New T-Shirts — and Masks!

A couple weeks ago, I shared the drawing below, and mentioned that I was thinking of using it for a new T-shirt — one that could spark bookish conversations wherever one wore it.

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The response was incredible. So I got right to work with CustomInk setting up a fundraiser.

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Amazingly, within 24 hours, over 200 T-shirts were sold. (If you want one, click HERE to get to the fundraising page.) And almost as soon as the fundraiser went live, people starting asking if I could get my art on a mask. Fortunately, CustomInk recently began making masks. And so I got to work with them setting up a fundraiser for those.

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I shared THIS fundraiser yesterday morning, and as of this post — less than 24 hours later! — over 250 masks have been sold. (If you want one, click HERE to get to the fundraising page.) I’m blown away, and beyond grateful for the encouragement and support that I continue to receive from you all. Together, we’ve done a great deal of good.

THANK YOU.

~ Jarrett

“Welcome, Geeger!”

GEEGER THE ROBOT GOES TO SCHOOL hits shelves in less than two months, and more reviews are rolling in! Here’s some of what Kirkus Reviews had to say about the book:

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If you want to check out Kirkus’s full review of the book, you can do so here!

As always, preordering is HUGELY appreciated. And if you decide to preorder GEEGER THE ROBOT GOES TO SCHOOL and/or GEEGER THE ROBOT LOST AND FOUND, I highly encourage you to do so from your local independent bookstore. If you don’t have one in your community, consider using IndieBound.com or Bookshop.org. And if you want your books signed and personalized by me, you can always order from MY local indie, Porter Square Books!

THANK YOU!

~ Jarrett

Graphic Poetry

Way back at the beginning of the year (before we knew what 2020 had in store for us), I was given the opportunity to work with Scholastic to create a brand-new feature in their Storyworks Jr. magazine — Graphic Poetry. I made a comic “adaptation” of a lovely poem by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, “A Circle of Sun.”

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I was excited about this project for many reasons. For one, it happened to coincide with my working on some illustrated poetry of my own. (I hope to share more about all of that soon!) For another, I think that this sort of out-of-the-box exercise could be an excellent way for kids to explore both poetry AND comics. The sort of evocative, figurative language so often found in poetry lends itself wonderfully to visual adaptation, and comic-loving kiddos (and there are a lot of them out there!) might find, in poetry, a rich world of content to use to help them develop and flex their creative muscles.

All told, this was a fun, challenging project, and collaborating on it with the Storyworks team was a total blast. I’m grateful to the great Lauren Tarshis for thinking of me for this in the first place, and for giving me a great deal of creative freedom to explore the possibilities of this concept. If you don’t know about Scholastic’s collection of classroom magazines, check them out — and look for more Graphic Poetry in forthcoming issues of Storyworks Jr.!

~ Jarrett

THE ENGINERDS STRIKE BACK — Cover Reveal!

Yesterday, I revealed the cover of the third book in the EngiNerds series, The EngiNerds Strike Back, at the MG Book Village — the site I co-founded and continue to help run. Even though I’ve set up and hosted dozens, maybe even over a hundred, cover reveals for others, this morning’s reveal constituted my first official one. Typically I just post the covers onto social media, along with a whole bunch of exclamation points and emojis.

If you want to learn more about The EngiNerds Strike Back and hear some behind-the-scenes stuff about the cover, you can click HERE to check out my interview at the Book Village. And if you just want to take a look at the cover — created, once again, by the incredible Serge Seidlitz, here you go!

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The book is due to hit shelves on February 2nd, 2021, but is available for preorder wherever books are sold! If you’re considering preordering, please consider doing so from an independent bookseller — your local one, if you’ve got one! As always, if you order from my local indie, Porter Square Books, I’ll swing by the store once the book is out and sign your copy.

THANKS!

~ Jarrett

Activity BOOKS!

I’ve spent the past six weeks working pretty much every waking moment on a project that I haven’t yet been able to share about. But I finally got the go-ahead today to SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! So, here you go:

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That’s a (heavily doodled-upon) contract for not one, but TWO activity books! They’ll be published by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, and the first book, Give This Book a Title, will be out THIS October 27th. Starting today, however, you can preorder it wherever books are sold!

To be making a pair of books that will directly help kids explore and develop their creativity is a DREAM. And to do so with my incredible team at S&S/Aladdin is a DREAM on top of a DREAM. And none of it would’ve happened if it hadn’t been for the support of all of YOU!

The love and support you showed my activities and approach to kids’ creativity this spring meant the world to me, and always will. It also signaled to my publisher that these activities could be a hit in book form. So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

I have no plans to remove the activities on the ACTIVITIES page of this site. Those will be there (free to all to use for educational, not-for-profit purposes) in perpetuity! And I’ll be sharing more about Give This Book a Title in the coming months, both here and, especially, on social media.

THANK YOU once again!

~ Jarrett

“Generosity, Social Media, and Living Your Mission as a Writer”

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This past week, I had the pleasure of chatting with Dan Blank for his podcast, the Creative Shift. Dan is a supremely talented interviewer — I’m pretty sure we could’ve spoken for hours. However, we kept the conversation to just over 50 minutes, and you can listen to the whole thing by clicking here. Dan also wrote an essay sharing his reflections on our conversation, and you can check that out by clicking here.

Should you want to find the conversations and/or essay in the future, you can always find it at my PRESS page. And if you enjoy the conversation or Dan’s essay, I highly encourage you to further explore his blog, podcast, and book, Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience. You can find them all here.

Thanks again to Dan for having me on his podcast, and for the great conversation and wonderful essay!

And thanks to YOU for checking it all out!

~ Jarrett

Sunday Haha!

As a kid, Sunday was always one of my favorite days. Not because I didn’t have school. I was lucky enough to have incredible teachers all throughout my life, and so, most of the time, I looked forward to going to school. No, Sundays were so great because that was the day that the comics came.

Early in the morning, my mom or dad would head down to the end of our driveway to grab the newspaper. They’d bring it inside and leave it on the counter, and as soon as I got downstairs, I’d pick through it until I found the comics section. And then I’d read them — every single one, usually multiple times. I’d even read those comics whose humor was generally aimed at the paper’s adult readers. Those jokes flew over my head, but I didn’t care. I was addicted to the brightly colored panels, to the halftone patches, to all that wonderful, smudgy ink.

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All of which is why I was so excited when my pal Jen de Oliveira reached out to me about a project she and fellow author-illustrator Mika Song were putting together. The project, she said, was going to be called Sunday Haha, and it was going to try and recreate for today’s kids that Sunday-morning-comics excitement. How? By getting together a group of kid lit creators to make weekly comics and send them to kids (or their parents or guardians) via a FREE email newsletter on Sunday mornings.

I am thrilled to have some of my own comics included in Sunday Haha — especially as they are sharing a space with the work of some of my favorite creators! My series of strips will star this little guy:

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His name is Cooper — and he was named that by my daughter! — and I hope kids will enjoy following along as he explores his world.

You can sign up for Sunday Haha HERE. I hope you will consider doing so. And if you enjoy the comics, I encourage you to seek the other work of the creators involved. They all have excellent social media presences, and many have books out — from picture books to graphic novels — that can be found wherever books are sold.

~ Jarrett

The EngiNerds Strike Back!

Earlier this morning, I turned in Book 3 of the EngiNerds series, and then shared this picture on my social media feeds:

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Those sticky note-busy copies of EngiNerds and Revenge of the EngiNerds are the personal copies I used throughout the writing of Book 3 in order to check for continuity, both in terms of content and style. And that printout of Book 3 on the right marks the first occasion I’ve publicly shared the title of the third book: The EngiNerds Strike Back!

The book is scheduled for a Spring 2021 release, but keep an eye out for an exact publication date as well as a cover reveal. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and this series thus far. It means the world to me!

Stay nerdy!

~ Jarrett

Draw the Author Contest: the WINNERS!

Draw the Author Contest Announcement

Six weeks ago, I launched my Draw the Author Contest to find a new author portrait for my upcoming series of Geeger the Robot early chapter books. The contest was only open for three weeks, but in that time, I received hundreds of submissions from kids all over the country (and a couple dozen from kids abroad, too!). Looking through the submissions was both delightful — there was so much talent on display! — and stressful — how was I going to choose just one of these amazing drawings?! I mean, I knew the decision was going to be tough. But I didn’t quite realize it was going to be this tough.

In the end, after poring over the submissions for several days, I decided that I, in fact, couldn’t pick just one drawing. But I figured I could pick, say, four drawings. And there just so happens to be FOUR books in the Geeger the Robot series. And so, my publisher and I decided to include a different portrait in each of the four books.

Now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of the Draw the Author Contest…

Appearing in Book 1 of the Geeger the Robot series will be this portrait by kindergartener Noah:

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Appearing in Book 2 of the Geeger the Robot series will be this portrait by 3rd grader Annabelle:

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Appearing in Book 3 of the Geeger the Robot series will be this portrait by 6th grader Dominic:

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And appearing in Book 4 of the Geeger the Robot series will be this portrait by 5th grader Ariah:

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THANK YOU to every kid who entered my contest, and THANK YOU to every adult who shared the contest with their students and/or kids. I am BEYOND excited to be able to feature these incredible kid creations in my books.

~ Jarrett