COVER REVEAL: A Work in Progress

If you follow me over on social media, you’ve surely already seen the cover for A Work in Progress, my illustrated novel in verse. But I have yet to share this important bit of artwork here. So, without further ado…

A Work in Progress publishes six months from today (!), on May 2nd, 2023. The book is very different from anything I’ve published so far. It’s in verse, for one thing. In order words, the story is told in poems. But not just poems. Art, too. As you might’ve been able to surmise from the cover art, the book is structured as a kid’s notebook. That’s the whole conceit. That you are opening and reading a notebook belonging to that kid drawn there on the front cover, Will Chambers. It’s his personal, private space for recording, recollecting, and reflecting, and he does this with both words and pictures.

But the book is different for me in other ways, too. The protagonist, Will, is a bit older than any of my other characters, and his story is much darker and more serious — much of it based on my own struggles with things like body image and disordered eating.

Like Will, writing and drawing are how I make sense of the world and my experiences within it. And for years, I’ve tried to use words and pictures to tell a version of this story. It started in college, when I made my first attempts to craft stories about characters much like Will Chambers. I could never make much headway with those stories, though. They just never felt right, and I always ended up setting them aside. But months later, I’d find myself coming back to them — trying to inject new life into what I’d previously abandoned, or starting from scratch with a new twist on the old idea.

This happened, again and again and again, for over a decade. It wasn’t until, one day toward the beginning of 2020, that I had a breakthrough — that I decided, during the same writing session, to frame the novel as my protagonist’s notebook, and to write it in heavily illustrated verse. Maybe that sounds a bit like a too-good-to-be-true moment straight out of the movies, but remember: it came about after more than a decade of difficulty, frustration, and dozens (if not hundreds) of false starts. And I don’t believe that lightbulb flash, that lightning strike of inspiration could’ve come about without all those years of stumbling through the dimness and fog. But it came — it finally came — and I poured out 50 or so pages of a manuscript. I sent it to my agent — feeling, at last, like what I had down on the page was right — and asked her what she thought. She wrote back as soon as she’d read it and told me that I had to finish it.

I knew that my agent was right (she almost always is). But I didn’t know that it’d take me two more years to finish the book (it’s actually still not done… I’ve got until the end of the year to finalize all of the artwork, which there is a lot of). I didn’t know that the book would pose a whole host of enormous challenges that I’d never grappled with before as a creator. And I definitely didn’t know that the story would continue to elude me — that I’d go through several accelerated versions of that cycle I’d spent the previous decade-plus going through. And that, during one such cycle, I’d get close to giving up, to calling my agent and editor and letting them know that I couldn’t figure it out, I couldn’t get this story out of me, couldn’t manage to put what I needed to put on the page and couldn’t bear to publish something that I didn’t feel to be authentic and accessible and productive and true.

But I did it. Thanks to my wife, to my agent, to my editor, to my art director, I did it. It took me fifteen years — and took all the growing and thinking and learning and failing that happened during that decade and a half — but I finally got this story out of me in a form that can now be shared with others. It’s a relief. And it’s exciting. But it’s also terrifying. The thing I keep telling myself, though — the thing I’ve been telling myself throughout this entire process — is that this book can do some good. Maybe a whole lot of good.

That belief has sustained me, and I know it will continue to sustain me as I share more about the book over the next six months. And once the book is out, I’m hoping it doesn’t need to be a belief anymore. I’m hoping that I’ll get to actually see the good that the book can do. And seeing it, being able to be a part of that good, whatever form it takes — that right there will make all the difficulty and frustration and terrifying feelings totally worth it.

~ Jarrett

COVER REVEAL: Nat the Cat Takes a Bath

If you’ve been following along, you know that, in January, I’ll be launching my first early reader series as part of Simon & Schuster’s Ready-to-Read line. I’ve already shared the cover of the series’ first book, Nat the Cat Takes a Nap, and yesterday, I got to share the cover of the second, Nat the Cat Takes a Bath. Check it out!

Nat’s first adventure, Nat the Cat Takes a Nap, hits shelves on January 17th, 2023, and this second installment of the series comes out just three and a half months later, on May 2nd, 2023! You can learn more about each of the books below. Preorders, as always, are HUGELY appreciated — they are one of the best ways to support creators and their work. Also as always: copies preordered and/or purchased from my local indie, the Silver Unicorn, will be signed. Click HERE to check out my page at the Silver Unicorn’s online shop.

~ Jarrett

Nat the Cat Takes a Nap

From Jarrett Lerner, the powerhouse creator behind the EngiNerds, Geeger the Robot, and Hunger Heroes series, comes a hilarious new Pre-Level 1 Ready-to-Read series about a grumpy cat and a long-suffering narrator!

Nat the Cat is taking a nap. Or he would be…if only the narrator would stop interrupting his sleep! This witty story, where Nat’s words keep getting turned upside down and inside out, is sure to make readers laugh out loud.

Nat the Cat Takes a Bath

It’s bath time for Nat the Cat in this second book in the hilarious, fourth wall–breaking Pre-Level 1 Ready-to-Read series about a grumpy cat and a long-suffering narrator from powerhouse creator Jarrett Lerner!

Nat the Cat must take a bath. But first, he wants his toys. Then he won’t get in the tub without bubbles. And of course, he’ll need a towel. As Nat the Cat keeps coming up with excuses to not get in the bath, the narrator can’t help but wonder if he’s hiding something—like a fear of water.

Cover Reveal: GEEGER THE ROBOT GOES FOR GOLD!

Eager for more Geeger?!

Don’t give yourself a fever!

Take a breather — and check out this cover reveal-er!

Geeger the Robot Goes for Gold, the fifth book in my Geeger the Robot early chapter book series, hits shelves April 11, 2023, but is available for preorder now wherever books are sold!

As usual, if you want YOUR copies of Geeger the Robot Goes for Gold to be signed by me, place your orders through my local independent bookstore, the Silver Unicorn. Click HERE to visit the store’s page for Geeger the Robot Goes for Gold.

And, of course, if you ever want copies of any other of my books signed, you can order those through the Silver Unicorn, too. Want them personalized? Make sure to include a note with instructions (at the very least, a to-be-signed-to name) along with your order, and the fine booksellers at the Silver Unicorn will make sure I see it. Thanks!

~ Jarrett

COVER REVEAL: Nat the Cat Takes a Nap

In case you missed it over on social media, I’m thrilled to share here the cover of my very first early reader, Nat the Cat Takes a Nap.

What’s the book about?

Here’s how my publisher describes it:

Nat the Cat is taking a nap. Or he would be…if only the narrator would stop interrupting his sleep! This witty story, where Nat’s words keep getting turned upside down and inside out, is sure to make readers laugh out loud.

If you know anything about me and my work, you probably know that I’m passionate about growing readers, and try to do so in a number of ways throughout my work. By entering this early reader space, I’m getting a chance to not just grow readers — but create them!

I hope Nat the Cat Takes a Nap is the sort of book that kids will love to have their parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, and siblings read aloud to them, and that their enjoyment of the story and artwork will ultimately encourage them to try to read it themselves (if they don’t start off by reading it themselves).

Nat the Cat Takes a Nap will be out January 17th, 2023, but is available for preorder now wherever books are sold. If you order copies from my local independent bookstore, The Silver Unicorn, I’ll sign and personalize them. You can order the book from The Silver Unicorn by clicking HERE.

Stay tuned for more news about this book — and more news about Nat’s continuing adventures, too!

~ Jarrett

GEEGER THE ROBOT TO THE RESCUE Cover Reveal!

I’m excited to share both the title and cover for the next book in my Geeger the Robot series:

As you might’ve been able to guess from the book’s cover, Geeger the Robot to the Rescue involves Geeger trying to cheer up his best friend, Tillie, who arrives at school one day in a very blah mood. The bot pulls out all the stops in order to try and turn Tillie’s frown upside down.

Geeger the Robot to the Rescue, the third book in the Geeger the Robot series, hits shelves on September 21st, but is available now for preorder wherever books are sold!

~ Jarrett

COVER REVEAL: Give This Book a Cover!

First I asked you to Give This Book a Title, and now I’m asking you to… Give This Book a Cover!

That’s right — this is the cover of my second activity book, Give This Book a Cover, which comes out on May 4th (just about three months away!). This book contains the same sorts of activities as you can find in Give This Book a Title, as well as on the Activities page of this website. However, with this batch of brand-new activities, I tried to give kids who wanted it an opportunity to push themselves a little further. In Give This Book a Cover, young creators will find the same silliness and fun — and, of course, instruction and inspiration! — but many of the activities will prompt them, if they choose, to engage in some deeper self-reflection and -exploration. All of this is intended to help kids learn how to mine their own selves and experiences for the sort of raw material needed to create stories of their own, whether they choose to write them, draw them, or both!

I get an incredible amount of joy — and inspiration! — from seeing what kids do with the activities from Give This Book a Title, as well as those I share for free on the Activities page of this site. I am thrilled to see what they do with this new collection of activities in Give This Book a Cover.

Here’s a look at the full cover — back, spine, and front:

As I mentioned above, Give This Book a Cover comes out on May 4th. However, it’s now available for preorder wherever books are sold!

~ Jarrett

HUNGER HEROES: MISSED MEAL MAYHEM Cover Reveal!

Yesterday, I finally got the go-ahead to share the cover of the first graphic novel in my Hunger Heroes series! In case you missed it on social media, here you go:

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you’ve been hearing about this book for YEARS. It all started as a doodle dashed-off on some hotel stationary between sessions at a conference, and has gone through an enormous amount of development since then. I’m incredibly pleased with and proud of how it all turned out, and am excited to share more about the Heroes and their first adventure with you all in the lead-up to the book’s release this September!

~ Jarrett