Friday, October 28, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wellesley Books on Thursday at 4pm

I'm bringing the Ollie Dance Party to Wellesley, MA this Thursday at 4pm! Come by Wellesley Books for a special celebration! Information is here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Darien, CT today at 4pm

I'll be talking about writing graphic novels and signing books with my name on the spines at the Darien Library this afternoon at 4pm! See you there!

Click here for information.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do you like good music AND chaos?

Well then tune into Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child on Saturday. I guest DJ the whole radio program with my almost-three-year-old daughter.

This Saturday from 8 - 10 am.

On your radio dial (in Western Mass) at 93.9 The River and streaming live (worldwide) at

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Worcester Art Museum THIS Sunday

Here's a preview of the exhibit. Please come on by on Sunday, I'll be signing books from 1 - 4 pm, with proceeds benefiting the Joe and Shirl Scholarships

Worcester Art Museum 
55 Salisbury Street 
Worcester, MA 01609 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

the story of Tomie and us

Tomie's newest Strega Nona book is now on bookshelves.

In the summer of 2006, I started dating a girl who captured my heart. (SPOILER ALERT: She’s now my wife.) In the first few weeks of our dating life, Gina and I didn’t talk about work. We didn’t allow our vocations to define who we were to one another. But when Gina made me dinner one night and I told her that I was a children’s book author and illustrator, she sprang up and ran to her room. She emerged with her childhood copy of Strega Nona. The book was her childhood favorite and she had brought her dog-eared copy with her on every single move since leaving home for college. “Have you met this guy?” she asked. “No,” I responded. “I’ve never met Tomie dePaola.”

Just a few months later, I found myself in Los Angeles at the SCBWI annual conference as a faculty member alongside Tomie himself. What were the odds? What an honor to teach alongside a man whose work and career I admired so deeply. And more importantly—with someone who held such a special place in my girlfriend’s heart. Strega Nona represented Gina’s childhood. Over the course of the conference, Tomie and I became fast friends. He's an easy person to laugh uproariously with—a trait I find paramount. One day, Gina was having an incredibly difficult day at work, so I asked Tomie to leave her a voicemail. He obliged and Gina held on to that voicemail for years. At the end of the conference, there was an autographing party. I bought Tomie’s art book, Tomie dePaola: His Art & His Stories. It’s a hefty volume. At that point, I knew that this girl back home was the one. And when I asked Tomie to sign it, I asked him to sign it to “Gina and Jarrett”. I know, a big commitment. Even my friends looked at me sideways. I did just start dating this girl.

But by December of that year, I proposed marriage and Gina and I bought a house in Northampton. The first piece of art that I bought for our home was a piece by Tomie—a scene from a Strega Nona book. I presented Gina with the artwork on Valentine’s Day.

Since then, Tomie has become such a dear, dear friend to our family. He has welcomed us into his home and we have welcomed him into ours. We’ve enjoyed many dinners out with he and his assistant, Bob, where we continue to laugh uproariously. And of course, we were there to cheer him on at the Carle Museum of Picture Book Art when they mounted a massive showing of his work.

A few months back, Tomie presented us with the newest Strega Nona book, Strega Nona’s Gift. It’s a Christmas book and Gina loves Christmas. I mean loves the holiday. Every February, she looks at me as though I’m the Grinch when I pull out the red and green storage bins. Tomie sides with Gina on this. And when Tomie helped us celebrate Gina’s birthday, he showered her with Christmas decorations. (Either to make her happy or to spite me, not sure...) So anyhow—we were so excited to see a Strega Nona Christmas book. Then we opened the book.

And wow! Imagine how astronomically amazing it was for us to see our names in the book. To have any book by Tomie dedicated to us would be an honor. But a Strega Nona book? There are no words!

So thank you, Tomie! Thank you for being our dear friend. Thank you for laughing uproariously. And thank you for the book dedication!

And of course, thank you for this:

 Listen in to a thank you Zoe sent to Tomie when we received the book:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Best kid question of the year

"When you're writing the Lunch Lady books, do you get hungry?"

Answer: I'm always hungry!

Henderson, NV tonight

Come by the Gibson Library at 6:15 pm to hear about all things Lunch Lady, Punk Farm and Ollie.

Friday, October 14, 2011

There's still time to see my art in Houston

Here are some pictures from my opening at Imago Dei in Houston!

It was a great evening, filled with book lovers and great friends. Big thanks to everyone at Imago Dei for hosting the event and to Blue Willow Bookshop for selling books!

Stop by Imago Dei at 2525 Robinhood St in Houston to check out the show.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Halloween will soon be here!

Why not use the free Annie Was Warned activities that are available at The kids at Hopewell Elementary in Glastonbury, CT did and look what they made!

Speaking of Annie, my Halloween book is now available in both print and digital forms. (And remember, you can support your bookshop down the street by downloading eBooks right from their website!)

This morning, I share a whole mess of OLLIE art & sketches at the 7-Imp blog

It is always a great pleasure to stop by the Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog. Today, I share a whole ton of Ollie art and sketches with Jules and give a little insight on the making of. Check it out!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Sketchbook Saturday

Here's a spread from Monkey Boy to Lunch Lady of the creative process I took when writing Punk Farm.

Monkey Boy to Lunch Lady is filled with information like this on each book in my bibliography. When you purchase my sketchbook, 100% of the proceeds will be connecting Worcester area youth with art education. Buy the book here.

Friday, October 07, 2011

sketchbook now available!

My sketchbook, Monkey Boy to Lunch Lady, is now available as an eBook. (The print edition should be available next week.)

Designer John Lind and I thumbed through a decade's worth of sketchbooks and John designed a very handsome package, displaying my conceptual sketches. I also penned essays on the creative process I took for each book and reflected on my experiences with publishing.

And the BEST part--100% of proceeds from this book benefit the Joseph and Shirley Memorial Youth Scholarships at the Worcester Art Museum, which provides free tuition to art courses for children in need. 

You can purchase the book now!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Tips and Suggestions for the Ollie Virtual Storytime

On Tuesday I will be connecting with classrooms and libraries all over the country with the Ollie Virtual Storytime! I hope that you are as excited as I am, not just for my new book but for the opportunity to connect in a way that technology makes possible!

Here are a few suggestions to make the experience as seamless as possible:

• Ensure that you are able to access my UStream channel Rest assured that I have a paid Pro account and commercials won't pop up.

• After each reading, I will be taking questions via the chat function. Consider using two computers, one to project the video feed for your students (which you can maximize to be full-screen) and one for you to submit the questions. It may be distracting for your students to see all of the question being submitted.

• I will be starting each storytime at the top of the hour from 9a.m. to 5p.m. EDT. You are welcome to attend every hour if you wish! But please connect just a few minutes ahead of each reading. I will begin the broadcast a few minutes ahead of time, so you can know that you are connected and the readings will start soon after.

• Photography is welcome and I look forward to seeing what this will look like from your point-of-view! I do have to ask that you don't videotape the reading. Copyright and all. . . thanks for understanding! 

• My local bookshop will be selling copies that can be personalized. You can call them today - 1-800-540-7307. Over the weekend and on the day of the Virtual Visit, you will be able to place your order online at

Monday, October 03, 2011

Free Ollie window cling

With every pre-order made through the Odyssey Bookshop, I'll be giving away free window clings of the purple pachyderm.  I'll be signing copies of OLLIE the day after the Virtual Storytime and the books will then be shipped out!

Won't this look handsome on your window?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Listen to my reaction to the immenseness of the National Book Festival

The Eye on Books podcast did drive-by interviews at the NBF. You can listen to mine here:

And the other interviews are here:

photos from last week's National Book Festival

Last week, G and I traveled to Washington, D.C. for the National Book Festival. We had never been and I was so delighted by the invitation to read, draw and sign books on the National Mall. There were approximately one-hundred-gazillion people in attendance, many of them with an ISBN. Here are some pictures from the weekend:

On Friday afternoon, I helped plug the National Book Festival on Sirius XM's Kids Place Live. Poor Mindy lost her voice so Calef Brown and I interviewed each other! It was so much fun. And no pressure, but my first time "hosting" a radio show was live and on satellite radio.

Friday night was the Gala reception at the Library of Congress. You know a place is fancy when this is the hallway to the Men's Room.
It was so fancy, I was afraid the Joker and his goons were going to crash the party and snatch up everyone's jewelry. 
They let us authors climb the librarian's command center. That's Tom Angleberger, George O'Connor, Loren Long, Lisa Yee, myself, John Bemelmans Marciano and Eric Wight. 

This is the Reading Room, which is closed off to tourists. Grandeur to the highest level!

Otis and Ollie's fathers at the Library of Congress.
On Saturday morning, I jumped in a cab with Loren and Lisa and we headed to the author's breakfast at the Washington Post. 

There, we saw even more authors! Here is Brian Selznick, John Bemelmans Marciano, myself, Gordon Korman, Lisa Yee, Allen Say, Jon J Muth, and Loren Long. 

Later that morning, we made it over to the festival and hung out backstage with the likes of Tomie dePaola and Matthew Reinhart. . .

And Hoda! Here is G and her cousin with the Today Show co-host. 

It was a great pleasure to meet William Joyce. I've admired his work for as long as I can remember.
Brian signed our copy of Wonderstruck and scoffed at the difficulty of writing out our last name. Whatever, Selznick!
That's John Rocco and Mac Barnett chilling in-between stage times. Snappy dressers, right? 
Here's Jack Gantos working the crowd. Watching Jack give a speech is like watching a prize fighter in the ring!
Finally it was stage time for me!

I did my Lunch Lady thing. I was astounded by how many kids knew the ins and outs of the LL books. They were shouting out the various gadgets. It was amazing and very special for me.
And I met another Jarrett! This Jarrett is only the 6th Jarrett I've met in my entire life!
Photo by @LitChat

I introduced Ollie and read it aloud publicly for the first time

I didn't have time to read the full book and the groans from the audience, when I left them hanging at a pivotal point in the story, was all the affirmation I needed for my new book!

Check out Tomie's book signing line! Astounding!  I loved seeing people clutching their copies of Strega Nona