Yes, EVEN MORE T-Shirts!

I’ve recently been sharing a whole bunch of new free, downloadable, printable drawings on social media — all of which you can find on the Art page of this site. One of those drawings was this one:

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A number of people suggestively mentioned that they’d be interested in WEARING such a drawing (like, on a T-shirt…), so I worked with Custom Ink to launch another fundraiser.

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Once again, proceeds from this fundraiser will be put towards kids’ book access efforts.

Thank you, as always, for the amazing support!

~ Jarrett

#KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds — Spanish Edition Fundraiser!

Last week, a third-grade teacher in a Spanish immersion school asked me if I’d ever consider making a Spanish language version of my Kids Need Books of all Kinds art. I thought it was a fantastic idea, and as soon as she assured me I had the right translation (!), I whipped it up.

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(And, by the way, you can now download a free, print-ready copy of that art here.)

Not long after I put the new art up on social media, people started asking whether they’d be a new, Spanish edition sale of T-shirts, too. I said that if there was sufficient interest, I’d work with Custom Ink to set up a new, Spanish edition fundraiser (Custom Ink requires a certain number of sales before shirts can print, so I needed to make sure). Well, the interest was more than sufficient. And so, here you go!

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The #KidsNeedBooks of all Kinds Spanish Edition T-shirt is now available! You can order it here. Thank you, thank you — a billion times over — to all who have shared and supported these efforts of mine. Together, we have raised over $23,000 to help eradicate book deserts and help get books into the hands of kids who need them most.

~ Jarrett

EVEN MORE #KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-Shirts!

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You asked for it, so here it is: a third round of #KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-shirt fundraising! I worked with Custom Ink to try to satisfy all the requests you shared with me over on Twitter. Which is why we have two different fundraising pages. On the first, you’ll find a variety of new unisex color options. On the second, you’ll find both V-neck and long sleeve options.

As before, proceeds from this fundraiser will go toward kids’ book access efforts. THANK YOU again to everyone who has supported and/or shared this cause. I continue to be blown away by this incredible community.

~ Jarrett

#KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-Shirt Fundraiser Update 3

At midnight last night, the second round of #KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds fundraising ended. The numbers in the image below represent the combined total over both rounds of fundraising.

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I am as amazed and proud of this incredible kid lit community as I’ve ever been. THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, to every single person who showed up and supported these efforts. That $19,120 is going to help get LOTS of books into the hands of kids!

~ Jarrett

MORE #KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-Shirts!

You asked for it, so here it is: another chance to get a #KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds shirt. And look — new colors!

The original fundraiser only lasted two weeks, and many people either missed the deadline or couldn’t make a purchase during that time. Many people also expressed an interest in having some other color options. So, I worked with CustomInk to (a) re-launch a second, longer fundraiser and (b) add some new color options to the mix! As you can see below (and also on the fundraising page itself), there is now a black with white ink option, a military green option, a light pink with dark pink ink option, and an orange with white ink option.

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The landing page for the fundraiser is the same as last time — you can click here to access it. One thing, however, that is a little bit different about this fundraiser: instead of all the funds going directly to First Book, a portion will go to them and a portion will be reserved for book donations to other school in need that do not qualify for First Book.

Once again, a big, huge, gigantic THANK YOU to everyone who has supported and/or shared the last fundraiser, and a big, huge, gigantic THANK YOU in advance to everyone who supports and/or shares this one. I am excited to learn more from First Book about exactly where the funds raised last round are going, and am excited to put whatever is raised this round toward getting more books into the hands of kids.

Oh! And if you already have a shirt (lots of people got theirs today!), don’t forget to post a #ShowMeYourShirt pic to enter to win some signed books and custom artwork!

~ Jarrett


If you purchased one of my #KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-shirts, then you might’ve received an email from CustomInk earlier this morning letting you know that your shirt has shipped and is on its way to you (if you did not receive the email, you should within a couple days)! Hopefully you’re excited, because I’m excited, and FirstBook is excited too. They are so excited, in fact, they want to see you in your shirt! They asked me to help launch a #ShowMeYourShirt campaign.


Please note that the handle mentioned above is FirstBook’s Twitter handle. Their Instagram handle is @FirstBookOrg.

Taking part is as simple as putting on your shirt, snapping a pic, and posting it! Just make sure to tag me and FirstBook, and to use the #ShowMeYourShirt hashtag somewhere in your tweet or Instagram post. But wait, there’s more — one lucky #ShowMeYourShirt poster will win some signed books and custom artwork by me!

Thank you all again for your celebration of my art and your support of FirstBook. And if you didn’t get a chance to purchase a T-shirt and want one, I’ll have news in the coming days about how you can get one!

~ Jarrett

#KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-Shirt Fundraiser Update

Welp, this week has been a wild one. When I put my Kids Need Books of All Kinds art on a T-shirt using CustomInk, I honestly expected to sell 15, maybe 20 shirts, thereby raising a few hundred bucks for FirstBook. Never did I expect this:

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That’s right: as of this post, 700 shirts have been sold, and the $10,000 mark was surpassed yesterday afternoon — and there’s still a whole week of fundraising left! It helped, certainly, that both FirstBook and CustomInk have been sharing about the fundraiser across their social media platforms (and thank you again to CustomInk for featuring the fundraiser for #FundraisingFriday):


But more than anything else, the success of this campaign is because of two things:

1. The astounding generosity of the kid lit community (especially that of educators and librarians, who we know don’t get paid even close to enough for the incredible — and incredibly important — work they do).

2. The wonderful, wonderful work that FirstBook does.

Of course, these two things are linked. FirstBook is “a nonprofit supporting teachers and students in the USA’s highest-need communities with books and educational resources.”

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So many of the people who have purchased shirts have left messages expressing gratitude to FirstBook and appreciation for their work and mission. (And if you are an educator, and you still aren’t totally sure what FirstBook does — and what it might be able to do for YOU! — I can’t encourage you strongly enough to visit their site and learn more.) I couldn’t be prouder to be playing a role in equipping FirstBook to continue providing their support to our country’s teachers and students. THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased a T-shirt and/or shared the fundraiser. I am sitting here flabbergasted and with a very full heart.

~ Jarrett

#KidsNeedBooks of All Kinds T-Shirt!

Recently, I made a digital version of my Kids Need Books of All Kinds artwork, just so those educators and librarians who were printing copies of it would have a cleaner, crisper version to use (you can download YOUR free copy of the art here).

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Shortly after I shared the new art, elementary librarian Amy Timmins got it onto a T-shirt!

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And it wasn’t long after that that people began suggesting I make some T-shirts of my own, and make them more widely available. A couple specifically said I should use CustomInk to make the T-shirt, as I could do so risk-free, avoid having to deal with shipping any of the shirts myself, and — most importantly — because I could direct any proceeds toward an organization of my choice! It seemed like a no-brainer, and right away I knew what organization I’d fundraise for: FirstBook.

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If you don’t know about FirstBook and the incredible work they’re doing, I highly suggest you check them out — especially if you are an educator, librarian, administrator, or creator of books. I chose them because I knew that every single dollar that went their way would be spent getting the best books out there into the hands of the kids who need them most.

So, I uploaded my art and set up a fundraiser.

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The response simply BLEW ME AWAY. Within two hours, we’d raised over $1,000. Within six, we were over $2,000! As of right now, we’re just shy of $2,500, and the fundraiser hasn’t even been live for a full day! And I say “we” because this is, of course, a group effort — one more example of the kid lit community coming together to do something good for the kids. Perhaps not for the particular kids in your classroom or library, but like my pal Ro Menendez, teacher-librarian at Cannaday Elementary School in Mesquite, Texas, likes to say, “ALL kids are OUR kids.”

THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased a shirt and who has shared the fundraiser on one social media platform or another. I appreciate it, as does FirstBook. A member of their team reached out to me this morning to let me know exactly that.

Click here to access the fundraising page and get yourself a shirt!

~ Jarrett

#KidsNeedBooks For Summer Reading

Research shows that when kids own books, they read more and are more likely to self-identify as readers. It also shows that when kids don’t read during their summer breaks, their reading skills can get rusty and their interest in books can wane.

One of the largest reasons why kids don’t read during their summer breaks is that they simply don’t have access to any books. In an effort to counteract that problem in some small way, I’ve been giving away books all school year long as part of the #KidsNeedBooks movement and, in addition, gathering a separate bundle of books to now, at the end of the year, distribute to a couple hundred kids.


Where did I get these books?

Some of them are from my own personal collection – books that I have read and enjoyed (even loved!) but can’t, deep down, see myself ever rereading. In kids’ hands, these books are powerful. Some of them are powerful enough to dramatically redirect and improve lives. On my shelves, these same books can only ever hope to look nice.  (And I’m not knocking hanging onto books for their looks or the comfort of just having them around. Believe me – I still do plenty of that!)

The majority of the books, however, I’ve gotten elsewhere: at library sales (the sales my local branch holds has paperbacks for 50 cents, hardcovers for a dollar); in bookstores’ used, “hurt,” and remaindered bins or sections; from friends (including some very generous author friends!) and neighbors; and at yard sales.

I share all of this not because I want a pat on the back. I don’t. And honestly, none of this has been hard work. It’s been an absolute joy to find these books, to stack them up in my closet and think about the kids who will soon hold them in their hands, who will be able to say, “This is my book. Mine.”

I share all of this to help alert those who aren’t aware of the book deserts throughout our country, who don’t grasp the long-lasting damage that can result from a kid simply not being able to get their hands on a book to read. I share it, too, in the hopes that some of you will be inspired to gather your own stacks of books, to keep an eye out for them in your comings and goings, to pick through your bookshelves or put 10, 15, 20 dollars toward bettering and maybe even dramatically changing some kids’ lives. I mean, could there be a better investment?

Should you want more information about any of the above, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, either here, using my Contact form, or on social media. To learn more about the #KidsNeedBooks movement, click here, or search the hashtag on social media. And if you are an educator who would be interested in sharing some of the books pictured above with your students, fill out THIS FORM. I will be randomly selecting winners to receive books over the coming weeks.

~ Jarrett


Much of the past few weeks of my life has been spent staring at spreadsheets. No, I didn’t suddenly become uber-organized. And no, I didn’t take up accounting as a new hobby. I’ve been playing “matchmaker” for authors and educators, helping pair them up for the 2018-2019 school year as part of the #KidsNeedMentors program.

#KidsNeedMentors is a project that author Ann Braden, 5th grade teacher Kristin Crouch, 5th grade teacher Kristen Picone, and I launched back in May. The idea behind it is simple: instead of having authors visit a classroom (either virtually or in-person) for 30 minutes or an hour and then say goodbye, why not have them return on a regular basis and form a deeper — and more beneficial — connection with students.

I’ve been wanting to create such a program for a while now, both after watching a similar (though somewhat less ambitious) program get launched across in the Atlantic in the U.K., and after learning about the wonderful results of such a longterm connection between teacher librarian Carrie Davies and author/illustrator Aaron Zenz.

However, it wasn’t until I’d met Ann Braden and worked with her on our #KidsNeedBooks project (in the process discovering that she is uber-organized, and that she can make spreadsheets like no other) that I thought launching such a program of our own might actually be possible. We discussed it a handful of times, including once up in Burlington, VT, at nErDcampVT, and then did so again one morning on Twitter. Kristin and Kristen — being the incredibly giving, creative, and student-focused individuals they are — immediately offered to be a part of the organizational team. We spent the rest of the morning hashing out ideas and talking about logistics, and after a few “Should we do this?” “We should do this.” “Should we do this?” back-and-forths, we finally said, Let’s do this.

The response blew us away. Within a couple of days, 300 educators had signed up, and nearly the same number of authors. We had to cap things there and start a waitlist just to make sure we could give our proper attention and support to those 500-something participants during the school year. The waitlist has been growing steadily since May, both on the educator and the author side — confirming that, yes, authors are eager to collaborate with teachers, librarians, and administrators in order to further connect with their young readers. For many of us authors, that’s the best part of the job!

This weekend, 300 educator/author pairs are receiving e-mails that begin like this:

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Now the fun starts. Those educator/author teams will work together to design experiences that will most benefit, excite, and inspire the students they’ll work with. And several pairs have already hit the ground running! It’s been thrilling to see e-mail exchanges in which authors lay out loads of great ideas — Erin Soderberg Downing and Nancy Churnin have plans to give the kids they’ll be working with behind-the-scenes peeks at the book-making process, and are even willing to let them be a part of that process for books they have coming out during the upcoming school year. The possibilities are truly endless, and I cannot wait to see what these collaborations lead to.

Working with Ann, Kristin, and Kristen has been a dream (Go, TeamJAKK!). I’m beyond honored to call each of them a friend, and so excited to see where our collaboration takes us in the future.

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. . .

To learn more about Carrie Davies and Aaron Zenz’s collaboration, check out this post by them at the NerdyBookClub.

To learn more about #KidsNeedMentors — and get yourself on the waitlist/included for next year! — check out this post on Ann Braden’s site.

And check out this recent #KidsNeedMentors profile Kara Yorio wrote for the School Library Journal!

And if you want to see how #KidsNeedMentors unfolds in classrooms around the world — we’ve got educators based in the States, Canada, Africa, and Asia! — follow the hashtag on Twitter, where participants will be regularly tweeting about what they’re up to.