First Drafts Are…

Before I visit a school, I always ask educators and administrators if there is anything in particular that they want me to share or discuss during my time with their students. Pretty much 100% of the time, they ask me to talk about revision — the importance of it and the reality of it, even for so-called “professional” authors and illustrators. Because, as a kid, I was under the impression that authors and illustrators always got it “right” on the first try, I already spent a lot of time during my presentations talking about revision. But during one visit a year or so ago, I had this thought — that I am just one person telling these kids about how writers should really be called “revisers,” because that’s mostly what we do, and about how every illustration you see in a book is the product of hours and hours and hours of work, of countless attempts. What if, after spending the day with me, the kids thought, “Well, that’s just how it is for that guy. But every other author and illustrator must get it right on the first try.”

How could I make sure this wasn’t the case? I got my pals to help me out! I asked kid lit authors to describe their first drafts for me using just one word. The responses were wonderful — and, of course, not a single creator said “perfect” or “polished” or “awesome” or “complete” or anything even remotely close to that. Frankly, the majority of respondents used the word “poop” (or some variation of it…). To share this information with kids, I made a quick drawing in my sketchbook, illustrating the words to make them more fun. This morning, I made a digital version of that drawing, so that educators could download a clean copy and use it as they wish.

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Seeing this graphic, kids are always blown away — and, once they get over the fact that they are looking at the word “POOP” on a big screen, they feel encouraged and inspired to get back to their notebooks and sketchbooks and make some creative mistakes. Thank you to all the creators who responded to my original tweet all those months ago! To download a free copy of the graphic (and a number of others), head over to my Art page.

~ Jarrett

#KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-Shirt Fundraiser Update 2

Wow.

I’m not sure what else to say.

The fundraiser ended at midnight, and to say that it surpassed my wildest, craziest hopes would be a GARGANTUAN understatement. Here are the final totals:

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886 T-shirts sold, raising OVER $13,000 for First Book!!!

As I said in my last update, a great deal of this outpouring of support has to do with FirstBook and the incredible work they do.

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There were dozens and dozens of comments just like Allison’s. Here are just a couple of awesome things First Book offers:

First Book Marketplacewhere thousands of low-cost books and educational materials are available to qualifying purchasers. The selection is constantly changing, as First Book buyers don’t always know what books they will be able to get ahead of time. Just as an example, though — EngiNerds has popped up on there a few times for as low as $3! If you are in need of books (or buy books throughout the year based on your current students’ interests), make sure to visit the Marketplace frequently to see what they’ve got in stock!

First Book Fundraising. I’m surprised more educators don’t know about this tool. It’s similar to DonorsChoose, if you’re familiar with that platform — however, because the books that are being purchased at the end of the fundraiser come from First Book, they are significantly cheaper than if they came from another site. Also, of course, any profits First Book might see from such fundraising goes directly back into supporting their work!

To learn more about First Book, head over to their site. Or hop on Twitter and tweet at them!

Once again, THANK YOU to everyone who supported and/or shared this fundraiser. I can hardly believe how successful it was.

~ Jarrett

#KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-Shirt Fundraiser Update

Welp, this week has been a wild one. When I put my Kids Need Books of All Kinds art on a T-shirt using CustomInk, I honestly expected to sell 15, maybe 20 shirts, thereby raising a few hundred bucks for FirstBook. Never did I expect this:

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That’s right: as of this post, 700 shirts have been sold, and the $10,000 mark was surpassed yesterday afternoon — and there’s still a whole week of fundraising left! It helped, certainly, that both FirstBook and CustomInk have been sharing about the fundraiser across their social media platforms (and thank you again to CustomInk for featuring the fundraiser for #FundraisingFriday):

 

But more than anything else, the success of this campaign is because of two things:

1. The astounding generosity of the kid lit community (especially that of educators and librarians, who we know don’t get paid even close to enough for the incredible — and incredibly important — work they do).

2. The wonderful, wonderful work that FirstBook does.

Of course, these two things are linked. FirstBook is “a nonprofit supporting teachers and students in the USA’s highest-need communities with books and educational resources.”

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So many of the people who have purchased shirts have left messages expressing gratitude to FirstBook and appreciation for their work and mission. (And if you are an educator, and you still aren’t totally sure what FirstBook does — and what it might be able to do for YOU! — I can’t encourage you strongly enough to visit their site and learn more.) I couldn’t be prouder to be playing a role in equipping FirstBook to continue providing their support to our country’s teachers and students. THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased a T-shirt and/or shared the fundraiser. I am sitting here flabbergasted and with a very full heart.

~ Jarrett

#KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-Shirt!

Recently, I made a digital version of my Kids Need Books of All Kinds artwork, just so those educators and librarians who were printing copies of it would have a cleaner, crisper version to use (you can download YOUR free copy of the art here).

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Shortly after I shared the new art, elementary librarian Amy Timmins got it onto a T-shirt!

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And it wasn’t long after that that people began suggesting I make some T-shirts of my own, and make them more widely available. A couple specifically said I should use CustomInk to make the T-shirt, as I could do so risk-free, avoid having to deal with shipping any of the shirts myself, and — most importantly — because I could direct any proceeds toward an organization of my choice! It seemed like a no-brainer, and right away I knew what organization I’d fundraise for: FirstBook.

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If you don’t know about FirstBook and the incredible work they’re doing, I highly suggest you check them out — especially if you are an educator, librarian, administrator, or creator of books. I chose them because I knew that every single dollar that went their way would be spent getting the best books out there into the hands of the kids who need them most.

So, I uploaded my art and set up a fundraiser.

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The response simply BLEW ME AWAY. Within two hours, we’d raised over $1,000. Within six, we were over $2,000! As of right now, we’re just shy of $2,500, and the fundraiser hasn’t even been live for a full day! And I say “we” because this is, of course, a group effort — one more example of the kid lit community coming together to do something good for the kids. Perhaps not for the particular kids in your classroom or library, but like my pal Ro Menendez, teacher-librarian at Cannaday Elementary School in Mesquite, Texas, likes to say, “ALL kids are OUR kids.”

THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased a shirt and who has shared the fundraiser on one social media platform or another. I appreciate it, as does FirstBook. A member of their team reached out to me this morning to let me know exactly that.

Click here to access the fundraising page and get yourself a shirt!

~ Jarrett

Get to Know… Jarod Roselló!

My name is… Jarod Roselló.

I am a… Cuban-American cartoonist, writer, teacher, and imaginer of strange things! I’m also a professor of creative writing at University of South Florida in Tampa. And an educational researcher. And a father and husband. So many things!

As a kid, I was… really into cartoons, action figures, and drawing. I loved the Muppets more than anything in the world, and I always wanted to be an animator. I didn’t start making comics until I was in college.

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Writing is… playing! And it’s great tool for imagining a better world. Writing is fun and sticky and strange. Mess around with it and see what you can come up with.

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Drawing is… a great way to create things you can’t even imagine. Just get your brain out of the way and let your hands and your pencil lead you.

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Reading… should be fun and joyful! Find books and stories you love and go to them!

Books are… actually magic portals, didn’t you know this? You open them and live inside them for a while and when you leave, you know more than you did before.

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Did you know… that I’m color blind? I use digital tools (Photoshop, mostly) to color my comics, but I don’t really know what colors I’m using. So I just pick ones that I think look nice.

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Jarod’s graphic novel, Red Panda & Moon Bear, which hits shelves next month, on July 23rd!

You can find me… at www.jarodrosello.com or on Twitter/Instagram @jarodrosello.

HUNGER HEROES: The Beginnings

Last night, I finally shared the news that my graphic novel, HUNGER HEROES, will be out in the Fall of 2020. Today I want to share this:

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This is the germ of the idea that would become HUNGER HEROES, scribbled and doodled on a piece of stationary from the Rodeway Inn in Hesston, Kansas (a hotel, I want to add, with one of the friendliest staffs I’ve ever met, plus a popcorn machine and a constantly restocked tray of hot, fresh, homemade cookies in the lobby).

This was last year, in 2018, and I was in Kansas for nErDCampKS. I often get my wildest, craziest, best ideas when I’m out of my creative routines and comfort zone. Add the energy and inspiration of nErDCamp to the mix, and it’s no surprise that I was getting some new story ideas. I’m just glad I had a pen and paper on me — though it’s rare that I don’t — and also that I took seven or eight seconds to get this idea down.

I try to do this anytime an idea comes to me. Nine times out of ten — or maybe even ninety-nine times out of a hundred — the idea doesn’t have the legs it needs to turn into a full-fledged story. But that’s just the way the creative process works: you log ninety-nine misses before you hit your target, you have to do something the wrong way ninety-nine times before you figure out how to do it right (or at least less wrong).

All of which is to say something that I’ve said plenty of times before: every now and then, make sure to intentionally shake up your routine. Get out of your comfort zone — and don’t forget to take a pen and paper along with you!

~ Jarrett

HUNGER HEROES!!!

I’m SO excited to finally share that my very first graphic novel — HUNGER HEROES — hits shelves just a little over a year from now, in the Fall of 2020! I’ve been sitting on this news for quite a while (and it’s possible I might have accidentally let it slip here and there among friends…), so it’s also a huge relief to be able to talk openly about the book. And it’s going to huge FUN to share more about it with all of you.

For now, just a brief introduction:

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The Hunger Heroes are: Mr. Toots (a bean), Chip Ninja (a tortilla chip), Tammy (a tomato), and Leonard (a block of partially shredded cheese)! I look forward to you all learning more about them soon. Keep an eye out on my social media feeds for more art and information about the book!

~ Jarrett