THE HUNGER HEROES: MISSED MEAL MAYHEM Nominated for an OTTER Award!

You might’ve already seen this on my social media feeds, but just in case you haven’t, I’m thrilled to share here that…

The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem was nominated for a Washington State OTTER Award!

Here’s the official announcement:

While EVERY award nomination is a huge honor, this one is especially meaningful because of the specifics of the award and how the nominee list is formed.

First of all, the OTTER Award focuses on books in a unique and, I believe, important and often under-appreciated space, one where young readers often get “lost.” This is what’s commonly called the “transitional” space — the area between picture books and beginning readers and longer, more complex chapter books. While this is beginning to change now, for too long there just haven’t been enough high quality, high interest books in this transitional space. And it’s in this space that kids are often asked to — and usually want to — begin reading independently. That “loss” I mentioned comes about because the leap from picture books and beginning readers to longer, more complex chapter books is a big one. Lots of kids — if not MOST kids — would be far better served by some sort of “bridge,” or at least a handful of “stepping stones” along the way to more easily traverse that gap. THIS is where the “transitional” books come in. It’s a space I love dearly, a space I am passionate about, and maybe because of all that, it’s also a space I find a lot of my work naturally fitting in.

The other amazing thing about the OTTER Award? It’s based, in large part, on kid approval. Here it is, verbatim, from the Washington Library Association’s website:

By focusing this award list on books kids like, not books adults think kids should like, more children across the state will be reading and talking about literature. Nominees will be vetted by child readers so that all titles have a kid stamp of approval.

I mean, COME ON. Is there anything better? For years, every chance I get, I’ve been saying that we need to make kids a part of the decision-making processes behind the creation and curation of their books, and I’ve done all that I can to make that happen. After all, these books that we’re making and sharing and working so hard to get into their hands are FOR them. Any endeavor that doesn’t, at the very least, take them into consideration is inherently flawed. But the fact that the Washington librarians who created and serve on the committee for the OTTER Award include kids to this extent shows just how awesome they are. They really, truly GET it.

And it’s why, as I said before, this honor is an especially meaningful one. Not only has this group of librarians singled out my book as an exemplary one, it’s also been given that official “kid stamp of approval.” So, thank you to the committee members for considering and honoring my book in this way, and THANK YOU to the kids who considered it, too, and gave it their stamp of approval, pushing it over the finish line and getting it this nomination.

Check out the other OTTER Award nominees below — all of which are EXCELLENT — and visit the Washington Library Association’s OTTER Award page HERE.

~ Jarrett

The Hunger Heroes and the Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award!

A few days ago, I learned that my graphic novel chapter book, The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem, had been given a Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award Honor. Like similar awards across the country, the committee behind this one is made up of a group of thoughtful, talented, and passionate librarians — which makes this honor all the more remarkable and exciting for me. These are professionals who know what kinds of books kids — the kids of our world, TODAY — both want and need.

Missed Meal Mayhem was singled out for its excellence as a “transitional” book, meaning it’s uniquely equipped to help grow young readers, boosting their confidence and increasing their abilities as they eagerly turn the pages. These readers are precisely who I had in mind when I created this series of books. The Hunger Heroes series’ unique format — which carefully includes occasional blocks of text within a larger, more traditional graphic novel — was designed to reach these readers and do exactly what these Maryland librarians have said the book has done and is doing with their readers. As a book-maker, there’s not much better than getting this sort of affirmation. The only thing better, in fact, is hearing directly from kids about how much they enjoy your work, and learning that what you hoped your work would do for them has done that and then some.

Click HERE to learn more about the Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award and the books on their lists, both past and present.

Click HERE to learn more about The Hunger Heroes series and the creation of The Hunger Heroes: Missed Meal Mayhem in particular.

And once more: THANK YOU to the Maryland librarians for considering my book and giving it this awesome honor!

~ Jarrett

2 Books on 2/22/22!

Today, February 22nd 2022 (2/22/22!), I have TWO books out. I know, I know — insert mind-blown emoji here. But anyway, the two books are: the paperback edition of The EngiNerds Strike Back (the third Middle Grade novel in my EngiNerds series, originally released in hardcover on February 2nd, 2021) and the paperback edition of Geeger the Robot: Party Pal (the fourth early chapter book in my Geeger the Robot series, originally released in hardcover on February 1st, 2022).

While the hardcover versions of these books have been available for one year and three weeks, respectively, these paperback releases are well worth celebrating. Why? Because paperbacks are cheaper! MUCH cheaper! This means the books will now end up in the hands of even more kids — which, of course, is the goal.

Look for the paperback versions of The EngiNerds Strike Back and Geeger the Robot: Party Pal at your local independent bookstore or the online retailer of your choice. As always, if you order copies of the books from my local indie, Porter Square Books, I’ll sign and, if you wish, personalize the books before the fine folks at Porter send them your way. (Click HERE to head to my page at PSB.) Also as always — and as goes not only for my books, but for any other creators’ traditionally published books — if you can’t find the books on the shelf, ask your bookseller! That’s what they’re there for. They can easily, and happily, get the books in, and by having them do so, you are supporting creators in a big way.

Thanks!

~ Jarrett

Draw the Author Contest: Part 2!

If you’ve read any of my Geeger the Robot early chapter books, you’ve probably noticed something interesting about my author portraits at the back of the books (or, if you’ve got the hardcover versions, on the back flap of the jacket): none of them were drawn by me! All of them were drawn by kids — by the winners, specifically, of my Draw the Author Contest. (You can learn more about the contest, and see the winners’ drawings, here and here.)

When I held that contest, I only knew there were going to be four Geeger books. But not long after the first book came out, I learned that my publisher was extending the series to at least six books. Do you see what I’m getting at? I need some more author portraits! And I’d love for them to be done by kids, so that two more kids out there in the world can go from being illustrators (because if they’re drawing, they’re already that) to published illustrators.

And so, without further ado, I hereby announce and open submissions for . . .

See below for the official announcement, instructions, reference photos, and all the legal stuff I’m required to include. Happy drawing!

~ Jarrett

. . .

CALLING ALL YOUNG ARTISTS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 5 AND 12! If you would like to enter this Draw the Author contest for a chance to have your artwork appear in Jarrett Lerner’s upcoming Geeger the Robot books, first talk to your parent or legal guardian to make sure you have their approval, then take a look at the reference pictures of me, make your portrait, and follow the submission directions below!

Please note: Submissions will be open until midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on April 30th, 2022.

RERERENCE PHOTOS:

SUBMISSION DIRECTIONS:

First, please read the Official Information and Rules below. Then, once you have completed your portrait, follow these steps:

(1) copy and paste the Submission Form (below, in bold) into a blank email

(2) fill out ALL of the requested information

(3) attach your portrait of Jarrett Lerner to the email (if possible, please save the image as a .jpg or .pdf file)

and

(4) send the email to DrawTheAuthorContest@gmail.com

SUBMISSION FORM

Name of Artist:

Age of Artist:

School Grade of Artist:

Location of Artist (State, or Town/City and State):

Name of Artist’s Parent or Legal Guardian:

Email address of Artist’s Parent or Legal Guardian:

Additional Comments (optional):

By submitting this information and artwork, we, the above-named Artist and the above-named Artist’s parent or legal guardian, acknowledge that we have read and understand this Contest’s Official Rules.

(IMPORTANT: Please make sure to include the acknowledgement statement above in your submission!)

OFFICIAL RULES AND INFORMATION:

CONTEST

Jarrett Lerner (the “Author”) needs new author portraits for his upcoming Geeger the Robot books (published by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin). Rather than create the portraits himself, Jarrett would like to give young artists the opportunity to have their artwork (and name) published in the books. Please read all of the information below to find out more about the contest.

THE PRIZE

One (1) winner will have their portrait of the author published in Geeger the Robot Book 5 and one (1) winner will have their portrait of the author published in Geeger the Robot Book 6.

HOW THE WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN (CRITERIA)

All entries will be judged by Jarrett Lerner (the “Author”) according to the following criteria:

40% — likeness to author
35% — originality
25% — artistic merit

HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST

To enter the Contest, follow these steps: (1) copy and paste the Submission Form that is shared above the Official Information and Rules into a blank email, (2) fill out ALL of the requested information, (3) attach your portrait of Jarrett Lerner to the email, and (4) send the email to DrawTheAuthorContest@gmail.com. Art can be done with any materials the artist wishes/prefers to use (pencil, pen, marker, crayon, paint, collage, digital methods, etc.). Art can be any size, but please note that the Contest Winner’s portrait will need to be scaled down to fit into the book.

IMPORTANT: Please read these rules (the “Official Rules”) before entering this contest (the “Contest”). Participation in the Contest constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of the contest sponsor (the “Author”), which are final and binding. Winning the prize is contingent upon being compliant with these Official Rules and fulfilling all other requirements set forth herein. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS CONTEST.

OFFICIAL RULES

The Contest is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are between the ages of five (5) and twelve (12) at the time of entry and who have approval of their parent or legal guardian. The Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Participation in the Contest constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of the Author, which are final and binding. Winning the prize is contingent upon being compliant with these Official Rules and fulfilling all other requirements set forth herein.

The Contest begins on Friday, February 4, 2020 at 7:30 am Eastern Standard Time and ends on Saturday, April 30 at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time (the “Contest Period”). Submissions that are made before or after the Contest Period will be disqualified. Only those submissions made by the proper method and completed in full will be eligible for consideration for the duration of the Contest Period. Author will not be responsible for and will not consider incomplete or incorrect submissions. Author is not responsible for submissions that are sent to but not received by Author for any reason.

The Contest Winner and their Parent or Legal Guardian will be notified by email using the email address provided to Author when they initially entered the contest. If the Contest Winner and their Parent or Legal Guardian do not respond to the notification within five (5) business days, another winner will be chosen. Failure to respond within the time frame listed above shall mean that the provisional winner forfeits the prize.

Only one submission per artist will be considered for contest entry.

By making a submission to Author, you represent and warrant that the submission is the sole and exclusive work of the named Artist. By making a submission to Author, you also represent and warrant that the submission does not infringe on any copyright, trademark, property rights, rights of privacy or publicity of any person, or any other right of any third party and that you have the full and unrestricted right to transfer the artwork to Author free and clear of any claims or encumbrances. You also acknowledge and agree that Author shall have no obligation to post, display, or otherwise make publicly available any artwork that you submit.

Contest Winner and their Parent or Legal Guardian may not request substitutions of prize winnings.

Neither Author nor their officers, directors, employees, agents, successors, or assigns shall be liable for any warranty, costs, damage, injury, or any other claims incurred as a result of any submission. Author is not liable for any loss arising out of or in connection with any submission. Entrants assume all liability for and risk of any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by participation in Contest or use or redemption of prize.

If the specified prize becomes unavailable for any reason, Author in their sole and absolute discretion may substitute a prize.

Contest is null and void in any jurisdiction where it is prohibited by law.

Author reserves the right in their sole and absolute discretion to terminate Contest at any time without prior notice.

Author reserves the right in their sole and absolute discretion to alter Contest rules at any time.

By entering this Contest, you conclusively are deemed to have agreed to be bound by these contest rules and terms and conditions. This is an irrevocable condition of entry.

Contest Winner will be chosen by Author on the merits of their entry, in Author’s sole and absolute discretion (see CRITERIA above for more information).

No purchase or payment of any consideration is necessary to enter the Contest.

Author reserves the right to condition the award of prize upon the execution by the Contest Winner and their Parent or Legal Guardian of a publicity release.

Author reserves the right to require the Contest Winner and their Parent or Legal Guardian to execute an affidavit of eligibility as a sworn document and provide other proof of eligibility as a condition of receipt of the prize or award.

GEEGER THE ROBOT: PARTY PAL pub day!

Today, the first day of the month of February in the year 2022, my next book — my TENTH book — is officially out in the world. And it seems appropriate that I’ve reached this milestone with this book in particular. It’s Geeger the Robot: Party Pal, after all. It’s a book about CELEBRATION.

But it’s not just me who needs to be celebrated today. We also need to celebrate Ariah Lowell, one of the winners of my Draw the Author contest, whose brilliant portrait of me appears in Geeger the Robot: Party Pal. Today, Ariah is officially a published illustrator! (Click here and/or here to learn more about the contest — and keep your eyes peeled for an exciting, related announcement coming in the next day or two!)

If you preordered the hardcover version of Geeger the Robot: Party Pal, you should be getting your copy today. Starting today, you’ll also be able to find the hardcover version of the book wherever books are sold. The paperback version, however, is slightly late to the party. Three weeks late, to be exact — which, in the publishing world, really is only a slight delay. If you preordered a copy of Party Pal, you can expect it on February 22nd. And starting that day, you’ll also be able to find the paperback version wherever books are sold. See below to learn a bit more about this fourth book in the Geeger the Robot series. And to learn more about the other books in the series, head to the Geeger the Robot page of this website (or click here).

Thank you to everyone who has supported this series of mine — and who has supported me and my work in general. You have helped get me here, to my tenth published book, and I am enormously grateful. Now, here’s the next ten!

~ Jarrett

. . .

In this fourth book in the Geeger the Robot series, we find Geeger on his way to a birthday party. And not just any birthday party. It’s a birthday party for his best friend, Tillie! But Geeger has never been to a birthday party before. And he’s a bit confused about why all the other guests have brought these boxes with them, each one wrapped in shiny, fancily designed paper. What are they? Was Geeger supposed to bring one, too? When Geeger realizes he’s made a mistake, his excitement about the party sours. Can he figure out what to give Tillie before she realizes he showed up empty-handed? Find out in Geeger the Robot: Party Pal, available wherever books are sold!

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

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