Thank Your Sanitation Worker!

My friend Katie Reilley is a brilliant, innovative educator and the owner of one of the biggest, kindest hearts I know. Recently, she asked me whether I had any ideas for an activity sheet that might help her and her kids thank the sanitation workers who, throughout the crisis we’re facing, haven’t slowed down a bit, and are continuing to work hard to keep our homes, yards, and neighborhoods clean.

I thought it was a great idea — particularly since my wife and I had just spent the day cleaning up our backyard, and are now relying on our city’s sanitation workers to come haul away the yard waste so that, as the weather warms up, we can spend more of our time at home outdoors. Below is the sheet I came up with — a combination coloring page and thank you note.

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Click HERE to download a printable version of this sheet, or head over to my ACTIVITIES page to find it along with all my others. And don’t forget to visit that page often, as I add new activities just about every day.

Thanks again, Katie, for your inspiring work and for giving me this wonderful, big-hearted idea!

~ Jarrett

Geeger the Robot Goes to School!: Cover Reveal and Pub. Date!

I’m excited to share with the world the cover of my next book, Geeger the Robot Goes to School!, the first in the Geeger the Robot series!

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This book is about friendship, the power of a good teacher, and discovering that making mistakes is nothing to be ashamed of, but is in fact a great way — if the the BEST way! — to learn. The book hits shelves on August 25th, 2020, but I’ll share more info about preordering soon.

I’d definitely be remiss if I didn’t give a huge, grateful shout-out to the ridiculously talented Serge Seidlitz, who created yet ANOTHER incredible cover for me (Serge also created the covers for EngiNerds and Revenge of the EngiNerds).

I cannot wait for you all to meet Geeger, his teacher Ms. Bork, his best friend Tillie, and the rest of the crew at Amblerville Elementary School. Oh yeah, and the Digest-O-Tron 5000, too! WEE-oOoOo! WEE-oOoOo! WEE-oOoOo!

~ Jarrett

Get to Know… Jamie Michalak!

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My name is… Jamie Michalak. As in Mc – CAL – ick. My last name rhymes with metallic, which worked better as mnemonic device in middle school when I had a mouthful of braces.

I am… a daydreamer. Lately I daydream about being a surfer. Last year, I made big plans in my head to own a food truck. For days, I 100% believed I’d drive a food truck called Disco Pancakes with a big spinning disco ball on top. But then I wrote a story about it instead. In fact, my next three books are all about food. That’s the great thing about writing — you can live out your dreams in your stories. Even if in your book you’re, like, a baked bean.

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As a kid I was… painfully shy in school. But in the familiar comfort of my neighborhood, I was adventurous and take-charge (read: bossy). I grew up in a city, and my street was lined with two-family houses full of kids. At age ten, I loved to organize backyard variety shows, form clubs, and issue a monthly newspaper called “The Biltmore Street News.” I’d interview my neighbors and reveal a little too much about their personal lives in my articles. Then I’d sell the paper door to door, and my parents would get phone calls.

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Writing is… easier than speaking for me. As a part-time shy kid, I sometimes had a hard time speaking up in a group or saying exactly what I meant. It was incredibly frustrating because I knew the me most people saw didn’t match the real me. But when I wrote, I could make my thoughts flow out the way I wanted them to. Writing became my outlet and keeping a journal was great practice for an aspiring author.

Reading is… a ticket to explore the world and beyond, a closet of different lives to try on, a time travel machine, a seat in wizardry school, and more. Best of all, you don’t even have to leave your bed. (Pajamas rule.)

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Books are… taking over my nightstand! I like to read several books at once, and then I have other books on deck under the ones I’m reading. It looks like a Jenga tower ready to topple.

Did you know…. that I’m also a writer at a toy company? A favorite part of my job is naming new toys.

You can find me… 

  1. watching gourmet cooking shows while eating cold pizza
  2. daydreaming
  3. doodling
  4. singing the wrong lyrics to songs in my car while my kids beg me to stop
  5. reading in my favorite chair, warming my feet by my good dog, Lucy Caboose
  6. at my website
  7. at The Little Crooked Cottage
  8. on Twitter
  9. on Instagram
  10. traveling with Frank and Bean on their 2019 Blog Tour!

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T-shirts, T-shirts, T-shirts!

As far as I’m concerned, teachers and librarians are the closet thing we’ve got to ACTUAL superheroes in this world. And it looks like I’m not the only one — check out this art made by students of Kristin Rambo, second grade teacher in Pottstown, PA!

To reflect this belief, and to help teachers and librarians everywhere proclaim there awesomeness, I designed some new T-shirts!

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I shared this last night on Twitter, and right away someone asked, “What if you’re a teacher librarian?” Well, that’s a lot to fit on a T-shirt. But I might just have to whip up a new design to give all the teacher librarians out there some love. (Someone also suggested I make an “editor” version of the shirt!)

If you’re interested in getting a shirt, either for yourself or for an awesome teacher or librarian in your life, you can check out the teacher version here and the librarian version here.

Proceeds from these T-shirt sales will be used to help get high-quality, high-interest books into kids’ hands, through donations to organizations (such as First Book and We Need Diverse Books) and direct purchases and distribution.

And in case you missed it, you’ve still got a couple weeks to get a #KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-shirt (click here). Just the other day, this second round of fundraising broke the $4,000 mark!

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Together with the first round of fundraising, nearly $18,000 has been raised! And if you’ve already got your shirt, don’t forget to post a #ShowMeYourShirt pic to enter to win some books and art!

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You can see some of First Book’s favorite pics and read more about it all in this post they put up last week. And more pics can be found by searching the #ShowMeYourShirt hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. One of my favorites so far wasn’t actually a picture, but this drawing that Shannon, a 4th grader from Hawaii, did of her teacher wearing one of the shirts!

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Thank you all once again for your incredible support and generosity!

~ Jarrett

#KidsNeedBooks on Today.com!

I was recently interviewed by Lisa Tolin of Today.com about #KidsNeedBooks and book access in general. You can find the article here and also on my Press page.

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One thing I’d like to take this opportunity to re-emphasize, is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort or money to help out. I have made a habit of keeping an eye out for books, and have been able to find LOTS of affordable books that are still in great shape at: yard sales; library sales; used book stores; book stores’ remainder sections and “hurt” book bins; friends’ and neighbors’ homes (ask around to see if anyone would like to give); flash sales online — just to name a few sources!

If you’ve got books to give, contact schools or libraries or kids’ programs in your community. I am certain you can find people who would be grateful for your generosity and glad to help find good homes for your books.

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 6.13.42 AMLastly, if you have yet to read Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp’s Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids, I cannot recommend it strongly enough. If you already care about this issue, or just want to learn more about it, THIS is the book to read. Get a copy for yourself, and maybe a couple for your friends and colleagues. Read it, then go out there and share the wealth of information and inspiration to be found in its pages.

~ Jarrett

Revenge of the EngiNerds!!!

Today’s the day!

Revenge of the EngiNerds has officially launched!

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If you preordered the book — which, by the way, THANKS! — it should be arriving at your home or independent bookstore today. Otherwise, you can go and get yourself a copy wherever books are sold. The book should also, of course, be available at your local library. And if you can’t find it on the shelves at any of these places, just ASK!

Anyway, I’m celebrating the big day over at the MG Book Village, where I’m talking to two  of my favorite people — Kathie MacIsaac and Corrina Allen — about one of my favorite things: humor!

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Don’t worry — no frogs were harmed in the creation of this blog post. Check it out here! And thank you — again and again and again — for all of your awesome support.

STAY NERDY!

~ Jarrett

Activities!!!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on some activity sheets — drawing and writing prompts to help ignite the imaginations and kickstart the creativity of kids (and, as always, kids-at-heart)!


I’ve planned to use these for a variety of things, but figured I might as well share them here, too, so YOU can share them directly with the kids in YOUR life. You can find the first batch of sheets at my brand-new “Activities” page, which you can link to using that nifty menu bar at the top of the page. I’ll be adding more sheets as I create them, so check back often, and please share completed sheets! I’d love to see kids’ creations! You can share with me on Twitter (@Jarrett_Lerner), Instagram (@jarrettlerner), or using the Contact form in that (still pretty nifty) menu bar above!

~ Jarrett

REVENGE OF THE ENGINERDS pre-order giveaway!!!

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Pre-ordering books is an AWESOME way to support authors and illustrators you love. It signals to publishers that you’re excited about their books, and lets brick-and-mortar bookstores know how many copies they should order ahead of time and then expect to keep in stock.

To show my appreciation for such support, I am doing a Revenge of the EngiNerds pre-order giveaway! All you have to do is send proof of your pre-order to ROTEpreorder@gmail.com, and you’ll be automatically entered to win a class set (that’s 25 copies!) of the paperback edition of EngiNerds when it hits shelves in February!

And guess what? If you pre-order from an independent bookseller your name will be entered into the drawing TWICE!

Questions? Feel free to reach out here, via my Contact form, or on Twitter!

THANK YOU for the support!