What IS a “Graphic Novel Chapter Book”?

My publisher calls the books in my Hunger Heroes series “graphic novel chapter books.” As I start to share more about the first book in the series, Missed Meal Mayhem (out 10/26), I thought it’d be useful to explain this terminology.

The stories told in the Hunger Heroes books are the size/scope of many early chapter books – comparable, for instance, to the books in my Geeger the Robot series. Missed Meal Mayhem contains 8 chapters (well, actually 8 and one half…).

While the stories are told almost entirely in comic format, you will find occasional blocks of text in the books. These are never longer than one whole page, and often contain both narration and dialogue (this is done on purpose!).

Our hope, of course, is that these books are enjoyed by all readers. But the book was also designed and formatted to hopefully serve as a “bridge” for a variety of readers…

For those kids who aren’t as comfortable reading blocks of text, we hope the careful integration of them into this graphic novel helps build their confidence and stamina, maybe opening them up to stories that rely more heavily on text.

For those kids who are just learning the language of comics, or who find the abundance of verbal AND visual information/stimulation in graphic novels overwhelming, we hope the bits of text offer moments to pause and catch their breath.

We also hope that these occasional juxtapositions of text and comic shine a light on the unique abilities and benefits of both verbal and visual storytelling, and also make plain how their different vocabularies appear on the page.

I hope, too, that the combination reminds all young creators that they don’t have to pick one or the other form – that they can express the stories they have inside them using words, pictures, comics, or a combination of that and more.

Once again: the first book in the Hunger Heroes series, Missed Meal Mayhem, is out October 26th, but is available for preorder NOW wherever books are sold! And thanks to all who preorder – it really is a great help to creators!

~ 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

GEEGER THE ROBOT 3 + 4 and HUNGER HEROES 2!!!

I’ve been sharing some very exciting news on social media this past week, and figured I’d put it here, too, in case you missed it. The news is: MORE BOOKS! My Geeger the Robot chapter book series has been extended to FOUR books (and will then be packaged into a nifty box set!), and my Hunger Heroes graphic novel has been given a SEQUEL!

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The first book in the Geeger series hits shelves this August, with the second and third publishing in 2021, and the fourth coming out in 2022. I will be sharing publication date information about the two Hunger Heroes books soon.

A big shout out goes to my amazing agent, Myrsini Stephanides, who never bats an eye at my zany ideas. In fact, after laughing at me for a bit, she takes them all VERY seriously, and helps me get them ready to share with publishers. And another big shout out goes to the incredible team at Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, especially my editor, Karen Nagel, who pushes and challenges me in ways that help make my books about 100 times better than they would be otherwise. The second Hunger Heroes book will be my NINTH book, all of them published by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, and thinking about that makes my head spin and my heart explode.

And one final big shout out goes to YOU — yes, YOU! If you are reading this post, you’ve almost undoubtedly supported me and my work in some way or another, and for that I am beyond grateful. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for helping me continue to do work that I love.

~ Jarrett

HUNGER HEROES: The Beginnings

Last night, I finally shared the news that my graphic novel, HUNGER HEROES, will be out in the Fall of 2020. Today I want to share this:

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This is the germ of the idea that would become HUNGER HEROES, scribbled and doodled on a piece of stationary from the Rodeway Inn in Hesston, Kansas (a hotel, I want to add, with one of the friendliest staffs I’ve ever met, plus a popcorn machine and a constantly restocked tray of hot, fresh, homemade cookies in the lobby).

This was last year, in 2018, and I was in Kansas for nErDCampKS. I often get my wildest, craziest, best ideas when I’m out of my creative routines and comfort zone. Add the energy and inspiration of nErDCamp to the mix, and it’s no surprise that I was getting some new story ideas. I’m just glad I had a pen and paper on me — though it’s rare that I don’t — and also that I took seven or eight seconds to get this idea down.

I try to do this anytime an idea comes to me. Nine times out of ten — or maybe even ninety-nine times out of a hundred — the idea doesn’t have the legs it needs to turn into a full-fledged story. But that’s just the way the creative process works: you log ninety-nine misses before you hit your target, you have to do something the wrong way ninety-nine times before you figure out how to do it right (or at least less wrong).

All of which is to say something that I’ve said plenty of times before: every now and then, make sure to intentionally shake up your routine. Get out of your comfort zone — and don’t forget to take a pen and paper along with you!

~ Jarrett

HUNGER HEROES!!!

I’m SO excited to finally share that my very first graphic novel — HUNGER HEROES — hits shelves just a little over a year from now, in the Fall of 2020! I’ve been sitting on this news for quite a while (and it’s possible I might have accidentally let it slip here and there among friends…), so it’s also a huge relief to be able to talk openly about the book. And it’s going to huge FUN to share more about it with all of you.

For now, just a brief introduction:

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The Hunger Heroes are: Mr. Toots (a bean), Chip Ninja (a tortilla chip), Tammy (a tomato), and Leonard (a block of partially shredded cheese)! I look forward to you all learning more about them soon. Keep an eye out on my social media feeds for more art and information about the book!

~ Jarrett