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

Geeger the Robot: Books 5 and 6!

I’m THRILLED to share that my Geeger the Robot series has been extended. There will now be SIX books in the series!

Thanks to everyone who has supported these early chapter books. I have tons of fun making them and I’m very proud of how each one has turned out.

The cover reveal for the fourth book in the Geeger the Robot series, Geeger the Robot: Party Pal, will be happening soon, so keep an eye out on my social media feeds or here for that. And more information — including publication dates for Party Pal and Books 5 and 6 — will be shared both there and here as soon as I’m able to.

And don’t forget: the third book in the Geeger the Robot series, Geeger the Robot To the Rescue, hits shelves on September 21st, but is available for preorder now wherever books are sold!

~ Jarrett

What IS a “Graphic Novel Chapter Book”?

My publisher calls the books in my Hunger Heroes series “graphic novel chapter books.” As I start to share more about the first book in the series, Missed Meal Mayhem (out 10/26), I thought it’d be useful to explain this terminology.

The stories told in the Hunger Heroes books are the size/scope of many early chapter books – comparable, for instance, to the books in my Geeger the Robot series. Missed Meal Mayhem contains 8 chapters (well, actually 8 and one half…).

While the stories are told almost entirely in comic format, you will find occasional blocks of text in the books. These are never longer than one whole page, and often contain both narration and dialogue (this is done on purpose!).

Our hope, of course, is that these books are enjoyed by all readers. But the book was also designed and formatted to hopefully serve as a “bridge” for a variety of readers…

For those kids who aren’t as comfortable reading blocks of text, we hope the careful integration of them into this graphic novel helps build their confidence and stamina, maybe opening them up to stories that rely more heavily on text.

For those kids who are just learning the language of comics, or who find the abundance of verbal AND visual information/stimulation in graphic novels overwhelming, we hope the bits of text offer moments to pause and catch their breath.

We also hope that these occasional juxtapositions of text and comic shine a light on the unique abilities and benefits of both verbal and visual storytelling, and also make plain how their different vocabularies appear on the page.

I hope, too, that the combination reminds all young creators that they don’t have to pick one or the other form – that they can express the stories they have inside them using words, pictures, comics, or a combination of that and more.

Once again: the first book in the Hunger Heroes series, Missed Meal Mayhem, is out October 26th, but is available for preorder NOW wherever books are sold! And thanks to all who preorder – it really is a great help to creators!

~ Jarrett

A WORK IN PROGRESS

Here it is! The book I alluded to yesterday morning on social media and here on my blog.

A Work in Progress is an illustrated novel in verse based on my own experiences with body image, body dysmorphia, disordered eating, and self-worth, and will be published Fall of 2022 by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin.

I’ll be sharing much more about the book and the decade-long process behind its creation in the coming months. For now, I just want to thank everyone who sent messages of care, support, and encouragement yesterday after I shared all I shared and announced the book. It all truly means the world to me. I feel like I’ve spent the past 20 years walking around with a rock in my shoe, and like I’ve just finally gotten it out.

~ Jarrett

Last night…

Last night I shared on social media that I’ll be helping Alyson Gerber celebrate her new book, Taking Up Space, next week. I said we’ll be having “an honest, personal conversation on why we need to talk to kids about body image, food, and self-worth.”

Some people may have wondered why Alyson asked ME to be at one of her events for the book. Which would be totally understandable – body image and its relationship to self-worth is not something I’ve ever really spoken about on here.

But these are things that I have quietly – for a long time, even secretly – struggled with for going on 25 years now. So, why have I decided to start talking about them now?

My mission as a children’s book creator is to help kids: help them fall in love with reading, help them discover all the things that books can do for them, help them find their creative voice and learn how to most powerfully use it.

A year or so ago, it occurred to me that I could potentially help kids in another way by sharing a part of myself, an aspect of my story, that I had never really shared before. And so, eventually, I made the decision to share it.

I dusted off an old manuscript based on my own experiences with body image, body dysmorphia, disordered eating, and self-worth (or extreme lack of it) and committed to finishing it. (I did. And will share more about all of that soon).

And now, starting with Alyson’s event next week, I am ready and even a bit excited (if also kind of nervous) to share my story and ongoing struggles – in, of course, appropriate settings and situations and, I hope, useful ways.

I’m grateful for Alyson and creators like her who have shown me how to begin to do all this, and who have helped make me feel strong enough to do it, and who have made plain all the potential good it can do.

Alyson’s new book, Taking Up Space, is not only an excellent book in and of itself. Like all her novels, it tackles tough, important topics in brilliant ways and, though it’s not even officially out yet, has already done a ton of good.

I’m also grateful to Alyson for giving me an opportunity and a place to begin sharing my story and discussing these topics and issues. As with all of my work – the book-making and beyond – I sincerely hope it helps some kids.

~ Jarrett

(If you want to join Alyson and me next week, head to my Appearances page and use the link provided to register for the event.)

GIVE THIS BOOK A COVER pub day!

Today’s the day!

My second activity book, Give This Book a Cover, is officially here!

Thanks to everyone who has used and shared my activities — it’s in large part thanks to YOU that these activity books (which I’ve been wanting to make for years and years!) are a reality. Now, I hope they help turn tons of kids into more confident, capable creative forces!

And just a reminder: if you want signed copies of Give This Book a Cover, or ANY of my books, you can always order from my local independent bookstore, Porter Square Books. Click HERE to check out all my books at their site!

~ Jarrett