhere there’s water. I grew up overlooking the ocean and have always been drawn to the sound of running water. I don’t live near the ocean anymore but I seek out the river everyday. If you can’t find me there, try here:

Website: https://katherinebattersby.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatherineBattersbyAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KathBatt

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katherinebattersby/

The Hunger Heroes Social Media TAKEOVER!

The Hunger Heroes, my series of graphic novel chapter books, launches four weeks from today, when the first book in the series, Missed Meal Mayhem, publishes. Starting tomorrow, this crew of superheroic taco ingredients will be dominating my social media feeds, as I share tons of fun, cool stuff about the book and how I made it. There will sneak peeks of the finished book, as well as process pictures/posts and behind-the-scenes insights into just what goes into making a graphic novel.

I hope that all of this not only drums up interest in and excitement about Missed Meal Mayhem and the Hunger Heroes series as a whole, but also serves as a tool for educators, librarians, and parents of kids out there looking to learn more about drawing, writing, storytelling in general, and comic-making in particular. As such, I’ll be including a hashtag — #TheHungerHeroes — on each of these posts (which you can find on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), and will also be collecting them all here, next month, once I’m done sharing all I have to share and the book is out.

One last thing: if you’re planning to preorder The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem, I hope you’ll consider doing so from your local independent bookstore — or from one of my local indies. Copies of the book preordered from any of the four Massachusetts indies shown/mentioned below will be signed, personalized (if you wish), and doodled in.

Click HERE to preorder The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem from The Silver Unicorn.

Click HERE to preorder The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem from Porter Square Books.

Click HERE to preorder The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem from The Blue Bunny.

Click HERE to preorder The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem from Belmont Books.

I’ve been making my own comics since the third grade (that’s one of the things I’ll be sharing more about in the coming weeks!). That, combined with the fact that I’ve been working on this comic book for so darn long, makes the fact that it’s about to be out in the world all the more surreal. It’s another piece of my dream coming true. I can’t wait to properly introduce the Hunger Heroes to you, in the form of their first adventure, and in the lead up to that moment, I hope you enjoy all the stuff I’ve got to share with you.

~ Jarrett

GEEGER THE ROBOT TO THE RESCUE pub day!

Today’s the day!

Geeger the Robot To the Rescue is now available wherever books are sold!

This is the third book in my Geeger the Robot series of early chapter books, and I believe it to be the strongest one yet. In the book, Geeger’s best friend in the whole entire galaxy, Tillie, is having an off day, and Geeger takes it upon himself to cheer her up. Unfortunately for Geeger, he struggles to do so. His jokes, which usually inspire gut-busting laughter, barely even make Tillie to smirk. His kind overtures and thoughtful questions all fall flat. But in this failure is an important realization, one that Geeger arrives at with the help of his teacher, Ms. Bork: it’s totally okay to have “blah” days. Sometimes, we just wake up on the wrong side of the bed — or, if you’re Geeger, the wrong side of your DIGEST-O-TRON 5000. Bad moods aren’t always necessarily bad. They are a real, inescapable part of life. And Geeger learns that in such situations, one of the best things a best friend can do is simply remind your gloomy pal that you’re there for them if they need you. That can be enough. That, in fact, can be EVERYTHING.

As with all my Geeger the Robot books, I hope Geeger the Robot To the Rescue brings my readers lots of joy and laughter, and that it leads to some interesting, productive conversations in the schools, libraries, and homes in which it is read and discussed. Thank you to everyone who has supported this series, and everyone who plans to support this latest installment by purchasing a copy or checking it out from your local library (and remember: if either your local bookshop or library doesn’t have a copy, just ask, and they can get it there for you!). It’s thanks to all of YOU that this series has become such a success, and I am tremendously grateful.

Now, I’ve got to get back to finishing up Geeger the Robot Books 4, 5, and 6. Geeger and I will see you soon!

~ Jarrett

The Jarrett Lerner STORE!

In case you missed the announcement on social media, I’m sharing here that I’ve now got my very own store, thanks to the awesome people over at CustomInk! As you might know if you’ve purchased any of my T-shirts or masks in the past, CustomInk is the company I’ve always used to do my printing and shipping. They have been BEYOND great. But, as you probably remember if you’re one of those past purchasers, the sales were always only for a limited time — two-, three-, or four-week sales periods that couldn’t be easily reopened once they were through. But CustomInk’s brand-new store feature allows me to keep products for sale indefinitely! Exciting, right? The store feature also allows people to purchase multiple items and have them shipped together, rather than pay for separate shipping and handling for each item (which is how it was in the past). Really, the only limit I’ve got is that I can only have 50 sale options available at the store at any given time. So, if I have, say, five designs at the store, each one can have ten color/product options (products would be regular T-shirts, V-neck T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, small tote bags, big tote bags, masks, etc.). That just means that, after checking out the store now (which you can do by clicking HERE), you’ll have to make sure to regularly check back, as I’ll be periodically rotating designs and products — and also launching new ones!

Thank you to everyone who has purchased one of my shirts or other products in the past. A couple years ago, when people suggested I print one of my drawings on a shirt and put it up for sale, I thought that I’d maybe — MAYBE — sell a dozen shirts, and that would be the end of it. Never, ever, ever could I have possibly imagined that I’d sell thousands of shirts, and raise tens of thousands of dollars for causes near and dear to me. Speaking of which, as always, the proceeds from my store’s sales will be put toward kids’ book access efforts — fighting to end book deserts, to make sure that EVERY kid has high-interest, quality books available to them.

One more time, click HERE to visit the store.

And once more, as well: THANKS!

~ Jarrett

ENGINERDS in the Idaho Battle of the Books!

I’m thrilled to share that my Middle Grade novel, EngiNerds, has be selected as part of this year’s Idaho Battle of the Books!

What does that mean? Kids all across Idaho will read EngiNerds, along with the other titles on the list, and then form teams that will compete in a trivia-style tournament about the books. That’s where the Battle’s tagline comes from: “It’s like sports but with books!” I mean, is there anything better?!

Thank you to the librarians and book-lovers who made up the selection committee for considering my book and ultimately including it on the list. Click here to check out the rest of the list. And I’ll be sure to share updates here and on social media once the battling gets underway!

~ Jarrett

Get to Know… Sammie Vance!

My name is… Sammie Vance.

I am… 12 years old, the founder of Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project and a Kindness advocate. I am most known for my buddy bench project where I collect caps and have them recycled into buddy benches to help the environment and friendships! I have helped over 200 schools/groups all over the US get buddy benches. UPS and Walgreens have even helped me in the past. During the COVID pandemic I started Sammie Sending Smiles where I would sent an encouraging letter and a laminated to someone each day. I have sent over 500 smiles worldwide. Last October I started a podcast called Sammie Smiles! The goal: Interview inspiring people and leave my guests and listeners with a smile to start off their week!

What I am really excited about is getting my book published on August 24th! It is called Inspire the World: A Kid’s Journey to Making a Difference, published by Clear Fork Publishing.

I wrote the first draft of my book when I was 9 and through the past few years of finding an agent and publisher my book has, as you would say, grown up with me. What started as a picture book has turned into a fun book about my journey that walks kids through my story but also how they can make a difference too! I hope it will inspire many. There are real pictures and cartoon Sammie’s throughout the book. The illustrations are provided by Talitha Shipman! Fun Fact: Talitha is an award-winning illustrator that happens to live only five minutes from me. We have become good friends these past few years.

As a kid, I was… well, I am still a kid, but a few years ago I was very shy, but through my project I have learned how to talk to small and large crowds and in front of cameras and on the radio. I even started my own weekly podcast called Sammie Smiles! It took a lot of practice and bravery but knowing I have the power to inspire others makes it worth the effort.

Writing is… so much fun, because you can write how you feel and share it with others. You can also spread a/the message you want to spread. Being able to write my story and see it in book form is a really amazing feeling.

Reading is… like you are being transported to another world. Weather it is a fiction, or non-fiction book, it feels like you are a part of the story. If there is a book I really like you will probably find me quoting it during every day conversation.

Books are… a lot of fun to read because you can learn so much, whether it is fictional or not fiction. It takes me a while to find the right book or series, but when I do I can’t put it down. You might not see me for a few days!

Did you know… I was on the Today Show and Kathie Lee Gifford wrote me a song? It was a really neat experience. Also that I helped run a cap art mural program with my parks department. I designed them and then used recycled caps to create art! They were featured in a TV show of Operation Awesome. The episode name was “Kindness Counts!” I love meeting new people and am excited to get my book out there and hopefully connect with many others.

You can find me… in my new book out August 24 called Inspire the World: A Kid’s Journey to Making a Difference.

I have links to order on my website or you can order easily online. If you read it I would love to know what you think!

My mom even put together some activities and teacher resources that are available on my website.

website: www.sammiesbuddybenchproject.com

IG: @sammiesbuddybenchproject

Twitter: @SammieBenches

FB: Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project

Youtube: Sammie Smiles (my podcast! Check out episode 15 where I interviewed Jarrett Lerner!)

You can also listen to my podcast on Apple Podcast and Spotify.

Remember: You don’t just have to be an adult to make a difference. You can be a kid too!

GEEGER THE ROBOT: PARTY PAL Cover Reveal!

In case you missed it, I recently revealed the cover for the fourth book in my Geeger the Robot series of early chapter books, Geeger the Robot: Party Pal.

As you can see, it is TONS OF FUN. As you can also see, illustrator Serge Seidlitz and my team at Simon & Schuster/Aladdin once again absolutely CRUSHED IT. I couldn’t be more pleased with the cover — and it couldn’t be more perfect for the fourth book’s story.

Geeger the Robot: Party Pal comes out February 1, 2022, but is available now for preorder wherever you buy your books. (And, as always, if you purchase your copy from my local indie, Porter Square Books, I will stop by the shop and sign it for you! Click HERE to do that.) I look forward to sharing more about the book in the coming weeks and months. And until then, you can read the first two books in the Geeger the Robot series — Geeger the Robot Goes to School and Geeger the Robot: Lost and Found — and get excited for (and preorder if you haven’t yet!) the third book in the series, Geeger the Robot To The Rescue, which publishes on September 21, 2021.

~ Jarrett

Go, Geeger!

I’m thrilled to share that Geeger the Robot Goes to School is on the Massachusetts Book Award’s 2021 Must Read list in the Picture Book/Early Reader category! Thank you to the Massachusetts Center for the Book for reading, considering, and ultimately including my book. It’s an honor to be on the list, especially as Geeger is among so many incredible other books (you can check out the full Must Read lists here). Because of this nomination, more kids all across my home state will be introduced to Geeger and his pals, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

This also marks the second state book list that Geeger the Robot Goes to School has made it onto, as last month I learned that the book had been included on this year’s Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr. list (you can read more about that here).

Go, Geeger!

~ Jarrett