Saturday, October 5, 2013 was an awesome day! When I found out the author of the ever popular graphic novel series Lunch Lady was coming to UNC I knew I had to be there and I had to share the news with our school community. The flier went up right away on the door to our library, the entryway to our school and blurbs were sent to classroom teachers. I just knew this would be exciting news to more than just me! After all, his books fly off our shelves and when a copy does manage to make it back to the shelf it's not there for long before it's swiped up by a student who feels an extreme sense of satisfaction they snagged it before the next kid.
After sharing my excitement for this upcoming author visit, I quickly learned that one of our third grade classes had this very author listed on their classroom "Inspiration Wall". After receiving a Donor's Choose grant to purchase a classroom collection of Graphic Novels, Mrs. Symons' third grade class began to explore Jarrett a little more in-depth by listening to his NPR interview and were inspired by his life story.
Knowing he was going to be making a visit to UNC, we reached out to him via Twitter and email to see if he would be willing to visit our school should he be arriving early to Chapel Hill. Excitement filled Mrs. Symons room when he tweeted back to the Scholars of Room 330. Unfortunately, his flight wasn't leaving until Friday night but he was very flattered that he had such adoring admirers from Northside Elementary School. And so…even though it meant getting up early on a Saturday morning we had such a great turnout from our Northside community to meet and greet with an author we love so much. And a big thanks to Mrs. Symons and Mrs. Leonard for providing shuttle service for several students on the day of the big event.
We learned so much about Jarrett during his author talk as he described his journey to becoming an author. And what resonated the most with me was his resiliency. He had numerous rejections before ever being picked up by a publisher and he never gave up! He always knew the work he wanted to do and kept trying again and again. And it paid off because he has since gone on to be honored as a National Book Award winner! What a positive message to share with kids about the importance of hard work, determination and persistence! He also shared with the audience that his Lunch Lady series was inspired by his own lunch lady growing up during elementary school.
And we learned the importance of always keeping a sketch book nearby because you never know when an idea will come to you. Although these days Jarrett's sketchbook is in the form of an iPad because he can quickly send ideas back and forth with his editor. Jarrett also described how intensive the writing process is when creating his graphic novels. There are multiple edits and revisions before he ever even begins to design the drawings that accompany the story. He stressed the importance of this writing process because "...there are going to be mistakes. We want to find mistakes so we can fix them before the final version." Talk about the growth mindset at work!
After sharing his story, Jarrett called all the students down to the front for an up-close and personal experience as he sketched out some of his most popular characters including the Lunch Lady herself (which he signed and gave us to hang in our library)! Afterwards he took questions from the audience and acknowledged our very own Room 330 Scholars! Before the day ended he autographed books for the kids and even took the time to take a picture with our Northside crew! Later that day he even gave us a special shout-out on our Twitter feeds!
And this is why we love Jarrett Krosoczka. Not only is he a pretty cool author who writes things that kids like to read that are "laugh out loud" funny, but he's just a super nice guy. Thanks for creating a lasting memory in the minds of so many. Keep writing...keep creating....keep inspiring kids to read!
To find out more about Jarrett and his creative works visit his website at http://www.studiojjk.com