Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Texas Library Association

I had such an amazing time at the Texas Library Association! Here is a collection of posts from social media recapping the festivities!

A note to everyone we saw down in Houston for the Texas Library Association
Our thoughts are also with those affected by the flood zones. Wishing everyone a speedy recovery to normalcy.

had a blast at the #AlwaysOpen panel on connecting with readers via digital tools! Here I am with Ame Dyckman, Don Tate, Tom Angleberger and librarian superstar Heather Jankowski!

One of the best times at #txla16 actually happened at the airport. Zoe and I walked up to a stranger and said, "Hey LeUyen Pham!" And she said, "Hey, Jarrett!" (We've never met in person.) "Zoe, this is the illustrator of Princess in Black." So LeYuen joined us for lunch at the food court, and we all drew together. And who walks in but Gene Luen Yang! But he didn't notice us, so we made it like we were paparazzi and yelled, "LOOK! LOOK! IT'S THE NATIONAL AMBASSSADOR OF YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE! HERE IN THE FOOD COURT!" So Gene joined us, and we sat and talked and talked until I realized Zoe and I needed to run to catch our flight. And once we boarded, we said hello to Jeff Kinney and his family.

We were raised in different parts of the country, but man, our back stories have so much in common. While Raul the Third would walk a mile through the Texas deserts to get ahold of comic books, I'd trudge through the snow to do so in Massachusetts (X-Men blue and gold teams). Ben Hatke devoured the comic strips in his local newspaper and drew constantly. We joke about how awesome it would have been to have gone to the same high school, but now we get to hang out at book festivals and conferences. Three kids who grew up to be dads and professional cartoonists.

If your students feel like islands, tell them that they will find their tribe!

Grateful to have met the genius who wrote Lowriders in Space. And Cathy Camper is a librarian to boot!

Jeff Kinney: Dav, let's get a photo together. Hey, Jarrett, can you take our picture?
Scene cuts to: selfie. 

But Jeff was just needling me, because that's what we do. Lunch Lady, Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants somehow all color-coordinated their outfits...
So much fun to run into these guys at the same time at #TxLA16!

Stick around this book business long enough, you see some awesome things.
Back in the summer of 2006, I traveled to Los Angeles to speak at the annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference. There I met, albeit briefly, an author/illustrator with big dreams. His work landed on my radar again later when I, embarrassingly, was Googling blogs to see if my name popped up. Don Tate wrote a blog post all about imagining an editor calling to say he was the next [insert illustrator name here]. I was shocked to see my name on his list. I was, in my mind, still trying to figure out how to make it in this business. So I have watched as Don Tate worked at it and worked at it over this past decade. He's released books, he's visited schools. 
And you know what? There are now surely up-and-coming illustrators out there who post about wanting to be the next Don Tate. Don just brought home his second, SECOND Ezra Jack Keats Award. He won an honor a few years back for a book he wrote, IT’ JES’ HAPPENED: WHEN BILL TRAYLOR STARTED TO DRAW, and he now has won the gold for a book he wrote and illustrated called POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON. 
It was an honor to have him on a panel I moderated at #TxLA16 last week. When I was asked to assemble a team who could chat about connecting with readers via digital tools, I immediately thought of Don.
So what I am saying is this: authors and illustrators who have big dreams—if you work hard enough, if you keep at it, it'll never be a question of IF, but a question of WHEN! Don Tate is an inspiration, and I love his work!

In 2003, I travelled down to the Cy-Fair school district in Houston, TX to visit schools. It was the first time that I stepped on an airplane for school visits. There, I met some wonderful librarians who would host me again and again over the years—that support was crucial to my getting this writing/illustrating career on its feet. I was in my mid-twenties, and they all took care of me like proud aunties. I was lucky enough to run into some of those original librarians at #TxLA16 this past week. And what?! Retirement?! How is that even possible? Ruth Weisman is retiring this year and Jackie Hopkins retired a few years back?!
I hope that they can put their feet up and relish in the lives they changed in their years amongst the bookshelves!

I know that I am preaching to the choir here, but Tom Angleberger is just one of the nicest, kindest humans you'll ever meet. We had breakfast with him at #TxLA16 before our sessions started, and he taught my kiddo (and me) how to make an origami Yoda. The fact that he thought to bring some green origami paper to entertain my daughter while she was surrounded by so much grown-upness... so thoughtful!

Thank you again to all of the librarians who waited in line for autographed copies of Jedi Academy: A New Class!

Weekly Sketch Roundup

Every day I post a sketch to social media, this is my favorite this week!

Interesting head gear by my kid this morning. I suppose if I wrote the book today it would be called Tote Baghead....

To see more visit

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Star Wars: Jedi Academy: A New Class

ARCs for my new book arrived...I'm ecstatic to finally be able to tell you—I've been spending some time in a galaxy far, far away....

Star Wars: Jedi Academy: A New Class will hit bookshelves on July 26th! I feel lucky that Scholastic managed to fit "Krosoczka" on the lightsaber on the book's spine! Can't wait to see the final book!

Texas Library Association

I'm moderating a panel at ‪#‎txla16‬ on Wednesday with Tom Angleberger, Ame Dyckman & Don Tate. I imagine it will look something like this.

See you in Houston...I hope!

Never Say Narwhal

A surprise arrived in the mail! My first glimpse at final copies of NEVER SAY NARWHAL! Very bittersweet. This will be the final adventure for the Platypus Police Squad. I always envisioned this as a four-book series, and I'm delighted to bring a conclusion to the greater story arc for these monotrome detectives.
Look for the green spine on May 17!

John Bemelmans Marciano

In the studio
Attempting to draw two straight lines. 
I couldn't help but feel
I was in the presence of the author/illustrator of Madeline...

...and several other great books. Like these chapter books that John Bemelmans Marciaco just made with Sophie Blackall. Have you seen them? The series is called The Witches of Benevento, and man—the books are gorgeous!

School Lunch Hero Day

The lunch staff at Parmenter Elementary were feted with flowers, aprons and a basket filled with thank-you cards from every single student. School Lunch Hero Day is on May 6th, I hope that you'll celebrate!

Weekly Sketch Roundup

Every day I post a sketch to social media, this is my favorite this week!

My kiddo posed so that I could draw her. A few seconds later.... "DADDY, STOP DRAWING ME!"

To see more visit

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Book Report

On today's Book Report on SiriusXM Kids Place Live I recommended Dan Santat's newest picture book, ARE WE THERE YET?

School Lunch Hero Day and the School Nutrition Association

School Lunch Hero Day (May 6, 2016) is approaching, and what excites me the most is seeing the homemade gifts made by the students for their lunchroom heroes—I absolutely love seeing aprons and T-shirts decorated by young artists in our schools!
There were several companies that requested use of my character and the School Lunch Hero Day logo to print on aprons and T-shirts. (Some unfortunately did so without my permission...please be wary.) The only group licensed to sell School Lunch Hero Day items is the School Nutrition Association. School Nutrition Association uses a portion of the proceeds from these sales for scholarships to help school nutrition professionals receive professional development. I thought this would be the best use of my artwork. 
If you would like to purchase official School Lunch Hero Day items for your staff, please visit School Nutrition Association’s website at:
Thank you so much again for celebrating!

Weekly Sketch Roundup

Every day I post a sketch to social media, this is my favorite this week!

Swim class.

To see more visit

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Book Report

Hey, guys— For the past four years now I've had a weekly segment on SiriusXM Kids Place Live called The Book Report with JJK. I talk about new books that we are loving in our house, share some news about kid lit, etc. It's been incredibly exciting to meet many of the listeners while out on my book tours. The thought of families across the country listening while on their morning commutes is pretty neat. But what happens if you're running late, and you miss it? What if your kid gets dropped off to school before the segment airs?
Well, you are now longer out in the cold.... The Book Report with JJK is now available on demand, starting with this week's episode. I chat up Peter Brown Studio's THE WILD ROBOT, with a little help from my daughter.