NAT THE CAT TAKES A BATH Receives a STARRED Review from School Library Journal!

I know I already gave it all away in the title of the post, but I’m so jazzed about it, I’m going to say it again down here: Nat the Cat Takes a Bath got a STARRED review from School Library Journal!

I want to say a big THANK YOU to School Library Journal — and a big THANK YOU, in particular, to SLJ reviewer Mary Lanni. It’s extra special when a reviewer really “gets” what you’ve tried to do with a book of yours, and Mary did just that and then some.

I’ve pasted below the full text of the review, and you can also click HERE if you want to check it out on SLJ’s site (which I recommend, since there’s TONS of great stuff on there). Also, if you follow me over on social media, you know I’ve been teasing some big news about Nat that I’ve got to share. This wonderful review isn’t it — this was a total surprise, and one that I learned about just last night. But I promise: the OTHER big news is coming soon!

Nat the Cat Takes a Bath is available wherever books are sold, as is Nat’s first book, Nat the Cat Takes a Nap. As always, if you want your copies of Nat’s books signed (and personalized, if you wish), you can order them from my local indie, The Silver Unicorn. Click HERE to do that.


~ Jarrett


Tomorrow, I have TWO books coming out: Nat the Cat Takes a Bath and A Work in Progress. Judging by their covers, the books couldn’t be any more different. But I have similar hopes for both of them. I hope both books find readers, and I hope they both change the way their readers think of themselves.

I hope the kids who discover Nat the Cat Takes a Bath — and have it read aloud to them in their homes or classrooms or libraries — come to think of themselves as kids who love stories, and kids who want to engage with more books. And the kids who read the book on their own — I hope they close the book feeling more certain than ever that they are indeed readers.

I hope the kids who discover A Work in Progress read the book and never again doubt — or never even begin to doubt — that they are worthy of kindness, consideration, compassion, understanding, love, and respect. I also hope the story exercises and expands readers’ empathy, and that it alters the way they interact with the individuals that they cross paths with during their time on this planet.

On the eve of what will be a very big day for me, I also want to make sure to take this opportunity to thank, as always, everyone who supports me and my books, and everyone who puts my books in the hands of the young readers who want and need them. I can’t reach those readers alone. The parents, educators, librarians, administrators, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others who share my books with the kids in their lives are an absolutely essential part of the equation, and I never, ever take that for granted.

Thank you. And I look forward to hearing what you all think of the books!

~ Jarrett

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


Today is a big day for Geeger the Robot! The fifth book in his early chapter book series, Geeger the Robot Goes for Gold, comes out today!

Goes for Gold takes place on what was always my second favorite day of the school year: Field Day! (My first favorite day of the school year, by the way, was always the book fair — obviously.) The book is all about winning — and what you can inadvertently lose out on when you focus too much on it.

As Geeger would say: “EN-joooooy.”

~ Jarrett

A WORK IN PROGRESS Receives a STARRED Review from Publishers Weekly!

With A Work in Progress less than six weeks away from publication (I can hardly believe it), more reviews are rolling in, and just the other day I got a big one: a STARRED review from Publishers Weekly!

Publishers Weekly is perhaps THE go-to publication for everything BOOKS. And in case you don’t know what STARRED review means — the star is there “to denote a book of distinction or particularly high quality.” Below are a couple of my favorite portions from the review, but you can read the whole thing yourself by clicking HERE.

Using succinct and personal-feeling verse, Lerner (the Nat the Cat series) crafts an empathetic illustrated novel about one boy’s experience with body dysmorphia, disordered eating, and stigma… Lerner’s sketch-like illustrations, presented as Will’s own diary doodles, render grayscale caricatures of Will’s classmates, while his own self-portrait, depicted via stark black scribbles, slowly morphs into a monstrous version of himself that fills the page. Employing frenetic pacing and disjointed verse that conveys Will’s growing anxiety and internalized shame, Lerner cultivates a perceptive representation of recovery and self-acceptance.

Publishers Weekly review of A Work in Progress (March 20, 2023)

Thank you to Publishers Weekly for reviewing the book and for honoring it with a STAR.

And just a reminder: you can preorder A Work in Progress wherever books are sold. Click HERE to check out Simon & Schuster’s landing page about the book, where you can access links to a variety of book retailers. And click HERE to visit my local independent bookstore’s landing page for the book. If you order from the Silver Unicorn, I will sign the book, and can also personalize it if you wish.

~ Jarrett

A WORK IN PROGRESS Selected for the 2023 Global Read Aloud!

Did you hear the news?

A Work in Progress was named the middle school selection for this year’s Global Read Aloud!

To be honest, I’m still finding a bit hard to believe it’s true.

If you know anything about the Global Read Aloud, you can probably understand why that is. If you don’t know anything about the Global Read aloud, you’re probably hoping for an explanation. Well, here you go . . .

The Global Read Aloud was created back in 2010 by the remarkable Pernille Ripp. Every year, she picks a handful of books — each for a different age group. Then, over the course of six weeks in the fall, educators all over the world read that book with their students, all while simultaneously making as many global connections as possible. There are robust, highly active online communities (on a variety of social media platforms) where educators discuss ideas and share student work and — perhaps most amazingly and importantly — make plans to connect. Far-flung classrooms communicate with one another via Zoom, Skype, Twitter, Padlet, Flipgrid, or good old-fashioned letter writing, forging incredibly productive connections, all based around the shared reading and exploration of a single book. In the thirteen years since it’s been around, the Global Read Aloud has reached millions — you read that right: multiple millions — of kids.

I mean, how cool is all of that?!

The creators of the books also often get involved — and I’m already brainstorming ways I can do so — but I feel like that’s just a bonus. The heart of this project, the beautiful, wonderful, profound result, is the global community that is created. The relationships that are formed among educators who would otherwise never meet. The connections that are made among kids, and the ways in which their voices are celebrated and their perspectives are expanded.

To learn more about the Global Read Aloud — especially if you are an educator who wants to get involved! — click HERE.

Thank you (again and again) to Pernille Ripp for selecting this deeply personal, very special book of mine for inclusion in the Global Read Aloud. And to the thousands of teachers and tens of thousands of kids who will be reading my book as part of the project this fall, thank YOU. I’m eager to see what you make of and do with my book, and hope to connect with as many of you as possible.

~ Jarrett

COVER REVEAL: Geeger the Robot: Field Trip

I’m thrilled to share here the cover of the sixth installment of my Geeger the Robot series of early chapter books, once again absolutely smashed out of the park by the great Serge Siedlitz and my exceptional team at Simon & Schuster/Aladdin.

Field Trip marks the first time Geeger ventures outside of the safe, comfortable confines of Amblerville Elementary School — a wonderfully exciting but also somewhat scary prospect for the bot. Below I’ve shared my publisher’s official description of the book, which comes out on September 5th, 2023, but is now available for preorder wherever books are sold. As always, if you want your copies of the book signed (or signed and personalized), you can order from my local independent bookstore, The Silver Unicorn. Click HERE to do that!

As always, THANKS!

~ Jarrett

Amelia Bedelia meets James Patterson’s House of Robots series in the adventures of Geeger in the sixth and final story in a fun-to-read Aladdin QUIX chapter book series that’s perfect for emerging readers!

Geeger the Robot and his class go on a field trip to the Amblerville History Museum, and he’s surprised to see all the other incredible inventions that came before robots. But not every museumgoer thinks robots are amazing. Can Geeger change their minds?

Kirkus Reviews’ Review of A WORK IN PROGRESS

In case you missed it, Kirkus Reviews — one of the book industry’s top review publications — just printed its review of A Work in Progress. They said some pretty wonderful things.

I especially love how they mentioned that the book will help many readers feel seen, and that it will help others better see them. And, I mean, “very affecting,” “powerful,” “successful” — what more could an author ask for?!

Thank you, Kirkus! I’ve pasted their review in its entirety below.

And just a reminder: A Work in Progress hits shelves on May 2nd (less than two months from today!), but you can preorder RIGHT NOW wherever books are sold. Preorder from my local independent bookstore, the Silver Unicorn, if you want your copy (or copies) of the book signed (or signed and personalized). Click HERE to do that!


~ Jarrett

. . .

Please note: advanced review copies (or ARCs) rarely contain final artwork. This is the case for A Work in Progress. The majority of the art in the book’s ARC is outlined and unshaded. This is why, in their review, Kirkus says, “All characters appear White.” In the book’s final art, several characters have skin tones of various shades.

NAT THE CAT TAKES A BATH is Named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection!

I’m thrilled to share that the second of my Nat the Cat early reader, Nat the Cat Takes a Bath, has been named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection! If you’ve been following along with Nat, you may remember that his first book, Nat the Cat Takes a Nap, was also a JLG Gold Standard selection.

What does this mean?

The Junior Library Guild is a hugely popular, highly influential subscription service that is used by tons of librarians. It’s been around for more than 90 years, and is known as “the librarian’s secret.” The Guild is basically a highly knowledgeable editorial team that reads pretty much EVERY SINGLE children’s book before it gets published. Books that are deemed essential additions to school libraries are given the Guild’s seal of approval, and that Gold Standard stamp means they really like it.

What happens next?

The Guild buys up a bunch of copies of their selected books and ships them out to subscribing libraries who have noted their interest in titles like it. So, when it comes to Nat the Cat Takes a Bath, librarians that have said they are looking to add more early readers to their collections are likely to receive copies right around the book’s release date.

One more pretty awesome thing about the Guild: nearly 95% of their selections go on to win awards, honors, starred reviews, and industry accolades. So not only does this honor mean that Nat the Cat Takes a Bath will end up in the hands of more readers than it otherwise might have, it means that it bodes well for its chances to receive favorable feedback from other sectors of the industry. All good news for Nat!

You can learn more about the Junior Library Guild by clicking HERE. And just a reminder: Nat the Cat Takes a Bath hits shelves on May 2nd, but can be preordered TODAY wherever books are sold (and if you haven’t already checked out the first book in Nat’s series, Nat the Cat Takes a Nap, you can do so today wherever books are able to be borrowed or bought). If you want your copies of either of Nat’s books signed by me, you can, as always, order/preorder from the Silver Unicorn. Click HERE to access my page at the Silver Unicorn site. And also as always: THANKS!

~ Jarrett


Today’s the day! Nat the Cat Takes a Nap, my very first early reader, is officially OUT. Starting now, you’ll be able to find the book on shelves near you.

I’ve been a fan of Ready-to-Read books for a long time, and creating them is an absolute blast. Because they are so explicitly aimed at helping turn kids into readers, each level of the Ready-to-Read program has its own set of “rules” or “restrictions,” and creating within these parameters often feels like solving an elaborate puzzle. I sometimes think of it as being put in a sandbox with a limited number of toys and tools. But when these creative limits are thoughtful and purposeful, they don’t actually feel limiting at all. Paradoxically, they are liberating. I think they allow you to tap into your creativity in a different sort of way than when you’ve got nothing holding you back. I wouldn’t want to ONLY work this way — but I truly love it, and plan to continue to. So, in addition to all my other books, keep an eye out for even more early readers from me. 🙂

And if you enjoy Nat’s first book — which, in case you missed it, was recently named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection — you can already preorder his second, Nat the Cat Takes a Bath, which hits shelves in just a few months, on May 2nd. As always, if you preorder the book from my local independent bookstore, the Silver Unicorn, your copy (or copies!) of the book will be signed (or signed AND personalized, if you wish). Click HERE to head to my page at the Silver Unicorn’s site, where you can order and/or preorder all of my books.


~ Jarrett